Farming broccoli, a non-conventional winter vegetable, has gained popularity as many of the grassroots farmers get more income from vegetable growing compared to other conventional ones in the region, including its large barind canal.
Area of vegetables is gradually increasing due to its lucrative market price and gradually increasing demand.
Like the previous few years, the freshly harvested vegetable along with others has emerged abundantly in the local markets at the moment, making both sellers and buyers happy.
As a whole, vegetables have brought a diversification into the kitchen markets beyond a new dimension in the local economy, experts said.
Muktar Ali, 46, a farmer in the Hatibandha area of Godagari upazila, has been growing broccoli on around a bigha land and he is harvesting his cash crop for the last few days with satisfactory yield and market price.
“I have been selling broccoli for 20 Taka per piece since the beginning of the harvest,” Ali said, adding that broccoli is more profitable than some other modern vegetables like cauliflower and cabbage.
He has also achieved success from his previous year of farming on 10 katha of land.
“I have about 400 plants on a large plot of land this year,” said Hasim Uddin, 35, another farmer in Imamganj village under the same Upazila, adding that he is expected to make money on vegetable growing.
Supporting Agriculture Officer Atanu Sarker told BSS that many of the farmers are seen showing their interests in vegetable growing as the demand is gradually increasing.
Many farmers grow seasonal cash crops in the area as they get a better market price on their yields compared to many other crops.
“I’m very happy to get seasonal vegetables regularly since the winter season began,” said Ambia Ferdousi Khanom, a housewife from the Boaliapara area of Rajshahi town. She is currently buying broccoli for 30Taka per. PCS.
Azizul Islam, a seller from the Shayampur area, has been selling the vegetables more or less every day for the past three to four weeks. Demand for vegetables has increased to a greater extent, he added.
Additional Director of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) Sirajul Islam said that initiative has been taken to expand the agriculture of the cash crop among the farmers in general.
He said broccoli is a high-nutrient winter vegetable. It is full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
It looks like cauliflower, but its color is green and not milky white like cauliflower. Soil conditions and winter weather in the region are favorable for broccoli cultivation.
Side by side with other conventional winter vegetables, the cash crop is seen popping up every day in the local markets, bringing diversity to the vegetable markets, both the wholesale and retail markets. The non-conventional winter vegetable has started to become a conventional one.
He said there is a bright prospect of commercial broccoli farming in the northwestern region of the country. By taking advantage of the situation, farmers are seen showing their interest in growing broccoli as a result of better production and market price.
Agriculturist Islam added that the vegetables could be easily grown in the normal agricultural field as it is more tolerant of high temperatures than cauliflower and cabbage. The nutritional value of the crop is more than any other winter vegetable including cabbage and cauliflower.
Dr. Mazharul Islam, chief scientific officer at the Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute, said broccoli is gradually becoming popular among the urban population and the Chinese restaurants along with the big hotels. They use broccoli to make soup and other delicious foods.
The farming method almost resembled cabbage and cauliflower. At least 40,000 to 50,000 plants could be produced per acres in 65-70 days, he said.
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