Many farmers in Rangpur have taken up vegetable cultivation after failing to profit from paddy, jute and potatoes. The financial returns have been so good with vegetables that many farmers want to continue cultivating them.
There was a good crop in the region this year because there was neither any excessive rainfall nor any natural calamities.
Farmers in Rangpur division are happy with the good yield and comparatively higher prices than in the previous year. The vegetables are sold across the country after meeting the local demand.
Farmers say that they will continue with vegetable farming if the prices are fair and if they get support from the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE).
DAE Rangpur office Horticulturist Khondoker Mesbahul Islam said that as much as 26,302 hectares of land were used for vegetable cultivation in 2018, when the production target was 30,050-tonnes.
"This year, vegetables are being cultivated on 35,409 hectares of land in five districts. The target has been raised to 38,000 tonnes," added Mesbahul.
Ashraful Islam, a farmer, said that the yields are good this year because of favorable weather. Moreover, farmers are getting higher prices now than they did in the previous season.
For example, Ashraful sold beans for Tk35-40 per kg in the last season, but the price has gone up to Tk60-70 per kg this season. Like beans, farmers are selling cauliflowers, cabbages and coriander for at least Tk20 more per kg this season than they did in the previous one.
Ashraful said they are also sending vegetables to the capital and to other markets across the country. Apart from the regular varieties, both farmers and vegetable traders are also benefiting from the early-yield vegetable varieties.
At Gangachara upazila, farmers were seen preparing the seedlings in polythene-sheds at corners of their farmland. The seedlings included those of early-yield varieties of brinjal, radish and bottle gourd.
Many of them are also growing vegetables without using pesticide.
The deputy-assistant officer of the upazila agriculture office, Afroza Begum, said, "Early-yield vegetable varieties including cauliflower and cabbage are gaining popularity with farmers."
Shariful Islam, the upazila agriculture officer, said the sandy loam soil in Gangachara upazila is favorable for vegetable farming.
Shariful commented that early-yield varieties are becoming more popular because farmers are now more aware of their prices.
Dr. M. Sarwarul Haque, the deputy director of the Rangpur Department of Agricultural Extension, said that they are encouraging and cooperating with farmers to cultivate winter and early-yield vegetable varieties.