RAJSHAHI, Sept 16 (BSS): Gardening around homesteads in both summer and winter seasons in the region including its vast Barind tract has been gaining popularity with production of different fruits and vegetables.
Marginal farmers and the poor people in the region comprising Rajshahi, Chapainawabgonj, Natore and Naogaon districts are mostly engaged in this venture by making the best use of spaces around their homes over the last couple of years.
Varieties of vegetables are available in the local markets round the years because of regular farming of the crops along with other seasonal fruits and crops.
Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) and Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) have been providing necessary cooperation alongside need-based training and required inputs to the farmers to grow fruits and vegetables for their own consumption and extra earning by selling those.
Dev Dulal Dhali, Deputy Director of DAE, said use of vacant spaces for producing fruits and vegetables has been seen as potential means for gradual development in the life of the downtrodden in the region.
He said Barind Centre of On-Farm Research Division (OFRD) of BARI has been implementing various types of need-based programmes with a view to bringing the farmers under the plan through which they can produce traditional fruits and vegetables round the year.
OFRD senior scientific officer Dr Shakhawat Hossain told the news agency that the interested farmers, particularly the poor and marginal ones, are being given preference to use BARI's Tested Pattern Technology in their gardening projects around homesteads.
As part of the programs, OFRD established a live crop museum at Kodomshohar under Godagari Upazila where high yielding varieties of 35 Rabi crops developed by BARI are on display during both the seasons.
Dr Hossain said that the museum has created a positive impact in the area, encouraging a large number of farmers to grow such fruits and vegetables as well as other crops by using the modern method.
Besides arranging regular group discussions and field visits for the beneficiaries, BARI is providing required inputs and quality seeds to the growers, producing mainly papaya, banana, kulboroi, kamranga, dalim, bean, bottle gourd, tomato, radish, red amaranth, spinach, batishak, cabbage, garden pea, bush bean, brinjal, chili, onion and garlic.
He said a large-scale promotion of homestead gardening is very important for getting regular cash crops together with meeting the nutritional demands.
Horticulturist Monzurul Huda said more people in general should come forward towards cultivating vegetables, fruits and crops on the fallow lands surrounding their dwelling houses and rooftops, which can ensure availability of fresh and pollution-free fruits and vegetables.
He said that use of vacant spaces for producing fruits and vegetables has been adjudged as potential means for gradual development in the life of poverty- stricken communities coupled with the low and middle income groups.
Currently, he alleged that most of the commercial growers are seen using harmful insecticides and pesticides on the vegetables and orchards for gaining extra benefits resulting in massive health hazards. However, the problems could easily be solved if all the family members consume self-produced vegetables and fruits.