Farming of broccoli, a non-conventional winter vegetable, has become boon for many grassroots farmers as they are getting more income from the vegetable cultivation compared to many other conventional ones in the region. Like the previous couple of years, the newly harvested vegetable along with other ones has appeared in the local markets abundantly at present making both the sellers and buyers happy.
As a whole, the vegetable has brought a diversification in the kitchen markets besides a new dimension in the local economy, experts’ sources said. “I’m heavily satisfied upon getting the seasonal vegetable regularly since the winter season began,” said Monwara Begum, a housewife of Sultanabad area in Rajshahi city. Currently, she buys broccoli at Taka 30 per piece, reports BSS. Azizul Islam, a vender of Shayampur area, has been selling the vegetable more or less every day for the last three to four weeks. Demand of the vegetable has increased to a greater extent, he added. Meanwhile, cultivation of broccoli has gradually been gaining popularity in the region including its vast Barind tract for the last six to seven years by dint of its lucrative market price and gradually mounting demand. He said broccoli is a winter vegetable with high nutritional content. It is full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
It looks like cauliflower but its color is green and not milky white like cauliflower. Soil condition and winter weather in the region are favorable for broccoli cultivation. Side by side with other conventional winter vegetables, the cash crop is seen appearing in the local markets everyday bringing diversity in the vegetable markets both wholesale and retail ones. The non-conventional winter vegetable has started turning into a conventional one.
Abul Kashem, a farmer of Parila village under Paba Upazila, said many farmers are cultivating the seasonal cash crop in the area as they are getting a better market price of their yield compared to many other crops. He said there is a bright prospect of broccoli farming commercially in the country’s northwest region. Additional Director of Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) Sirajul Islam said initiative has been taken to expand the farming of the cash crop among the farmers in general. Taking advantage of the situation, farmers are seen showing their interest in cultivating Broccoli for the last couple of years due to better output and market price. He said the crop was unfamiliar to the farmers and consumers of the rural areas.
He added the vegetable could easily be cultivated in the normal farming field as it is more tolerable to high-temperature than cauliflower and cabbage. Nutritive value of the crop was more than any other winter vegetables including cabbage and cauliflower. Dr Mazharul Islam, Principal Scientific Officer of Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute, said broccoli is gradually becoming popular among the urban people and the Chinese restaurants together with the grand hotels.
They are using broccoli for making soup and other delicious foods. The farming method was almost similar to the cabbage and cauliflower. At least 40,000 to 50,000 plants could be produced from per hectare in 65-70 days, he said.
Jahangir Hossain Khan, Coordinator of Integrated Water Resource Management Project, said cauliflower is a winter vegetable which has become popular and is cultivated in such a quantity that in peak season the price comes down to a level that frustrates the growers.
In a situation like this, DAE should furthermore transfer technology for broccoli cultivation to farmers and encourage them to allocate half the land used for cauliflower cultivation to grow broccoli. In this way, people of the region will be able to enjoy the taste and nutritional value of both cauliflower and broccoli and the farmers will also get a reasonable price for both.
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