Asma Begum tends to her cardamom plant. PHOTO: STAR
For the first time in the region, a woman has successfully farmed cardamom, a spice item, in her nursery at Fulgachh village in Lalmonirhat sadar upazila. Thanks to her, local farmers are encouraged to farm this item in their lands as a result. Asma Begum, 38, wife of Fakar Ali, who lives at Fulgachh village, started farming cardamom in her nursery in 2012. “My husband purchased 50 plants of cardamom from a nursery in Bogra in the year 2012, and I planted these surrounding my homestead and nursery. I produced two kgs of cardamom in the year 2013, and I sold these at Tk 1,000 in the local market,” Asma Begum said, adding that she expects to get at least 10 kgs of cardamom this year.
“I took a loan of tk 30 thousand from Muslim Aid Bangladesh after becoming a member of the organisation and I used it for farming cardamom and other crops,” she said. Asma Begum's husband Fakar Ali informed that he also works in his wife's nursery. “For farming cardamom, we don't need fertilisers, pesticides but only need regular care. Clay soil with shade is perfect for farming this crop,” he said. “A matured plant of cardamom can give at least one kg of output every year,” he added, hoping they will be able to sell cardamom plants to the local farmers this year. Local farmers Kutub Miah, Abdul Hakim, Jabbar Ali and others in the village didn't believe that cardamom farming in the village was possible, as this spices item is crop believed to be feasible only in India and Bhutan. “Now we are interested to produce cardamom surrounding our homesteads and nurseries,” they said.
The Lalmonirhat Branch Manager of Muslim Aid Bangladesh Jahedul Islam said that the organization provides loans for farming agricultural products. “We will support woman to extend cardamom farming on larger areas of land,” he said. According to Scientific Officer in Lalmonirhat Species Research Sub-Centre Mostaque Ahmed Lelin, this is the black variety of cardamom, and this has been farmed in Hill Tracks and even in Bogra region. Dry and humid weather is perfect for cardamom farming. The In-charge Officer of the Species Research Sub-Centre Scientific Officer Ala Uddin Khan said that the soil of Fulgachh village is favourable for farming spices.