Poor and marginal farmers are very happy with bitter gourd cultivation due to its bumper yield and fair price in Natore district this season.
Some 600 hectares of land have come under this vegetable cultivation this season, according to the district Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) office.
During a recent visit, this correspondent found each kg of fresh bitter gourd is being sold at Tk 35 to 45 in the retail market and at Tk 25 to 30 in the wholesale market.
The wholesalers are also visiting the farmers to collect the vegetable in bulk to send it to Dhaka and elsewhere in the country, meeting its demand locally.
Farmer Aslam Hossain, 45, who lives in Boraigram upazila, said he cultivated bitter gourd on around 15 decimals of land this season, borrowing Tk 1500 from a local non-government organisation.
He said he already started harvesting it and earned more than Tk 1000. “I have already sold 40 kg of the vegetable for Tk 1600.”
The farmers have shown more interest to bring new highland under the vegetable with assistance of local agriculture offices, said Abul Hossain, 45, a beneficiary peasant under Lalpur upazila in the district.
Sub-assistance agriculture officer of DAE Abul Basar said bitter-gourd has grown well and is also selling at a satisfactory rate in the district.
“To make this a grand success for the farmers, we also provided all sort of necessary agri-inputs among them.”