Tomato cultivation successful in Rajshahi

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RAJSHAHI, Dec 5, 2018 (BSS) – Farmers are cultivating tomato successfully in
the region including the vast Barind tract. They are very enthusiastic and
optimistic for high market price and suitable climatic condition.

“Many farmers have already changed their fortunes through tomato
cultivation in the region. They can earn between Taka 30,000 to Taka 35,000
by cultivating tomatoes on each bigha of land in a season,” Abdur Rahim, a
farmer of Palpur village under Godagari Upazila, told BSS.

Tomato cultivation has created job opportunities for hundreds of
educated youths of the region and it could change the socio-economic
condition of the poor if marketing and cost-effective environment-friendly
technologies are ensured.

Target of the cash crop farming has been surpassed in Godagari Upazila
of the district as it becomes famous for the cash crop by virtue of its
better yield attained by the farmers during the last over a decade.

More than 4,000 hectares of land were brought under the farming only in
the upazila this year, said Monzurul Haque, Additional Deputy Director of
Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE).

Meanwhile, although the early varieties of tomato are available in local
market and it is selling high.

“One kilogram of tomato is being sold at Taka 80 to 100 per kilogram in
local market. It is beyond the purchasing capacity of lower and lower middle-
income people like us,” said Rajina Begum, a housewife living in Sagarpara of
Rajshali city.

The wholesale price of a maund of tomato is now about Taka 2,500 to Taka
3,000, but its price will come down to Taka 100 per maund at the end of this
season, tomato traders said.

Mustafizur Rahman, additional director of the Department of Agriculture
Extension (DAE), Rajshahi, said tomato farming is gaining popularity in the
region, particularly in the vast tract of Barind area, as its cultivation is
profitable here.

He said there was no shortage of quality hybrid-tomato seed of various
brands this year. Moreover, due to strict control over marketing tomato
seeds, no adulterated seed was sold here.

Agriculturist Rahman said tomatoes are widely cultivated in the region.
The total land under tomato cultivation doubled in the last seven years,
while yield tripled.

Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) developed 10 high
yielding and quality varieties and modern technologies for the farmers. The
rates of production of the developed varieties are comparatively high and
profitable than that of the domestic varieties.

As a result, tomato farmers were able to purchase quality seeds as their
requirement. In the mean time, transplanting of tomato saplings has been
completed.

Dr Shakhawat Hossain, senior scientific officer of BARI, said the soil
and climatic condition of the entire region, including Rajshahi, Natore,
Naogaon and Chapainawabganj, are very suitable for tomato cultivation. “So,
it is now widely cultivated on the dry soil of the Barind area.”

The farmers also prefer to cultivate some hybrid varieties of tomato
which are high yielding and much more profitable.

Besides, different public and private commercial banks, especially
Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank (Rakub), are giving credit to farmers for tomato
cultivatin.

President of Rajshahi Chamber of Commerce and Industries Md Muniruzzaman
said the farmers may incur loss due to lack of storage facilities here while
thousands of tonnes of tomato get perished every year.

He said cold storage and processing plants can store the cash crop
aiming to save tomato growers from financial loss.

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