After bringing almost every inch of land under crop farming responding to the call of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, farmers are now getting bumper output of vegetables with lucrative prices in Rangpur agriculture region.
Following the PM's repeated call to enhance food production in the wake of global crises caused by the Russia-Ukraine War, encaustic farmers engaged all-out efforts to increase production of all crops, including vegetables, this time to ensure food security.
The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) took special steps to inspire farmers in bringing their croplands, fallow lands, homesteads and char lands under cultivation of vegetables and other crops to enhance food production.
"To realize the PM's call, a record target of producing 9,61,170 tonnes of winter vegetables was fixed from 40,470 hectares of land for the region during the Rabi season," said Additional Director of the DAE, Rangpur region Agriculturist Md Aftab Hossain.
Farmers have finally cultivated winter vegetables in 40,558 hectares of land in Rangpur, Gaibandha, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat and Kurigram districts of the region exceeding the fixed farming target by 198 hectares or 0.49 per cent this time.
"Since the beginning of the Rabi season, farmers and rural people, including women cultivated winter vegetables in their homesteads, nearby abandoned and fallow lands and char lands with huge enthusiasm," Hossain said.
As a result of various pragmatic steps taken by the government in the last 14 years, vegetable cultivation round the year adopting newer cropping patterns and latest technologies has become a lucrative scheme to change the fortunes of many farmers.
Getting incentives, assistance, easy-term agro-loan, quality seeds, inputs and technologies from the government, farmers are expanding vegetable cultivation during Rabi, Kharif-1 and Kharif-2 seasons and increasing production every year.
"Farmers have, so far, harvested winter vegetables cultivated on 37,485 hectares of land and produced 9,43,137 tonnes of vegetables at an excellent average yield rate of 25.16 tonnes per hectare," Hossain said.
After completing harvest by this month-end, farmers are expected to produce over 10.23-lakh tonnes of winter vegetables to exceed the fixed production target by around 62,000 tonnes this season in the region.
Deputy Director of the DAE, Rangpur Agriculturist Md. Obaidur Rahman Mandal said farmers showed more interest in farming winter vegetables responding to the call of the Premier to enhance food production.
"As a result, farmers have brought more lands in the mainland, riverine char areas and fallow homesteads under cultivation of winter vegetables with the DAE assistance," he said.
Talking to BSS, farmers Arman Hossain, Abdul Haque, Aiyub Ali and Golam Mostafa of different villages in Mithapukur upazila of Rangpur said they are now harvesting winter vegetables and getting bumper production to reap excellent profits.
Farmers Solaiman Ali, Shahinur Islam and Anwarul Islam of Gangachara upazila and Shamsul Haque, Nurul Amin and Azizur Rahman of Kawnia upazila in Rangpur said they have cultivated varieties of winter vegetables on sandy char lands.
"We are harvesting winter vegetables and getting excellent yield and earning pleasing profits to lead a normal life despite the prevailing global crises caused by the Russia-Ukraine War," said Solaiman Ali.
Rangpur Chamber President Mostafa Sohrab Chowdhury Titu stressed on setting up of more agro-based industries for processing the produced vegetables to enhance export of the agro-products to benefit farmers alongside strengthening the rural economy.