Farmers self-reliant cultivating bitter gourd at Sapahar
SAPAHAR, NAOGAON, Aug 24: Bitter gourd farmers of Sapahar Upazila in the district have become self-reliant through cultivating the vegetable.
They are sending bitter gourd to different areas of the country including the capital Dhaka and are making profit.
Local veteran farmers think that people of other areas would know Sapahar as the bitter gourd producing area besides mango production.
Several years back, the local farmers were encouraged to cultivate bitter gourd in their hybrid mango orchards as a companion crop and made profit by selling the vegetable in the market.
Later, as the news of butter gourd cultivation spread outside Sapahar, raw vegetable traders from different places of the country, including Dhaka, rushed to Sapahar.
Following this, a temporary bitter gourd market started to sit at Bahapur crossing beside Sapahar-Tilna highway in the upazila every day for three to four hours.
Early in the morning, the bitter gourd farmers from different areas bring their vegetables to the market and the buyers purchase the bitter gourd from them at different prices and send to their destination by mini trucks.
Now, per maund bitter gourd is selling at Tk 1,000 to 1,200 in the temporary market. This seasonal market runs from August 15 to October 15 every year.
After the Eid-ul-Azha on August 12 last, the market has started to gain momentum for last few days, and dealers have also started coming here from different parts of the country, including Dhaka. On Tuesday last, per maund bitter gourd was selling at Tk 1,000 to 1,200 in the market.
A trader Anwar Hossain from Karwan Bazaar in Dhaka said he had been supplying bitter gourd to Karwan Bazaar from Sapahar for last several years, and getting profit as the vegetable is of good quality.
Some bitter gourd farmers, including Ukil Babu, Anarul, Saiful and Abdul Malek of the area, said if the bitter gourd market would not sit here, they would not cultivate the vegetable at this amount.
Buyers and sellers of the market said about 100 to 150 metric tons of bitter gourd are being supplied to various parts of the country from here.
In this connection, Upazila Sub-Assistant Plant Conservation Officer Md Ataur Rahman Selim said for last few years the cultivation of bitter gourd has created a silent revolution among the farmers in the upazila. Many of them have become economically self-reliant by cultivating different varieties of bitter gourd.
As per local agriculture office, bitter gourd was cultivated in 150 to 200 bighas of land in the upazila this year.
Although bitter gourd is a transient crop, the local farmers achieved bumper yield this time and the price is also fair. If the weather remains favourable for next few days, the cultivation period for bitter gourd will increase.
The bitter gourd farmers and agriculture department think that the cultivation of bitter gourd will be a revolution, just as the mango farmers did in mango cultivation this year.