Floating vegetable farming boon for marginal farmers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 09, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 09, 2012

Floating vegetable farming boon for marginal farmers

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SUCCESSFUL FARMING ON WATER: A woman harvests vegetables from her floating garden, made on a raft made of water hyacinth and bamboo, in a water body at Gobordhon village in Mohishkhocha union under Aditmari upazila of Lalmonirhat district. Photo: STAR

Vegetable cultivation on floating gardens prepared in abandoned water bodies brings good prospect for marginal farmers at villages in Teesta River basin areas of Aditmari upazila under Lalmonirhat district.
Around 100 marginal farmers at Gobordhon, Balapara, Kutirpar and Char Gobordhon villages under Mohiskhocha union in Aditmari upzila have benefited by cultivating vegetables on floating beds in this season.
Such vegetables, cultivated without any insecticides, have already gained popularity among local consumers and so, they are buying it for prices higher than that of other vegetables in the market.
This floating bed cultivation, a long forgotten tradition in some rural areas of Bangladesh, is now receiving renewed interest as a potential solution for farmers whose lands have been waterlogged, and the landless ones.
Using local resources, especially rapidly growing water hyacinths, the process is as an environmentally sustainable way to use wetland areas for cultivation.
“I cultivated vegetable on a 100 square feet floating bed at an abandoned government water body in our village in October last year. After meeting our family need, I earned over Tk 2,000 by selling the produces,” said Korban Ali, 45, a marginal farmer of Gobordhon village.
Monowara Begum, 42, of the same village said the money earned by selling vegetables from a 120 square feet floating bed helped bear schooling cost of her children, in addition to meeting their domestic requirement.
Floating vegetable growers said they prepared floating beds of water hyacinth 'tightened' with bamboo and cultivated different vegetables including aubergine, coriander, okra, green chilli, tomato, spinach, bottle gourd, mint, mustard lal shak in different water bodies.
Vegetable cultivation on a 100 square feet floating garden costs only Tk 300 to 400, they said. However, regular care and physical labour is needed for getting expected output from there.
"Local people come to me to purchase vegetables produced in my floating garden as these are grown without insecticides. People buy such vegetables for higher prices than that of the ones grown in usual ways,” said Ashraf Ali, 48, a marginal farmer at Kutirpar village of Mohiskhocha union.
"I prefer the vegetables grown on floating gardens as they are free from insecticides," said Badsha Miah, a teacher of Mohishkhocha High School.
Yakub Ali, Shamsul Islam, Moksedur Rahman, Khobir Uddin, Mamotaz Uddin, Noya Miah and other marginal farmers at Char Gobordhon village said they will start cultivating vegetables in this system in the next year as they are encouraged to see success of some growers this year.
Local NGO Own Village Advancement is implementing the project funded by UK-based development organisation Practical Action Bangladesh.
Moniruzzaman Shahin, agriculturist of Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) in Aditmari upazila, said 100 marginal farmers prepared the same number of floating vegetable beds in 10 abandoned government water bodies at some Teesta River basin villages of Aditmari upazila this year.
The DAE is extending technical support to the marginal farmers for such cultivation and the project will see expansion in the next season, he said.

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