Tomato farming has changed fate of hundreds of poor farmers in Bagerhat district.
Seeing of success of a farmer in the tomato cultivation, many of the villagers in the region started cultivating the vegetable.
According to an UNB report, the farmer’s success encouraged the villagers to cultivate the tomato farming.
The farmer name is Biswajit Baral. The farmer of Ashok Nagar village of Chitalmari upazila of Bagerhat district set an example in this area by cultivating tomatoes. He cultivated early varieties of the winter tomatoes and now he earns a lot from it.
According to the UNB’s news item, seeing success of Biswajit Baral, many of the villagers started cultivating the vegetable. The tomatoes grown here go to different parts of the country including Dhaka, Chattogram, Chapainawabganj, Noakhali, Hatia and Barisal, reports our local correspondent. Thousands of tomato plants were lined up on both sides of the fields at the field of Ashok Nagar village. The plants are full of small to large green and red tomatoes. Men and women of different ages are picking tomatoes from the plants. This is the same scenario as far as the eye can see in the field.
Besides, tomato cultivation has been seen in different villages of Chitalmari including Santoshpur, Umajuri, Charbaniari, Paschimpara, Garibpur, Kharamkhali. Different varieties of tomatoes named Haitom, Chakra, Major, Beautiful and Beautiful-2 are being cultivated in this area.
According to the Department of Agriculture, the seeds of these high yielding hybrids are from India, China and Thailand.
Biswajit Baral, a 38-year-old millionaire who cultivates tomatoes, turned to agriculture after passing HSC from Vocational. He has revolutionized tomato cultivation. Besides, he is involved in growing seasonal agricultural products and pisciculture. "Ten years back, I started cultivating tomatoes in a modern way on 10 bighas of land. Although the cultivation was not good in the first year, I started to get good results from the following year", Biswajit said.
"Later I expanded the area of tomato cultivation. Now tomatoes are being cultivated on 45 bighas of land", he added. Biswajit has 20,000 tomato plants of Haitom and Beauty-2 varieties. Depending on the market price at different times, the income from selling tomatoes from each plant is Tk 300 to 400. The average cost for each tomato plant is Tk 40.
Biswajit also said that tomato cultivation starts from June and sale starts from the first week of October. Tomatoes are sold till February.
In last 10 years, he sold tomatoes worth almost Tk 5 crores. He is now self-sufficient by cultivating tomatoes.
Millionaire Biswajit, who cultivates tomatoes, now wants recognition from the government. Ananda Bala, another villager, said that almost every family in Ashok Nagar village is cultivating early varieties of winter tomatoes. "I also started expanding tomato cultivation motivated by neighbor Biswajit Baral," said Ananda . Last year, she sold tomatoes worth around Tk 12 lakh.
Tomato cultivation has brought the fortunes of many farmers.
Bharati Rani Majumder said they have been cultivating tomatoes for several years. She is earning Tk 2-3 lakh every year by selling tomatoes. There is a lot of income being earned by cultivating tomatoes at low cost, she added. Talking to UNB several farmers from different villages including Prakash Majudar, Govinda Barai and Subhash Majudar, said that the cultivation of high yielding hybrid tomatoes of early variety has been a blessing for them. Bithi Begum, a labor, said she has been working in Biswajit Baral's tomato field for six months. She worked there on a daily basis and earned Tk 250 per day.
Asim Kumar Das, Agriculture Extension Officer of Chitalmari Upazila said Biswajit Baral is the bigggest tomato grower in this area. Biswaji is the pride of the Department of Agriculture, he added."The higher authority will be informed for recognizing his success."
He said the agriculture department was encouraging farmers to grow tomatoes in various ways. According to the Agriculture Extension Officer, there are about 20,000 tomato growers in Chitalmari upazila. This year, Beautyful, Beautiful-2, Haitom, Chakra and Major varieties of tomatoes have been cultivated in 1,605 acres of land. Last year, tomatoes were cultivated in 1,432 acres of land. Tomato yield is good in sandy and loamy soils. Tomatoes are a very profitable crop, he said. Bipul Krishna Saha, the lessee of Khaser Haat Bazar, said that tomatoes worth Tk 1.5 crore are sold on the day of haat. Wholesalers from different areas come here to buy tomatoes, he added. "Tomato sales continue from noon to evening".