Hundreds of farmers in Mujibnagar upazila of Meherpur are all smiles as they have started harvesting Sukhsagar, an early variety of Indian onion.
Good yield and fair price of the item this year has come as a boon to them, especially against the backdrop of losses in last couple of years.
The high yielding variety of Indian onion came to popular use in the area a few years ago and it has been cultivated on around 1,000 acres of land in Mujibnagar this season, said upazila agriculture officials.
Saplings are collected from different markets in border areas and planted in mid-December, local farmers said.
Alamin Hossein of Sonapur Colonipara in Mujibnagar upazila cultivated Sukhsagar onion on two bighas of land this season. On Friday afternoon, he was seen nursing his onion field near his house. “The yield of Sukhsagar onion is 80 to 100 maunds per bigha whereas the yield of indigenous varieties is 50 to 60 maunds. The cultivation cost including that for seeds, seedlings, sowing and plantation, irrigation, and fertilisers is Tk 30,000 to Tk 35,000 for a bigha,” he said.
“At present, Sukhsagar onion is selling at Tk 2500 to Tk 2700 maund and so, I am expecting good profit,” said a smiling Alamin.
Jahirul Biswas of Shibpur village, who cultivated the variety of onion on his three bighas of land, is also hopeful of a good earning.
This correspondent found farmers in groups guarding their onion fields at night to check possible theft.
Meanwhile, several farmers expressed apprehension that onion price may see a sudden drop if the government imports onion from India, especially during the harvesting period.
It happened in previous years, they said.
“If fair price is ensured, the farmers of Mujibnagar will cultivate this onion next time. Its cultivation can be spread in other areas too,” said primary teacher Feroz Ahmed, who also grows onion in Sonapur village.
Local consumers are also opting for this variety of onion as it is selling at Tk 60 to 70 a kg in the retail market, which is much lower than other varieties, he said.
Mosharraf Hossain, additional deputy director of the Department of Agriculture Extension, Meherpur, said, “This variety of onion grows well in the area due to good amount of moisture in the soil.
However, it cannot be preserved for long due to the high water content.” The agriculture department is working with the Ministry of Commerce to ensure that onion is not imported during this season, he added.