A Gerbera flower garden in Godadhordangi village under Aliabad union of Faridpur Sadar upazila brings bright prospect for Liaquat Hossain.
The twenty-eight-year-old first planted 7,000 seedlings on 60 decimals of his own land by collecting those from India in August 2018.
Upon completing his post-graduation from Kabi Nazrul Government College in Dhaka, he tried to land a decent job for a couple of years, but was unable to do so. It was later that he tried his hand at farming and saw success.
“I experimented with Gerbera farming to make ends meet. It ultimately helped me become self-reliant,” said the youth.
“Gerbera farming is quite expensive compared to other crops. I initially invested around Tk 22 lakh to buy fertiliser, medicine, shade cloth, fences and arrange payment for labour.”
Each gerbera plant begins to bloom within three months of being sown and will continue to produce flowers yearlong for about four years.
“I cut an average of 2,000 sticks of flowers twice a week with the help of two or three temporary labourers. I can sell a single stick for Tk 10 to Tk 15,” said Liaquat.
“Gerberas are available in white, yellow, orange, red, and pink. While they are not high maintenance plants, I use compost fertiliser, potash and triple super phosphate to tend to the flowers,” he added.
The flowers stay fresh for 15 days or so and are sold in markets in Faridpur, Dhaka and Chattogram, where demand is high, he said.
His garden has become quite an attraction as young people of different areas come to see the colourful blooms regularly.
“At the moment, I am not expanding my garden, not until I recover my investment. But if the government can provide loans on easy terms, I can nurture more lands.”
Alimuzzaman Rony, 50, of Faridpur town said, “Gerbera farming is new to our district. I have come here with my family members to have a look at the beautiful garden.”
KM Ruble, 45, of Baitul Aman area of Faridpur town, said, “I visited Liaquat’s gerbera garden and he has done quite well. Hopefully, it will encourage others in the area to try it out as well.”
Kartik Chandra Chakraboty, deputy director of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in Faridpur, said, “A gerbera species from South Africa was first scientifically identified in 1889. Since then gerberas have been catalogued in natural habitats across the tropical regions. The flower has become a regular adornment to household gardens in many parts of the world.”
“This is the first time it is being grown in Faridpur; it is grown in a few other places across Bangladesh as well, like Magura and Jashore.”
“The flower is fast gaining popularity. Many young farmers in the area come to us for advice on growing it.”