Farmers in the district are earning good profit by cultivating a new variety of vegetable got from jute saplings, locally called mara shak, as other varieties of spinach were damaged by the recent flood.
Mara shak is being sold at Tk 25 to Tk 30 a kilogram at the local markets while it was Tk 8 to Tk 10 three weeks ago, farmers said.
Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) Deputy Director (DD) Bidubhushon Roy said mara shak is a local variety that is available in Kurigram, Rangpur and Nilphamari. “Farmers can harvest this variety of spinach within 55 to 60 days,” he added.
Soleman Ali, 50, of Fulgachh village in Sadar upazila said he cultivated the vegetables on 14 decimals of land spending Tk 1,500. He said he thought that he would earn Tk 3,000 to Tk 3,500 profit from selling all the spinach in the field, but now hopes to get double that amount. He said he sold 130 kg at Tk 25 per kg last week and expect to get 180 kg more.
Nurul Islam, 45, said mara shak is a popular variety of spinach locally. He said they cultivate it for consumption as well as for sale to get additional income. “We only need to take proper care of the vegetable field,” he added.
Ashraf Ali, 52, of Saptibari village in Aditmari upazila, said they have been farming mara shak for the last four years, adding that they did not have any idea about this variety earlier.
Vegetable trader Sirajul Islam, 42, at Goshala Bazar in the town, said people are buying the vegetable as it is available in the market while supply of other varieties is very low due to flood. He said they are selling mara shak at Tk 30 per kg.
Schoolteacher Delwar Hossain, 46, a resident of College Road in the town, said they love spinach, but they are forced to buy it at high price due to short supply of other varieties of vegetables.