Abdur Razzak From Manikganj
Lemon farming has changed the economic scenario of Ghior Upazila of Manikganj. More than two thousand people from around 700 families of Baliakhora and Sodaghata villages of Upazila are dependent on lemon cultivation. The farmers of this region cultivate colombo, elanchi and kagoji variety of lemon. Elanchi variety lemon is good in taste but due to low yield, the farmers are cultivating more colombo-lemons. Anyone outside of the village will be surprised. Like courtyard wherever there is empty space, lime trees have been planted there.
Several varieties of lemons produced by the farmers of this region have been extending in the world market beyond the country through Dhaka. Primarily lemon is cultivated to meet the needs of their families. Lemon cultivation is gradually increased due to low production and more profitable. Then it starts cultivation on a commercial basis. The two rural villages, which started cultivating 15/16 years ago, now have a genuine economic revolution. At present, about 7 hundred families are dependent on lemon cultivation in these two villages.
The farmers of this region are cultivating colombo, elanchi and kagoji lemon. The farmer’s said; usually lemon seedlings are planted in the month of September. Then fertilizer and water were irrigated. Two years after planting, the lemon begins to grow. To make lemon in every bigha (33 decimal), it costs about BDT one lakh. In this, lemon is sold at BDT 50,000 per year in a bigha of land. Once the lemon tree is planted, on average, lemon is available for around 10/12 years. As it turns out, it takes two to two years to withdraw the cost of production. Profit is available from the 3rd year.
Usually, the lemon season is in the month of Falgun, Chaitra, and Boishakh, but it is available for the whole year. These lemons are sold in the local market and after mitigating the demand of the local market lemons are sold in Dhaka’s Karwanbazar market. Lemon is sold as a bet (80 pieces one bet). Recently the Colombo lemon of Manikganj is being exported to some countries of the world.
After picking the lemon from the garden, the selection is divided into four categories: big, medium, small and kate. In lemon season, every bet lemon is sold BDT 400 to BDT 500 in Dhaka, but local marketers are now selling around 200 to 250 taka in the market. Baliyakhora Union Parishad Chairman and successful lemon Farmer Awal Khan said, “About 10 years ago in Sodaghata village, I made a lemon garden on 12 bighas of land. The first year of planting was spent 11/12 lac taka. Then it costed Taka 15,000 per bigha for garden maintenance.” Now he has sold 5 lakhs of lemon, he said. He said that unemployed youths are lucky to get long-term benefits in lemon cultivation in less time and less labour.
Lemon farmer Majibur Rahman of Baliakhora village cultivated lemon for 16-17 years. It costed him about one lakh taka to cultivate a lemon in a bigha land. And in that year he sold lemon 50 thousand taka. Today he can sell lemon for 10-12 years from one tree. Every year, 14-15 thousand taka is spent in the garden maintenance he said. The farmers said, “Two years after planting the seedlings begin to grow lemon.” The cost goes up in the first two years. Faruk Khan, exporters of different vegetable variety products of Dhaka said, ” about 15 tonnes of lemon has been exported in different countries of Saudi Arabia, Canada and European Union in the current season.” Most of the lemons he collected from Ghior in Manikganj.
Ashraf Uj Jaman, an agriculture officer of Ghior Upazila, said that, the farmers of Baliakhora and Sodhagata villages of Ghore are cultivating lemons and being economically dependent. The lemon of this region is famous throughout the country. Now Lemon is taking place in the food list of foreigners. The main source of the income of the farmers of these two villages is Lemon cultivation. He said that agricultural department is extending all kinds of cooperation to the lemon farmers. However, if farmers get loans on the basis of government help and advice and simple terms, only the farmers of Ghior upazila will be economically dependent on the cultivation of lemon cultivation.
translated by Bahauddin Bahar