A Bagerhat local has turned to shamam fruit (cantaloupe), leaving behind his salaried job of Tk45,000, and his risk dividends are already paying off.
After getting a diploma in mechanical engineering from Khulna Polytechnic Institute, Faisal Ahmed started working for a private organization in 2010. But in 2020, he quit his job and started growing shamam fruit in his village in Bagerhat.
Now he earns around Tk15 lakh a year.
At present, he has 10,000 shamam plants on 1.5 acres of land in Mollahat Upazila of the district. One acre of land can yield around 25 tonnes of the fruit and he harvests shamam worth Tk4.5 lakh every two and a half months.
“I thought of shamam production given its high demand in Bangladesh and I imported the seeds of the fruit from Saudi Arabia. My first yield was promising, which motivated me to cultivate the fruit on more land. Each fruit weighs 2-3 kilograms on average and wholesale, 1kg shamam goes for Tk100-200,” said Faisal.
Faisal said the fruit can be grown throughout the year as long as the weather is not extremely cold. After planting, it takes 75 days to harvest the fruits. Including the cost of fertilizers, seeds, and bamboo platforms, the average cost of cultivation per acre of land is Tk10,000-Tk20,000.
Faisal employed 12 laborers to assist him and his success in shamam production has inspired other farmers in the village to cultivate the fruit, Tipu Sultan added.
Currently, wholesalers from Gopalganj, Dhaka, and a few other districts buy the fruit from him. As demand for the fruit is likely to increase, he expects buyers from other districts in the future.
Mollahat Upazila agriculture officer Animesh Bala said shamam has sugar, beta-carotene, vitamin-C, potassium, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and other nutritional content, and Bangladeshi farmers have recently shown interest in producing this fruit.
“Faisal is the first to cultivate shamam commercially in Bagerhat. We provide all types of support to him and anyone interested in cultivating this fruit can come to us for guidance and assistance,” he added.
Bangladesh to Establish Int. Laboratory for Agricultural Certification
Agriculture Secretary Wahida Akter announced plans to establish an international laboratory in Bangladesh to issue accredited certificates, supporting the roadmap for exporting agricultural products. The country is also developing a world-class packaging system and training around 200,000 farmers to produce commodities meeting global demands.
Expressing optimism, Akter anticipates Bangladesh’s capacity to export agricultural products to all countries within the next two years. She addressed these initiatives at a workshop titled “Export of Agro Products: Challenges and Way Forward” at the Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council.
While acknowledging global praise for Bangladesh’s agricultural products, Akter stressed the need to enhance exports and reduce production costs. The Ministry of Agriculture has launched a dedicated export desk to expand the export of agricultural products.
Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce Tapan Kanti Ghosh, Fisheries and Livestock Secretary Dr Nahid Rashid, and other officials discussed the challenges and opportunities for agricultural exports. Ghosh emphasized the importance of private sector investment in agri-processed industries and urged entrepreneurs to contribute to the agricultural sector’s growth.
In summary, Bangladesh is proactively taking steps to strengthen its position in the global agricultural market by focusing on certification, packaging, and training, with a vision to boost exports in the coming years.
Govt Approves Procurement of 90,000 Metric Tons of Fertilizer, 1.10cr Liters of Soybean Oil
During the 39th meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase (CCGP), the government approved several crucial proposals. This includes the procurement of 90,000 metric tons of fertilizer and 1.10 crore liters of soybean oil, aiming to meet the rising demand in the country.
Two separate proposals were also given the green light for fixing the power tariff for two power plants. The state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) will be responsible for procuring soybean oil from Green Nation Builders & Developers in India. Cabinet Division additional secretary, Sayeed Mahbub Khan, shared details on the approved power tariffs. This includes the 11 MW waste-based power plant in Brahmanbaria and the 100MW AC solar-based power plant in Sonagazi.
Furthermore, the Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) received approval for the procurement of urea fertilizer. The BCIC will acquire consignments from Muntajat in Qatar, KAFCO in Bangladesh, and SABIC Agri Nutrients Company in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, the CCGP meeting greenlit a road project involving the upgrading of the Aricha-Gheor-Doulatpur-Nagarpur-Tangail regional highway.
In a separate meeting, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs convened and approved the maintenance of the import agreement for non-urea fertilizer from six countries. These include Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Tunisia, Canada, Russia, and Belarus. The government will also initiate the procurement of non-urea fertilizer (TSP, DAP, MoP) from three more countries: China, Malaysia, and Jordan.
Vegetable Prices in Dhaka Markets Witness Significant Decline
The prices of most vegetables in various markets in the city are on a declining trend due to abundant supplies of early winter vegetables in the country over the past two weeks.
Prices of various vegetables, including beans, eggplants, radishes, cucurbits, yard-long beans, cauliflower, cabbage, papaya, okra, bitter gourd, bottle gourd, sweet gourd, and green chili, have seen a decrease of Tk 20-30 compared to their prices two weeks ago.
“Two weeks ago, vegetable prices reached a maximum of Tk 80-120 per kilogram in the city markets, but they have been significantly declining since then,” said Mohammad Shahadat Hossain, a vegetable retailer at Hazrat Shah Ali kitchen market, Mirpur-1.
“Vegetables like beans, eggplants, yard-long beans, and bitter gourds are now being sold at Tk 60-80 per kilogram, whereas they were Tk 80-120 two weeks ago,” said Md. Jewel, a retailer at Karwan Bazar, a hub for vegetables.
Retailer Taiyab expressed hope that vegetable prices would continue to decrease over the next two weeks, especially after a 100% arrival of vegetables in the city’s kitchen markets.
The prices of bundles of green leafy vegetables, including spinach, water spinach, and Malabar spinach, have also seen a 50% decrease compared to their previous prices.
However, the prices of newly-harvested potatoes, tomatoes, and carrots remain relatively high, ranging from Tk 120-140 per kilogram.
One resident, Mohammad Khalil, attributed the decline in vegetable prices to the sufficient supply of winter vegetables.
While prices are decreasing, advocate Mahmudul Hasan from Judge Court, Dhaka, suggested that the government should properly monitor prices, as they can vary from market to market.
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