Gazi Moniruzzaman, Khulna
Nursery business is becoming popular in Khulna. Marginal farmers and the poor people in the vast region are mostly engaged in this venture by making the best use of spaces in their localities over the last few years.
Md Abdul Latif, Deputy Director of Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) in Khulna, said that they have been providing all-out cooperation with necessary training and required inputs to the farmers to grow fruit and vegetable saplings for extra earning by selling those.
The business has already gained ground as running. Such business has proved as profitable and the number of nursery is increasing. Abu Masud, general secretary of Khulna District Nursery Owners’ Association, said that about 90 private owned nurseries has been set up in the city areas and outskirts and selling saplings of various fruit, wood and medicinal trees. Around 1,500 skilled and un-skilled workers are working in the nurseries. Consequently, women of farmers’ families are also getting involved in the ventures.
Abu Masud said, “The saplings are in high demand as the rainy season favours tree plantation. The people are visiting nurseries everyday to purchase saplings of various fruit and medicinal trees.”
“If the government provides interest-free loans to the nursery traders, it will help flourish the business in the district and increase vegetation in the country,” Masud further said. Saplings of various trees are being supplied to the interested persons from the upazila level government nurseries.
Plantation of fruit-bearing and medicinal plants like mango, jack-fruit, segun, mehagani, shal, babla, bay, leaf, cinnamon, cardamon, guava, grapes, leechi, black-berry, star-apple, pomegranate, eucalyptus, shilkrai, shishu, tejpata, elachi, neem, hog-plum, amla, carambola, acid fruit, lotkon, mangosteen, lemon, tamarind and other trees has created a tremendous response among the people.
The small traders collect saplings from the private nurseries at a cheaper price and sell in the hats and bazaars. The wholesale price of a sapling is ranging from Tk 5 to Tk 150 according to demand and quality.
To preserve ecological balance, the government has also taken up massive tree plantation programme. Under the programme, different species of trees are being planted near highways and on the premises of the government offices and educational institutions.
Plants, grafted plants of indigenous and foreign fruits and flowers, specially for seedlings of seasonal flowers and pot plants are also being cultivated in the private nurseries at Khulna Sadar, Daulatpur, Batiaghata, Phultala and Rupsha, Dumuria, Paikgacha, Digholia, Terokhada and saplings of different species of flower and rabid trees are available in these nurseries.
Md Altaf Hossain, 52, has set up an example as a means of survival by maintaining a nursery named `Nayontara Nursery’ at Phultala in Khulna city. He said, “I have become a successful businessman as now I can earn a satisfactory amount of money from my nursery.” He urged the government to provide interest free loan for patronage of the private nurseries.
Altaf’s father late Belayet Hossain had established the ‘Khulna Nursery’ at his own initiative in 1985 on two decimals of land with 40 to 50 varieties of different plants. Now his nursery has been expanded and there are about 160 varieties of different types of saplings, including fruit-bearing trees and medicinal plants. There are 6,000 to 7,000 saplings in his nursery.
The people are becoming interested in the nursery business as they have become financially solvent in the district.