A young agricultural entrepreneur named Ruhul Amin Liton has achieved incredible success in mixed fruit orchards in Jibannagar Upazila of Chuadanga. Along with dragon fruit, he also planted strawberry fruit in the same land. He has achieved incredible success in this.
This garden of mixed fruits has been built on a 45 bigha land in Payaratala village, four kilometers away from Jibannagar upazila headquarters. Young agricultural entrepreneur Ruhul Amin Liton is a resident of Lakshipur village of Jibannagar upazila. In the middle of 2019, he started cultivating dragon fruit by leasing 45 bigha of land.
This year, this garden has been developed with another 20 bighas of land. In the middle of last November, 90,000 strawberry seedlings were planted in the empty space of the dragon fruit row in that garden. The dragon trees have been yielding for the past three years. In addition, this is the first time he is selling strawberry fruit in the market. At present about 150 kg to 200 kg of strawberries are being collected daily. His mixed fruit orchards have created employment for hundreds of farmers.
Ruhul Amin Liton has impressed other farmers of the area by planting mixed fruits. People of different ages and unemployed youths are constantly flocking to see this mixed garden. Some are even approaching to Liton gardening with experience and advice. Some have already planned to start a garden. All in all, Ruhul Amin Liton is exemplary now.
A visit to his garden offers a diverse natural environment full of beauty surrounded by greenery across a vast area. Strawberry trees between rows of dragon trees. These trees have small and big strawberries in between the green leaves. Some trees are holding bunches of strawberries. Each strawberry caught from the tree is bagged with polythene. In the garden, 8 to 10 workers are divided into different groups and are collecting strawberries. After collecting the strawberries, they are being packed and sent to Dhaka.
While walking around the garden, Liton said, in 2019, we will lease 45 bigha of land in Piaratla village. Then we planted Bari-1 variety dragon fruit seedlings on that land. After 10 months of planting, the plants start to flower. After a year and a half, I started collecting dragons from the garden. Last year I sold 30 tons of dragon fruit from this garden. He said, dragon fruit does not occur in winter. For this reason, we decided to plant strawberry trees in the empty spaces of the row of dragon trees. According to the decision, Liton collected 90,000 strawberry seedlings from Rajshahi in the first week of November last year. The strawberry plant seedlings are then planted in the gaps between the rows of dragon plants. Plants flower after 1 month of planting. The fruit ripens in January this year.
The tree holds bunches of dragon fruit. Initially, dragon fruit was sold at the rate of Tk 1,000 per kg. At present, it is being sold at the rate of Tk 650 per kg. My strawberry harvest started before the dragon fruit finished. Strawberries can be harvested from the garden till next April.
Lytton said mixed fruit growing is more profitable than other crops. A mixed garden requires little maintenance. After first planting and preparing the ground, no hard maintenance is required except for pesticides and minor maintenance. Educated unemployed youth will succeed if they take the initiative to do something by themselves instead of chasing jobs. Every day people come from far and wide to see my garden and take advice from me. They will also garden. Besides, I see that many people are starting gardening in our area.
Litton said, I saw a glimmer of hope in the first year of making the garden. If one can proceed with proper planning one will surely succeed. You have to be a worker along with the worker. Dragons in my garden are in great demand in the area.
Minajul Haque, a laborer in the garden, said that all kinds of work including making the land beds, watering and tending and collecting dragons and strawberries are done throughout the year. No need to go anywhere else for that. The family is working in this garden.
Mahfuz, a fruit seller, said that this is the largest mixed fruit orchard in Jibannagar upazila. I have been collecting dragon fruit from this garden since last two years.
Jibannagar Upazila Agriculture Officer Sharmin Akhtar said that Ruhul Amin Liton has planted a mixed fruit garden on 45 bigha land in Piaratla village. Lytton would get produce from this garden for 6 to 7 months of the year if he only cultivated dragons. Now getting extra profit. Mixed gardening is a time-efficient process to get more profit in less land in less time at less cost. We are working on promoting mixed gardens. Farmers of Jibannagar Upazila are more inclined towards fruit orchards. There is a growing trend of fruit gardening among people. Apart from mangoes, cultivation of various fruits is increasing in the upazila every year. Many have been inspired by Litton's success. Many people come to us for advice on how to grow a mixed fruit garden like Lytton. In that case, we provide all kinds of technical support or technical advice to the farmers from the upazila agriculture office. A variety of trainings are provided under fruit orchard and nutrition development projects throughout the year.