After three unsuccessful bids, a young man has succeeded in growing rockmelon at his farm in Gournadi upazila.
Rockmelon or cantaloupe is a popular fruit in western countries. It is known as Sammam in parts of the Middle East.
The fruit looks unattractive on the outside. But on the inside, it is packed with beta-carotene, vitamin C, folate and many other nutrients.
Farm owner Mujibur Rahman Biplob, a resident of Basudebpara village in the upazila, was introduced to the fruit during his long stay in Dubai of the UAE. Ever since Mujibur came home in 2013, he had been trying his luck on growing rockmelon in his village, besides running a sanitary ware store in the area. But he failed not just once -- three consecutive times.
The failures, however, could not dissuade him from his passion for farming. Nine months ago, he spent Tk 6 lakh to set up a modern agricultural farm on 40 decimals of his land in the village, under Mahilara union.
In the middle of the farm, he made a rectangular pond for cultivation of local fish. He installed bamboo frames around and above the pond for rockmelon and bottle gourd vines. He also planted over 100 malta saplings throughout the rest of the farm.
Mujibur collected two varieties of rockmelon seeds from Chuadanga and Siddique Bazar in Dhaka. About 230 of the plants have started to bear fruits, weighing between 500 and 1,500 grams.
The hard work and investment has finally started to pay off and he hopes to earn about Tk 2 lakh from sales of rockmelon, at Tk 150 each kilogram, Mujibur said.
He saw 13 different delectable varieties of rockmelon in Dubai, but the varieties grown in his farm are also sweet and juicy, he added.
Sirajul Islam, former deputy assistant agriculture officer at Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in Mahilara union, said successful agricultural initiatives such as Mujibur's will surely draw others towards the sector.
Mamunar Rashid, agriculture officer of DAE in Gournadi upazila, said Mujibur's fruit farm bears the proof that fruit farms can be profitable in the area.