After last year's catastrophic flood, farmers in vast chars (sandy land mass in a river) of Padma in Rajbari are now hoping to make up for the loss by growing tomato this year.
Their hopes are high this winter as they are seeing a bumper production of the red fruit in the region.
According to data from Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), tomato is being cultivated on a larger area, around 835 hectares, of land this year in five upazilas of Rajbari that is mostly surrounded by the river Padma. The fruit was cultivated on 825 hectares last year.
Of the 835 hectares, 375 hectares are in Rajbari sadar upazila, 300 in Goalando, 85 in Pangsha, 38 in Kalukhali and 37 hectares in Baliakandi upazila.
Farmers said this year they harvested 600 maunds of tomato from each hectare of land.
While visiting some of the remotest chars in Barat and Chandani unions, this correspondent witnessed farmers reaping a massive harvest of tomato in the area.
Farmer Habibur Rahman Dablu, from Char Dukhi village in Barat union of Rajbari Sadar upazila, harvested 1,200 maunds of tomato from two hectares of land. “I already made a good profit,” he said with excitement.
Other farmers in the same area said they too made a good profit growing tomato this year.
The DAE officials said soil in the area is suitable for growing different winter vegetables as it contains a type of active alluvial silt.
“Although the flood last year ravaged our dreams, the alluvial silt it brought eventually turned out to be a blessing for us,” said Abdur Rashid, a farmer in Goalondo upazila.
Aside from the natural blessing, use of modern technology -- including pheromone trap for insects -- and refraining from using harmful pesticides coupled with various on-field training campaigns provided by DAE helped in reaping the higher yield of tomato this year, the DAE officials said.