Traditional vegetable cultivation on floating beds sees a gradual increase in Banaripara upazila of Barishal.
Around a thousand vegetable farmers across Bisharkandi and Iluhar unions in Banaripara have prepared 5,000 floating seedbeds covering a total of 40-hectare area this year while there were 4800 floating beds on 38 hectares in last year, said sources at the upazila agriculture office.
Vegetable seedlings grown on floating beds see an increasing demand, said Santu Mia, member of Bisharkandi Union Parishad.
Seedlings of green chilli, tomato, spinach, bottle gourd, mint, mustard, and lal shak are cultivated without any insecticides on floating beds, said Mizanur Rahman, a farmer of Bisharkandi village.
Ibrahim Mia of the same village said he grew vegetable seedlings on a 160-foot by 3-foot floating bed at a cost of Tk 15,000 at an abandoned government waterbody in the village in October last year and made a profit of over Tk 20,000 by selling the produces.
“Floating bed farming, a long tradition in our area, is receiving renewed interest, especially among poor farmers,” said Mizanur Rahman, a farmer of Iluhar union of the upazila.
Monowara Begum of the same area said the earning from vegetables grown on a 100 square feet floating bed came as a help for her poor family.
Many landless farmers are now showing interest in making floating seedbeds, she added.
Several growers said they prepared floating beds with squeezed water hyacinth kept in bamboo enclosures in waterbodies and cultivated different vegetables there.
The cost for making a 60-foot by 3-foot floating bed stands around Tk 5,000, they said, adding that such a floating bed can be used for two or three times, which enables farming with reduced cost the next time.
However, regular care involving physical labour is needed for getting expected output.
The Department of Agriculture Extension provides support and training for cultivation on floating beds, said Oliul Alom, agriculture officer of Banaripara upazila.