Enterprising farmers in parts of Bangladesh are changing the landscape with colourful Tulip flowers.
Thanks to their entrepreneurship tropical Bangladesh has for the first time joined the cold countries and region like the Netherlands, Switzerland, Turkey and Kashmir (India) in growing the spring-blooming flowers.
In Bangladesh Tulips are being grown in Sariyaljot and Darjipara villages of Tetulia upazila of Panchagarh border and also in Godkhali of Jashore, famous as flower capital, during the winter.
The Tulips grow best in full sun in the North and partial shade in the South. Tulip bulbs, pointed end up, need to be planted in well-drained soil with a pH between 6 and 7, according to experts.
And this climate and soil can be found in Bangladesh too. And so Tulips have mesmerized the people of northern parts of Bangladesh this year.
Last year, in Gazipur, a local flower farmer Md Delowar Hossain cultivated Tulips for the first time in his garden — ‘Moumita Flowers’. But now, the dazzling display of Tulips has now enveloped the landscape of Northern parts of the country.
How Tulips bloom in lands of Tetulia & Jashore
Farmers in Sariyaljot and Darjipara villages of Tentulia said Tulip’s buds come in just 18 days of nurture and start blooming in 20-21 days.
Agriculturists say this plant is a perennial and tuber species that belongs to the family Liliaceae. In the case of tulip flower cultivation, it is tolerant to 15 degrees Celsius during daytime and 10 degrees Celsius at night. The buds of this flower come within 18-20 days from the day of planting and last for 25-60 days.
A meeting with journalists was held on January 26 at Tetulia Mahananda Cottage on Eco-Social Development Organization’s (ESDO) value chain pilot project to determine the feasibility of expanding tulip flower cultivation in the northern part of the country.
ESDO Senior Assistant Program Coordinator (APC) and Tulip Flower Cultivation Project Coordinator Md Ainul Haque discussed various aspects of the project.
He said the ESDO, a non-governmental development partner organization in collaboration with the Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), under the Valuation Piloting Project to determine the feasibility of expanding tulip flower cultivation in the northern part of the country.
Around 40,000 bulbs brought from the Netherlands have been planted in three plots on 40 decimals of land of eight marginal farmers of Sharialjot and Darjipara villages of Tetulia union of Tetulia upazila.
Tulip flower bulbs (seeds) were officially planted on January 1 this year in the presence of ESDO Executive Director Dr Muhammad Shahid Uz Zaman, Director (Administration) Selima Akhtar and other officials of the Department of Agriculture.
“Besides the bulbs, we provided the farmers with free chemical fertilizers, organic fertilizers, husks, shade nets and fencing nets. Besides, it has been developed by cultivating flowers in the hands of farmers,” said Project Coordinator Md Ainul Haque.
Flower growers here said that they planted tulips here in winter although it is a spring flower abroad.
Twelve varieties of tulips of different species have been cultivated under this pilot project in Tetulia. Among them–Antarctica (White), Dutch Sunrise (Yellow), Purple Prince (Purple), Timeless (Red White Shade), Milksake (Light Pink), Barcelona (Dark Pink), Ad Rem (Orange), Lalibela (Red), the France (Red), Ripley (Orange), Denmark (Orange), Strong Gold (Yellow) and other species of tulips are in full bloom and new flowers are blooming in the gardens every day.
Meanwhile in Jashore’s Godkhali, Tulips have been planted experimentally in only five decimals of land. About a month after sowing the bulbs, Tulips started blooming.
Many did not even imagine that foreign flowers would be cultivated in this region.
Flower grower Ismail Hossain said the dazzling tulips of different colours have started blooming in his garden from the second week of January.
The costs & potentials of Tulip farming
Due to low temperature in winter in Panchagarh district, there is huge potential for cultivation of tulips.
Mukta Begum, Anwara Begum, Sumi Akter, Ayesha Begum, Hosneara Begum, Monowara Begum, Morsheda Begum and Sajeda Begum, all female members of ESDO and farmers of Sharialjot and Darjipara villages of Tentulia, have proved that possibility.
They said the total cost of bulbs or seedlings, shed nets, fencing nets, chemical fertilizers, organic fertilizers, pesticides and labor costs is around Tk 30 to 32 lakh. The bulbs or seeds from the Netherlands were bought at Tk 61.80 per flower for the cultivation, said ESDO Senior Assistant Program Coordinator.
If 40,000 tulip flowers can be sold at the rate of Tk 100, the farmers will earn Tk 8 lakh in just two months from 40 decimals of land.
At other times of the year, locals and exotic flowers can be cultivated in these lands. They have also created a small amusement park in the flower garden and introduced entrance fees for tourists and flower lovers. In this way, they can earn extra money without selling flowers, said the female flower growers.
Success in planting and growing tulips in Panchagarh as the Himalayan daughter or winter-prone region has raised the possibility of exporting tulips to meet the local demand in the future. They said they will cultivate tulips on about five decimals of land next year if they make a financial profit by selling flowers.
They also said that in the beginning they had unknown fears and anxieties but they succeeded in cultivating flowers by using their labour and talent on the advice of ESDO and Agriculture Department.
Tulip farming opens new opportunity for farmers in Tetulia, Jashore
According to the farmers, the main obstacle in the cultivation of tulips is that the bulbs or seeds of these flowers are not available in Bangladesh.
It costs a lot of money to bring these flower bulbs from abroad. “If we can import duty-free bulbs, the cultivation of this flower will increase. The farmers demanded easy supply of tulip bulbs at low prices, easy loans for floriculture and modern training,” said the farmers.
ESDO Executive Director Dr Muhammad Shahid Uz Zaman said, “We have taken several initiatives to market tulips. In the meantime, traders are being brought to the project area and contacted to buy flowers.”
“We believe that this will greatly increase the economic income and potential of marginal and small farmers in the days to come.”
In the same way, the tourism industry will further expand the existing natural beauty of Tetulia including Kanchenjunga and will be able to play a major role in socio-economic development of the region, he added.
Dr Akand Md Rafiqul Islam, senior general manager (Activities) of Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), said PKSF have taken initiative to expand this flower cultivation not only in Tentulia but in the other districts in future.
However, the challenge is to bring this tulip bulb from abroad. “We have also taken initiative to preserve these bulbs by setting up exclusive cold storage from the tulips that are currently cultivated,” the official added.
On the other hand, Kushtia and Jahsore Region Agricultural Development Project director of Department of Agricultural Extension Ruhul Kabir said, “We have started experimental tulip cultivation in Gadkhali under Kushtia and Jashore region Agriculture Development Project and we have achieved the expected success in the first stage.”
Source: United News of Bangladesh