Multi-layer farming gaining popularity in coastal areas
Mohosinul Karim, back from Dumuria, Khulna
Jayanta Bishwas, a farmer of Chandgarh of Dumuria under Khulna, has sold watermelon of Tk 50,000 and other vegetables like Karla and beans of Tk 40,000 and fish of Tk 2, 00,000 this season.
He did so by using multi-layer method on his 40 decimal lands out of total 200 decimals.
He claimed that vegetables and fish of similar amount would be sold from the rest before the end of the season.
At the same time, he will get around 200 maunds of paddy from the entire land where he cultivated BR-23 paddy with the support of Department of Agriculture Extension.
Jayanta has grown paddy, vegetables and fish together by using the multi-layer cropping method of the Soil Resource Development Institute (SRDI) with the support of DAE officials.
Not only Jayanta, Habibul Morol of the same village and Rafiq Shaikh, Sirazul Islam and Mazid Sarder of nearby Britti Fulbaria village have also used the multi-layer cropping method this year to cultivate the crops and vegetables and fish on their land.
While talking to this correspondent at Chandgarh recently, Habibul and Rafiq Shaikh said not only a few farmers, more than 300 farmers of the villages are now using the method to grow their crops, watermelon, vegetables and fish on a same land at the same time.
According to the method, the farmers of saline area have to construct boundaries around their land they want to cultivate following the method. They dig its fertile upper part.
Later, a five to six feet deep pond is dug in 20 percent of the entire land, where fish are cultivated.
The farmers plant their vegetables on the high boundaries, which are known as 'Ail' locally and paddy is planted on the rest 80 percent of land using locally grown 'organic' fertilizers.
The water of the (pond) khal, normally meets up the demand for water of the paddy along with cultivating fish. As a result, the fish also get natural food from the wetlands.
While talking to this correspondent, Habibul Morol said cultivating vegetables and fish on a five bigha of land, he earned more than Tk2, 00000 by selling fish of Tk 1.20 lakh, karola of Tk 50,000 and beans and other vegetables of Tk 30,000.
He will earn around similar amount of money by selling the rest of vegetables. Paddy will be grown around 150 maunds from the land.
Rafiq Shaikh of Britti Fulbaria said he had grown vegetables, paddy and cultivated fish in around six bighas of land under the multi-layer cropping method.
He has already sold the vegetables and fish of around Tk3, 00000 and Tk2,00000 more he is expecting from the rest.
Sirazul Islam and Mazid Sarder of Britti Fulbaria also sold vegetables, watermelon, and fish of more than Tk3, 00000 each and expected to sell those of around similar amount.
Local businessmen are buying their grown crops, vegetables and fish from their houses.
Observing their success in growing crops and fish following the multi-layer cropping method, almost all farmers of the villages and nearby area are being encouraged to follow the method.
As a result, most of the families of the farmers have got financial happiness and solvency.
Upazila Agriculture Officer of Dumuria Mosaddek Hossain told this correspondent that they had started the method experimentally a few years. It has got popularity among the village people and most farmers of the villages are now using it.
They are now planning to extend the method to other villages of the district and it would be spread over the country gradually.
It would help the country's grassroots level farmers to get solvency and ensure different vegetables in the market round the year, he added.
Department of Agriculture Extension of Khulna Deputy Director Pankaj Kanti Majumder, told this correspondent that the farmers are now growing watermelon and the success came through research of Soil Resource Development Institute (SRDI).
Chief Scientific Officer of SRDI Khulna office Sachindra Nath Bishwas, also Project Director of Agriculture Development Project for Gopalganj, Bagerhat, Khulna, Satkhira and Pirojpur, told this correspondent that the new method of cultivation can bring revolutionary changes in the agriculture sector of coastal saline area across the country.