Farmers make profit growing watermelon on unused lands of fish enclosures
Farmers of Beel Khukshiya regions in Keshabpur upazila of Jashore have found enviable success in cultivating watermelon during its off-season. They have cultivated watermelon on bamboo platforms near fish enclosures bringing a marked change in their fate. Watermelons were seen hanging like pumpkins on bamboo platforms and the farmers have wrapped those with net bags for their weight management.
As the weather condition is favourable, farmers are making a good profit as the yield has been quite good. Watermelon, usually cultivated during dry season, has been cultivated for the first time in this region.
Watermelons produced here are being transported to different parts of the country including Dhaka. Many farmers are turning to watermelon cultivation as it is profitable.
Upazila agriculture extension officials have visited the watermelon cultivation and assured the farmers of all sorts of assistance.
Bill Khukshiya is located on the banks of the river Srihari in Suflakati union, some 18 km away from Keshabpur upazila headquarters.
Due to 18-year-long waterlogging in the beel, the farmers could not grow any crops in the beel. Later, Tidal River Management (TRM) approach was implemented by the Water Development Board to solve the waterlogging problem. At the end of the project, the farmers started cultivating fish in enclosures. Now, the farmers have seen the face of success by cultivating watermelon on bamboo platforms at the edge of the enclosures. Farmer Mohsin Uddin said, he planted around 1,400 watermelon saplings around his 13-bigha fish enclosure and got a yield of 275 maunds. He sold per maund of watermelon at Tk 1,200. The biggest of his produce weighed 14 kg.
Abdul Halim Khan, another farmer in the area, has sold watermelons worth TK 30,000.
Farmer Abdul Quddus has cultivated watermelon in his six-bigha fish enclosure. The watermelons that he produced were also quite large.
The Department of Agriculture Extension has become overjoyed to see watermelon cultivation in the beel area.
Chairman of Suflakati Union Parishad Abdus Samad said, the beel remained waterlogged for 18 years and the farmers could not harvest any crop there. The TRM approach was implemented in the beel in 2005. Now, the farmers are getting the benefit of it.
This year, the farmers have got a huge yield of watermelon in the beel areas.
Besides paddy and fish cultivation, watermelon cultivation has brought back smiles on the faces of the farmers, he added.
Keshabpur Upazila Agriculture Officer Rituraj Sarkar said, watermelon has been cultivated in 254 bighas of land in Beel Khukshiya, which is making the farmers of the area financially solvent.
Watermelons of Asian-1, Pakija Super, Black King, Black Queen varieties have been cultivated here as per the advice of the agriculture department.