Abdus Salam Khoka, a farmer in Laskarpara area of Satkhira town, is a trailblazer.
His humble farm often attracts 25-30 people a day. They do not only come to see the sights, but more often than not are lured by the prospect of the profitable business that Khoka has stumbled upon.
Unlike other farmers in the area, Khoka has become the first person in the district to rear fat-tailed sheep, known as Dumba, on his farm in Chupria village of Satkhira Sadar upazila, seven kilometres away from the district town.
"People from different areas come to visit the farm. Some of them want suggestions as they are also interested in setting up dumba farms," said Khoka.
Ashikur Rahman, a visitor and a resident of Agardari village in the same upazila, said this was the first time he had seen a dumba.
"I have decided to start a farm of this sheep variety," he said, adding, the high amount of capital needed was still a deterrent.
The price of a five to six months old lamb was Tk1.5 lakh, said Khoka. A female dumba gives birth every six months, provided the conditions are right.
According to him, the fat-tailed sheep is much more profitable than other livestock.
Khoka started with two of the animals and currently has five.
He spends Tk300 on them each day, feeding the same food as those eaten by goats and sheep.
"They hardly become sick and it is very easy to rear them. I have a plan to expand the farm, and I have made preparations for this," he said.
Khoka's entry into this new sector began around eleven months ago when he told his son that he wanted to increase the number of cows. His son, however, suggested that Khoka began rearing the more profitable fat-tailed sheep.
"My son argued that this animal would be new in Satkhira. So many people here would be interested in it. Then as per my son's suggestion, I bought two fat-tailed sheep from Ishwardi of Pabna seven months ago for a total of Tk4 lakh. The female soon gave birth to a lamb, which is now worth Tk1.5 lakh now," said Khoka.
One-and-a-half months ago, he bought two more fat-tailed sheep from Joydevpur of Dhaka, spending Tk3 lakh.
Ashraf Ali, the in-charge of the farm, said that the animals are fed twice a day – in the morning and the afternoon. They eat grass, mango and banana leaves and bran. They have to be reared like goats, according to Ashraf.
"However, they are very strong and energetic. If they become angry, it is difficult to handle them," said Ashraf.
ABM Abdur Rauf, Satkhira district livestock officer, said the demand for fat-tailed sheep increased a lot during Eid-Ul-Azha, saying that there was good prospect for the animals in Bangladesh.
"The weather of Satkhira is suitable for raising this animal. On the one hand, it will meet the demand for meat and, on the other hand, it will also benefit the farmers financially," he said.
"There are several farms of dumba in Dhaka, Gazipur, Mymensingh and Chattogram," said Rauf.