Farming activities at Fulgachh village in Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila have taken a turn for the better, changing the economic fate of its people.
The village is now lovingly referred to as vegetable village, as all the residents now grow various types of vegetables year round.
Naziur Rahman, 85, a farmer, is a witness to the winds of change at Fulgachh. The village got its name as flowers bloomed in abundance at every household. “However, no one grew flowers commercially on these highlands and growing paddy was not an option either.”
“About 25 years ago, we were introduced to modern farming methods and started growing vegetables.”
Hamidul Islam, 55, said, “There are 2,000 families in the village, each with 4 to 20 bighas of land that used to lie idle before. We now grow vegetables and have financial independence.”
“We are now called the district's store house of vegetables.”
Vegetable grower Lakhmikanta Barmon, 50, said, villagers grow vegetables like tomatoes, pepper, peas, carrots, onions, cabbage, cauliflowers, brinjal, cucumber, radish, beans, pumpkin, gourd, bitter-gourd, okra, mint leaves, basil, ginger, garlic, and coriander.
“We also produce all kinds of spinach like lal shak, palong shak, pui shak, pat shak, and mara shak,” he said.
Produce from the village is mostly taken to the district's biggest wholesale market Goshala Bazar.
Atul Chandra Roy, 42, another vegetable grower, said, we use our lands optimally to grow vegetables; no patch of land is left idle.
“During harvests, our children also help out on the fields.”
The biggest advantage of growing vegetables is the short turnaround period; spinach and other leafy vegetables bring yield in a month while other the crops also have a short maturity time of one to three months.
Villagers in the area are not affected by moderate to heavy rains either as a majority of the vegetables is grown on vines.
“Of late, villagers are producing vegetable seeds and supplying to the seed companies at a profit. They also do not need to purchase their seeds to grow vegetables either,” said farmer Shamser Ali, 50.
Vegetable trader Abdus Salam at Goshala Bazar said Fulgachh accounts for 70 percent of all the vegetables sold there. “We send any excess produce to Dhaka and other parts of the country,” he added.
Deputy Director of Department of Agriculture Extension in Lalmonirhat Bidhubhushon Roy told the Daily Star that their officers are always present to offer technical input. “Training and know-how have improved farming activities in the area.”