Around 300 marginal farmers at 32 villages in Teesta and Dharla River basin areas of Sadar, Aditmari and Hatibandha upazilas under the district are cultivating vegetables on floating gardens set up at water bodies this season, said sources of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE).
Aubergine, coriander, okra, white-goose-foot, green chilli, tomato, spinach, bottle gourd, mint, mustard, lal shak (red amaranth), palong shak (green amaranth), napa shak etc are cultivated on floating gardens prepared with waste water hyacinth tightened between bamboos, growers said.
Tk 325 to 400 is needed to cultivate vegetables on a 100-square-foot floating bed, they said.
Mia Babu, 48, a marginal farmer at Kutirpar village of Aditmari upazila said, some marginal farmers at the village are selling vegetables grown on floating beds after meeting their family demand.
“I have cultivated vegetables on a 120-square-foot floating bed at an abandoned government-owned water body in the village early October this year. The produce helps to meet the daily need for my family. Besides, I have sold vegetables worth Tk 1,000 and hope to earn Tk 3,000 more till the end of this month,” he said.
Soleman Ali, 56, a landless farmer of the same village, said cultivation of vegetables on floating beds brings new hope for people like him.
Vegetables grown on floating gardens have high demand in the local markets, as these are cultivated without using any chemical fertilisers and insecticides, and mark higher prices than that of other vegetables, growers said.
Rabiul Islam, a college teacher at Gobordhan village of Aditmari upazila, said he and many other local people prefer vegetables grown on floating gardens as these are free from chemicals.
"The agriculture department as well as local NGOs provide technical support to the marginal farmers for cultivating vegetables on floating beds in government-owned water bodies. Now some farmers have started cultivating vegetables on floating beds in their ponds too," said Abdul Mazid, deputy director of Lalmonirhat DAE.