Farmers in the district are reaping profits cultivating highly-nutritious broccoli, requiring low capital compared to other vegetables.
Sources at the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) are saying the cancer-preventing vegetable is becoming popular among farmers and they will provide necessary logistical support to increase production in the future.
The local agriculture department started to motivate farmers to cultivate broccoli two years ago, as a pilot project. Its success has resulted in it currently being commercially cultivated on three hectares of land across the district.
Saiful Islam, a farmer from the district’s Shyampur upazila, said he was initially skeptical about growing broccoli. “At first I cultivated broccoli on one bigha of land, which produced 4,000 broccoli heads. But now after seeing its rising demand, I plan to increase my production capacity.”
Kamruzzaman, another farmer of Shyampur’s Gopalnagar, said the broccoli can be harvested in less than 90 days of planting.
“On an average, the expenses for broccoli farming on per bigha of land is Tk10,000-15,000,” he said, “The harvest can be sold for Tk35,000-40,000.”
Nazibur Rahman is another farmer who experienced success after experimenting with non-conventional fruits, such as strawberries, guavas, and different breeds of jujubes. After trying out broccoli, he said the first season was difficult.
But after persevering and receiving support from local agriculture department officials, he has had commercial success, along with other farmers in the district.
“Apart from being nutritious, broccolis are in demand among consumers as well, which is leading to more production than before,” Nazibur added.
After expenses, he earns Tk25,000-30,000 per bigha worth of broccoli.
The local DAE office had begun broccoli farming as a pilot project, also part of the “National Agriculture Technology Program 2” project.
SM Anisuzzaman, agriculture officer of Shibganj upazila, said due to the low likelihood of broccoli being contaminated or eaten away by insects, it is rapidly becoming a popular option among farmers.
Md Manzurul Huda, deputy director at the district’s DAE office, said broccoli could be a viable option to fulfill the country’s nutrition deficit.
Sources said that wholesale broccoli is currently between Tk15–20 per head, which is a bargain, considering its high nutrition value which cannot be found in other vegetables.