Maize farming a boon for Lalmonirhat char farmers
Maize cultivation on the abandoned sandy chars of the district has brought prosperity to the farmers.
Nabiul Islam, 56, of Bowalmari char village earned a profit Tk 55,000 from selling 272 maunds of maize that he cultivated on three acres of char land on the Dharla River under Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila. He spent Tk 10,000 for cultivating the crop on the land that had been abandoned for 20 years, he said.
“We started farming maize on abandoned chars three years ago, and since then we have been earning good profit,” said farmer Delwar Hossain of the same village.
Shafiqul Islam, 48, of Shiberkuti village, said maize farming provides an opportunity to them to come out of poverty. “In the past, our char lands had been abandoned for years as we did not know how to cultivate maize,” he added.
Afzal Hossain, 56, of Teesta River char Gaddimari under Hatibandha upazila said, “We used to think that char lands were a burden as we didn't get any crops from there, but now these char lands are giving us bumper crops, especially maize, every year.” “I have already earned a profit of Tk 1,20,000 from selling maize, and hope to earn profit of Tk 50,000 more from selling the rest of the crop stored in my house,” he said, adding that he cultivated maize on 10 acres of land this year.
Before farming maize on char lands, farmers had difficulty in maintaining their families, said farmer Harun Shaikh, 65, of Dawabari village. “Maize gives us good profit, helping us to become solvent,” he said, adding that he cultivated maize on six acres of land.
Helal Uddin, 50, of Jamirbari village under Kaliganj upazila, said there are additional benefits in farming maize as the stems are used as firewood round the year. “Sometimes we make extra money by selling maize stems,” he added.
A source in the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) said maize was cultivated on 26,000 hectares of char land in five upazilas of the district this year, of which around 11,000 hectares are in the Teesta and Dharla river basins.
Farmers get 90-110 maunds of maize from one acre of land spending Tk 10,000-Tk 15,000. They also get 7-10 maunds of stems. One maund of stem is priced at Tk 220-Tk 250. One maund of maize is being sold at Tk 420-Tk 450 in the farmers' homes.