Slowly but steadily, nutritious and healthy foods are being included in the food menu of common people. Making it regular is now a matter of practice. Considering this, production of fruits, which are good for health, is also increasing. Farmers are now trying out new and diversified fruits and crops.
Cultivation of nalim, a melon variety fruit, is gaining popularity among the grassroots farmers in Magura. Over 155 hectares of land were brought under the production of nalim in the district this season. Hazipur, Mirzapur, Hazrapur, Narihati, Fulbari, Shibrampur and Mithapur are well-known for producing quality nalim in the district.
This has happened because farmers are getting more profit in a short time by cultivating nalim. Farmers say they are making around Tk 30,000 (approximately USD 355) profit from one bigha (approx 0.40 acre) of land. Many farmers are now getting into nalim cultivation. Last year, they did production on only 55 hectares.
As a whole, nalim has become quite beneficial to the local farmers of Magura. When I went to Magura Sadar upzaila, I found farmers working at the fields. The field was looking so bright and beautiful. I went there on May this year. Entering the field my memories took me to the foggy morning I had travelled to Daudkandi in Cumilla to the fields of melon many years ago.
Most of the farmers say the market is pretty good now. The festive scenario of picking nalim in the morning was very nice to see. In fact farmers targeted the Ramadan market and they grew more and more nalim and profited much more than any other fruits in Magura. The same was with bangi (melon) in Cumilla this year. In Magura, it can be said that nalim is a cash crop.
Ukil Hossain, a nalim farmer, is growing plenty on his four bigha (approx 1.60 acres) of land.
“I have spent Tk 50,000 (approx USD 592) for production,” says Ukil.
“How much will you earn, you guess?” I asked.
“At least Tk 1 lakh (approx USD 1185),” he added.
Farmer Chanchal Jowardar has changed his fate by cultivating Nalim in the past few years. This year he has cultivated nalim on over nine bighas (approx 3.60 acres) of land. Chanchal believes he’s going to make a great profit out of this land, full of nalims.
“How does it taste?” I asked another farmer.
“It tastes quite good,” he answered.
I tasted it and it was really juicy and fresh, I can tell you. My body became very cool right after eating one slice of nalim.
I met a large-scale nalim farmer Abdus Salam who’s been cultivating it for the past seven years. On his nine and a half bigha of land (approx 3.80 acres) he has spent Tk 1.50 lakh (approx USD 1777) and expects to earn more than Tk 4 lakh(approx USD 4740). He has also been growing bananas, guavas, papayas and other fruits. Tarun Kazi started farming nalim on over three bigha(approx 1.20 acre) of land and with the money earned through the initiative, already he has expanded it on six bigha(approx 2.72 acres).
“What are you going to grow here after the harvest of nalim? I asked.
“I am going to plant gourds, pumpkin, radish, spinach and so on,” Salam replied.
Farmers here in Magura are also using organic fertilizer to grow nalim which is really a great sign.
About 2,000 farmers are engaged in farming of the seasonal juicy fruit in Magura. This has happened also because nalim cultivation requires low cost and it is also a short-duration fruit, three months to be precise. Farmers here also send nalim to different districts due to its high demand.
Nalim farming is gaining popularity in Magura for its high production and profit, said officials of the Department of Agricultural Extension.
When farmers can produce the item at a low cost to earn more, they always try to fetch it. DAE is also providing seeds among the farmers to boost the production of nalim.
Dear readers, farmers know about high yielding crops and seasonal crops, and success in agriculture depends on their efforts, hard work and the use of modern technology.
Nalim farming of Magura shows a new horizon, which can be adopted by farmers in other districts of the country. If the government organizations extend required support for the purpose, I am sure many small farmers would be able to earn with a very low cost. Such small initiatives will definitely turn big. We don’t know what is in store for our farmers in the future and so, we must take these little chances to gain more, produce more quality and healthy fruits and crops which will definitely empower our farmers across the country. I also do hope that people would definitely think of a healthy and nutritious food like nalim in their food menu, of course following doctor’s advice.