Many farmers in the region including Godagari Upazila of the district have attained tremendous success in cultivation of flower commercially for the last couple of years as an alternative crop.
They cultivated gladiolus sticks on around 30 decimals of land in Kodomshohar, Bijoynagar, Kadipur and Amanatpur areas.
Under its Second Crop Diversification Project, the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) extended requisite training facilities to the farmers along with tubers to encourage flower farming.
Talking to BSS, farmer Abdul Kayum of Kadipur village said, "I got rid of poverty by farming Gladiolus, Rose and Rajanigondha." Narrating his flower farming and marketing process he said his success largely comes from gladiolus farming.
This year, he cultivated flower on one bigha of land by spending Taka 20,000 and his sale proceeds is expected to be more than Taka 1.5 lakh.
He added that he will cultivate other kinds of flowers side by side gladiolus on more lands in the coming years. Shafiqul Islam, another flower grower of Bijoynagar, earned profit of Taka 20,000 from five decimals of land.
Although it's a small scale, the effort has opened up a new dimension of crop diversification in the dried area and will obviously inspire more farmers to cultivate flowers. He said every conventional crop has risks but flower farming has no risk.
Deb Dulal Dhali, Deputy Director of DAE, said there is a big market for flowers in Rajshahi, Chapainawabgonj and other neighbouring districts. Traders procure flowers from Jessore and from abroad to meet up the demand.
He said there is a big market for flowers in the country with an increase in the demand for local and foreign flowers. "The market should be protected and sustainable growth can be achieved growing various kinds of flowers at suitable places across the region."
Gladiolus sticks of different colours like white, red, yellow, scarlet, pink, violet, rosy, lipstick and blue are grown in the same plot, flower growers said. The flower is harvested within 70 days and grows all the year round said the farmers.
Business leaders and Agriculturists have suggested boosting cultivation of indigenous flowers to reduce import dependence as the demand for flowers has witnessed a sharp rise in recent times in the region.
"Due to variation in climate, topography and vegetation, the region has a diversity of ornamental plants which need to be scientifically cultivated to promote export," said Abu Bakker Ali, former President of Rajshahi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He said various species of flowers grow in the region and measures should be taken to cultivate more so that flower can be turned into an export-oriented industry.
Dr Bidhan Chandra Das, a senior professor of Rajshahi University, said flowers are the most beautiful gifts of nature and people of all age loves flower so farmers should be encouraged to promote flower farming in the region. Farmers need tuber resource center here from where they can collect and purchase those in easy means.
Meanwhile, flower traders in the city demanded storage facilities for preservation of flowers which are procured from the countryside.
They said such facilities will benefit flower cultivators as well as provide avenues for introducing flower-based industries.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)