Think of tulips and you will probably think of the Netherlands. But move over the European country. A dazzling display of the flowers has now enveloped the landscape of Gazipur on Dhaka's outskirts -- thanks to the country's first tulip garden there.
In fact, a local flower farmer, Md Delowar Hossain, has made this possible. Last year, he brought a thousand bulbs of tulip from the Netherlands for experimental cultivation. And this year, the plants produced by the bulbs have bloomed in his garden -- 'Moumita Flowers'.
"Tulip gardens in the Netherlands or Kashmir in India have been recognised as tourist spots. This is also possible in Bangladesh through extensive farming of local tulips," says Delowar, who has now started selling the flowers in the domestic market.
Popular as cut flowers as well as ornamental garden plants, tulips are oval shaped flowers that are available in a wide shape of colours, including red, pink, yellow and white.
A marvelous sight to behold, Delowar's tulip garden has already become popular in the region. People from Dhaka and adjoining areas have been making a beeline to the garden daily since it was thrown open for visitors recently.
Not only the general public, VIPs like the Bangladesh Education Minister, Agricultural Minister and local MPs have visited Delowar's 'Moumita Flowers'.
To meet the growing demand for tulips, Bangladesh imports the flowers from India, the Netherlands and China. But Delowar says adequate domestic production could well meet the country's demand for tulips.
"Imported tulips are sold at Tk 700-800 per hundred pieces in Bangladesh, which means if the local ones are sold even at Tk 400-500 per hundred pieces, our farmers will earn huge profits. I am willing to extend help to people keen on tulip farming," Delowar says.
Thanks to his tulip garden, 30 people in the area have got employment opportunities. Of course, he has also earned a profit of Tk 40 lakh. "As tulips grow best in cold weather, I think Panchagar would be the best place for tulip cultivation," Delowar says.
During his recent visit to the tulip garden, Agricultural Minister Dr Abdur Razzaque said, "We want to utilise the economic possibility that has been seeded by Delowar's dream."
"By patronising entrepreneurs like Delowar, we can expand the production of tulips and more unconventional crops that will meet the local demand as well as earn remittance for the country," he had said.
Delowar previously cultivated Gerbera, Rajanigandha and China rose successfully in his garden, for which he was given the Bangabandhu National Agricultural Award in 2017.