Bangladesh : Homestead gardening becoming popular (Google – The New Nation)

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http://nation.ittefaq.com/issues/2008/06/23/news0218.htm

Homestead gardening becoming popular in Barind area

BSS, Rajshahi

Gardening around homesteads in both summer and winter seasons in the Barind region is becoming increasingly popular with production of different fruits and vegetables. Marginal farmers and the poor people in the vast region are mostly engaged in this venture by making the best use of spaces around their homes over the last few years. Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) and Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) have been providing all-out cooperation with necessary training and required inputs to the farmers to grow fruits and vegetables for their own consumption and extra earning by selling those. DAE and BARI officials said that use of vacant spaces for producing fruits and vegetables has been seen as potential means for gradual development in the life of downtrodden in the region.

They said the On-Farm Research Division (OFRD) of BARI has been implementing various types of need-based programmes with a view to bringing the farmers under the programmes, through which they can produce traditional fruits and vegetables round the year. OFRD senior scientific officer Shafiqul Islam told BSS that the interested farmers, particularly the poor and marginal ones, are being given preference to use BARI’s Tested Pattern Technology in their gardening projects around homesteads. As part of the programs, OFRD has established crop museums at different areas in the region where high yielding varieties of 21 Rabi crops innovated by BARI remain putting on display during both the seasons.

Shafiqul Islam said that the museums have created a positive impact in the area, encouraging a large number of farmers to grow such fruits and vegetables as well as other crops by using the modern method. Besides arranging regular group discussions and field visits for the beneficiaries, BARI is providing required inputs and quality seeds to the growers, producing mainly papaya, banana, kulboroi, kamranga, dalim, bean, bottle gourd, tomato, radish, red amaranth, spinach, batishak, cabbage, garden pea, bush bean, brinjal, chili, onion and garlic.

Apart from this, the farmers are also planting different fruit- bearing trees like mango, litchi, guava, berry, seedless lemon, pummelo, pear, coconut and betel nut.

According to the farmers and BARI officials, the method of growing these fruits and vegetables has increased resource utilisation side by side with enhancing use of modern varieties of vegetable crops and quality seeds in the farming ground. As a result, they said, women of farmers’ families are increasingly getting involved in the respective productive ventures, proving their capabilities as good as the male counterparts. Use of cow dung and other organic fertilisers in producing these fruits and vegetables is the most praiseworthy aspect of the gardening around homesteads in the Barind area.

“This is how the fertility of soil is being maintained and protected for ensuring production of fruits and vegetables in the region,” said the OFRD official.

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.