Strawberry farming becomes boon for many people in Rajshahi



Farming of strawberries has become a boon for many people, including youths, as they have made their fortunes through the cash crop production in the region, including its vast Barind tract. According to the sources concerned, commercial farming of the high-valued seasonal crop has been gaining popularity as it’s more profitable than many other seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Bakkar Ali, a farmer of Parila village, said a large number of people, mostly unemployed youths, have become dependent on strawberry farming to earn a living as its cultivation is easier and more profitable than other crops.
The youths are supplying strawberries to different markets across the country as the fruit is being used in preparing ice-cream, jams, jellies, pickles, chocolates and biscuits.
Ali mentioned that strawberry has brought diversifications in both wholesale and retail fruit markets as its farming has been gaining popularity in the region for the last couple of decades. Tazimul Haque, 53, another farmer of Baroipara village under Paba upazila, said each plant bears around 250 to 300 grams of fruit and some 6,000 plants can be grown on one bigha of land.
The red juicy and nutritious fruit are now being supplied to markets in the capital, he said, adding strawberry cultivation is easier than potatoes or eggplant.
Saplings can be planted in rows between November and December every year, he said.
Illustrating the salient feature of strawberry, a high-valued cash crop, he said the plants start flowering within one month of plantation and fruits can be collected till March.
Hamidul Haque, another farmer of Puthiya, who has been cultivating the cash crop for more than 12 years, said there is a bright prospect of strawberry farming everywhere in the region.
Professor Dr Manzur Hossain, who is a pioneer in the country’s strawberry research, variety innovation and growers’ level farming expansion, said Bangladeshi strawberry varieties have been adjudged as world’s best strawberry.
Farming of the juicy fruit has already begun in many districts in the region, he said.
With the average price of a kilogram of Strawberry standing at Taka 700, the commercially viable fruit presents great export potentials and ushers in economic prospects for those who wish to get high and fast returns from limited land resources, he added.
Professor Hossain, a retired teacher of the Department of Botany in Rajshahi University, said they have innovated three varieties of strawberry through applying tissue culture method.