Squash cultivation on the rise at Kalai of Joypurhat
KALAI, JOYPURHAT, Feb 6: Middle east's vegetable 'squash' is getting popularity in Kalai Upazila of the district.
One Sirajul Islam has become success in cultivating this nutritious, tasty, high-yielding, and profitable vegetable.
His squash is poison-free. He is getting fair price of his produces.
He is also being joined by other farmers.
But squash farmers were not getting farming advice from field agriculture officers. So they became frustrated at first. Later, they started farming it at their own capacities.
A visit found eye-catching squash fields in Shankur area in the north of Matrai Talukdar Para under Matrai Union.
Squash plants have grown up attractively in a short time after sowing the seeds.
Squash looks like cucumber. But it tastes like sweet bottle gourd.
Enthusiastic farmers were seen busy farming and rearing their squash farms. Without training, they have successfully farmed squash.
Sirajul Islam said, "Earlier I would run vegetable business. Once, I went to Joypurhat to purchase vegetables and saw squash. But I did not know how to cultivate it."
He added, "I did not find any sub-assistant agriculture officer; later I purchased 10gram squash seeds from a shop taking advice from the shopper; I sowed these seeds on 10 decimals of own land in Agrahayan".
After about 48 days, fruits-started appearing, and fruits grew one to two kg. He started selling these in local markets.
His squash farming on 10 decimal cost him Tk 3,000-4,000 including rearing, seed and fertilizer purchases. He got a four times of profit.
This year, by the first week of Ahrahayan, he has farmed squash on 40 decimals of contract land.
About 1,600 saplings grew from 1,700 seeds. After 40-45, flowers started appearing. After 8-10 days of pollination, he started to collect squashes.
Each root of a squash plant gives 7-8 fruits. Each squash sells at Tk 20-25. So far, his cost stands at about Tk 14,000.
He applied very nominal chemical fertiliser in his squash farm. Already, he has sold squash of about Tk 6,000.
Siraj said, he will sell his squash for the next five weeks. Squash can be collected thrice in a week. He is hoping to get a profit of Tk 40,000 excluding all expenditures.
Sub-assistant director at Matrai Union Md Shariful Islam said, "I don't know squash has been cultivated in Shankur field. I am in additional charge of Matrai Union."
Residential Medical Officer of Kalai Upazila Health Complex Dr. Ashik Ahmed Jabal Bappi said, squash contains vitamin A, B, C, E and vitamin B-6. Other minerals are also available in squash such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, iron, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. On regular eating, squash controls diet. It also protects body from free radicals.
Kalai Upazila Agriculture Officer Neelima Zahan said, squash is mainly a winter vegetable and foreign species.
It tastes like bottle gourd; it grows rapidly at very less labour; and it is almost free of pest attack, she added:
Other current vegetables of the country are not so rapid-growing like this, she mentioned.
If squash cultivation can be expanded, it will bring a radical change to the country's economy, she opined.