The landless farmers in Khulna now can grow vegetable on floating plots of land in government-owned water bodies. Besides meeting their vegetable demands, the farmers are selling the vegetables in the local market, a boost to their earnings.
Growing vegetables on floating beds has become very popular in Dumuria upazila of Khulna. As many as 70 landless farmers are initially growing vegetables on such floating beds in different villages of the upazila. The farmers are happy with the good yield.
According to the Upazila Agricultural Extension office, farmers of Madhugram, Mikshimil and Rangpur union have been growing vegetables commercially in this method. These vegetable beds are being made in the areas where water bodies remain under water around the year. No crops can be grown in such lands. That is why the farmers chose these lands to grow various vegetables including spinach, bottle gourd, sweet potato and eggplant.
The farmers prepare the bed with a one-foot thick layer of water hyacinth spread out on bamboo mats. A layer of mud is spread on top of this. They mix the soil with fertiliser. Each of the beds is 14 feet long and 7 feet wide.
The Prothom Alo correspondent recently visited Madhugram of Rudaghara union in Dumuria. The view of green and red vegetables floating on the water was a pleasant and soothing sight.
Landless farmer Ramzan of Madhugram has three floating beds in the water body.
Ramzan told Prothom Alo that he used to work as a day labourer on other’s lands.
He started growing bottle gourd and red spinach on the floating land on government canal following the advice of agriculture officials, he told Prothom Alo. He sold red spinach to the local market recently, he added.
According to local farmers, Mohsin Sardar started cultivating vegetables in the canal three years ago, on the advice of agricultural officials. This is steadily expanding.
Landless farmers are more interested in adopting this method. The vegetables look very fresh. There is a high demand for these vegetable in the market as they are totally organic.
Agriculture Officer of Dumuria Agricultural Extension Office Moshaddek Hossain told Prothom Alo that the cultivation of vegetables on floating beds is bringing new hopes to the landless farmers.
The production cost is low and the vegetables are organic. Not only are their families are getting necessary supply of nutrition, they are making good money out of this, he added.