In the past, rainwater caused damage to gerbera and rose in the field. But the use of polytunnel under drip irrigation system has cut out such risk. Moreover,
Also, rainwater is stored in dug well and used for irrigation.
Shahjahan Sardar from Gadkhalir Panishara, a village 25 kilometres away from Sadar, at Jhikargacha upazila in Jashore is producing flowers using polytunnel in 26 decimal of land.
"The dug well is connected to each piece of land. Just a flip on the switch carries required water to the fields. So, we do not have to lift underground water," Shahjahan.
Not only him but 150 more farmers of the village are producing vegetables and flowers using rainwater under drip irrigation programme.
Rainwater is first collected and stored in a dug well. Then the water is used to irrigate vegetable and flower gardens.
As there are nets around polytunnel, the insects cannot attack the vegetables and flowers. So, farmers do not have to use insecticides and consumers get unadulterated vegetables.
Jashore, drip irrigation programme was undertaken in fiscal 2017-18 with a budget of Tk7.6 crore, according to the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC).
Eight solar pumps, deep tube wells; and six polytunnels were set up in Gadkhali, bringing 360 bighas of land of 150 farmers under flower and vegetable cultivation. A 20x15 feet infrastructure was set up for storing rainwater.
Md Sohel Rana, an assistant engineer at the BADC (Irrigation) Jashore, said: "Drip irrigation is a modern irrigation system. The farmers store rainwater in dug wells and use the water throughout the year. It would take two labours three hours to irrigate 1 bigha of land, previously."
Labours would irrigate at will, causing damage to crops, Sohel explained, pointing out that the required water now reaches the fields within 10 minutes without any help of a labourer.
Monzur Alam, a farmer at Panishara village of the upazila, said he cultivated cucumber in 12 decimals of land and tomato in 25 decimal of land. So far, Monzur has sold cucumber worth Tk80,000 and tomato worth Tk2 lakh.
Sher Ali of the same village has cultivated flower and vegetable in three bighas of land. He said: "With the help of solar energy, using drip irrigation, we are regularly getting water. We are producing unadulterated vegetables, using organic and earthworm compost. Plus, flower production has been good in the polytunnel."
Flowers are being cultivated commercially in 3,000 hectares of land at Jhikargacha of Jashore.
In 1983, flowers were cultivated in only 30 decimals of land. Gadkhali meets almost 70 percent of the total local demand for flower. The flowers are being exported to the UAE, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea.
Md Abdulla Al Rashid, a superintendent engineer of the BADC (Irrigation) Jashore, said the farmers of Gadkhali are getting commercially benefited, using a modern irrigation system. Plus, safe vegetable and flower are produced. In future, more such projects will be initiated, on a bigger scale.
Md Mahbub Alam, an executive engineer at the BADC (Irrigation) Jashore, said: "We have started this new cultivation system in Jhikargacha as a pilot project. The farmers are getting benefited from it. Vegetables are grown throughout the year using polytunnel. As rainwater is being used, there will be less pressure on underground water."