Sandy charlands that remained a barren desert for years along the Teesta basin areas in Sundarganj upazila of the district are now being used for cultivating different crops and vegetables.
People of seven unions out of 15 in the upazila were badly affected by river erosion and a vast tract of land remained under water for long. Later, a huge landmass emerged from the riverbed and gradually developed into charland.
The affected unions were Tarapur, Dahabandh, Belka, Haripur, Chandipur, Kapasia and Sreepur. After the landmass, emerged the erosion-hit people, who took shelter in other areas of the upazila, returned to it.
Being motivated by the field level agriculture officers, they began to cultivate boro, wheat, pulses, pumpkin, oil seeds, potato and other vegetables there.
This year, around 60 hectares of land have been brought under onion cultivation on the sandy lands. As prices of the vegetables went up in the markets, most farmers started to sell immature onion plants for earning extra profit.
At the start, old onion was sold at Tk 70 to Tk 80 per kg while the price of per kg leafy onion was Tk 35 to Tk 40 in the markets.
“I have cultivated onion on two bighas of land and plants have grown well this year due to favourable weather condition,” said Afzal Hossain onion grower of Nawabganj village in the upazila.
Besides, a vast tract of the sandy lands has been brought under mustard seed cultivation this year. Mustard seed cultivation on charland is profitable as growers spend little for the oil-seed farming, said Fariduddin of Haripur union.
According to Upazila Agriculture Officer Saiytten Kumar, farmers of the Teesta basin area cultivated potatoes on around 600 hectares of sandy land.
Saifuddin, a potato grower of Haripur union said he cultivated early variety of potato on three bighas of land and sold it per kg at Tk 30-35.
Nearly 70 percent of rabi crops are being cultivated on the sandy charlands, covering seven river basin unions, said the agriculture officer.