Pumpkin cultivation change fortunes of char people

Pumpkin cultivation has brought fortune to over 15,000 extremely poor families, mostly erosion victims, living in remote sandy-barren charlands in greater Rangpur in recent years, official and NGO sources said.These char people, mostly landless and women, are now leading better life through pumpkin (sweet gourd) cultivation under assistances of different NGOs in the river basins of Rangpur, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Nilphamari and Gaibandha districts.
Harvest of the cash crop has just ended now in Gangachara, Kawnia, Pirgachha, Mithapukur, Aditmari, Lalmonirhat Sadar, Kaliganj, Roumari, Rajibpur, Nageswari, Kurigram Sadar, Bhurungamari, Ulipur, Chilmari, Jaldhaka, Dimla, Domar, Fulchhari, Shaghata, Sundarganj and Gaibandha Sadar upazilas in greater Rangpur.
The NGOs have been extending assistances, creating marketing facilities and providing seeds, compost fertilisers to these char
people for the purpose in winning abject poverty to ensure food security and livelihoods through adapting with climate change impacts.
Talking to BSS, Agriculture and Environment Coordinator of RDRS Bangladesh Mamunur Rashid today said the NGO extended assistances to 2,400 extremely poor families in farming pumpkin this year and just completed its harvest.
“All these families have just completed harvest and got huge profits to win over poverty in Gangachara and Kawnia upazilas of Rangpur, Sadar and Nageswari upazilas of Kurigram, Sadar and Aditmari upazilas of Lalmonirhat,” he added.
Talking to BSS, erosion victim Chan Mina, 62, of Dhushmara Char in Kawnia upazila said he sowed 200 pumpkin plants on charlands, already sold 1,650 pumpkins at Taka 500,000 to earn net profit of Taka 60,000 after selling all his produce.
Mostafizar Rahman, 46, and widow Amena Begum, 43, of village Char Nazirdaho said they cultivated pumpkin on 180 and 75 decimals
charlands respectively and already sold their products at Taka 80,000 and 43,000 respectively.
Extremely poor and landless Aminul Islam, 40, Ambia Khatun, 26, Jyotsna Begum, 33, Bibijan, 25, and many others of village Dhushmara Char narrated their similar success stories of attaining economic self-reliance through driving away poverty.
Bimal Chandra, 50, Shuja Mian, 40, and Anicha Begum, 24, of Char Minarpara village under Gangachara upazila said each of them earned net profit of Taka 30,000 on an average this time through cultivating pumpkin.
Besides, 200 extremely poor and landless families of Char village Nizpara and Taluksahabaz under Kawnia upazila earned good profits
through farming pumpkin on the charlands to change their fortunes to lead happier life with their family members.
Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture Extension Feroz Ahmed said pumpkin cultivation has become popular to assist char people in achieving success to adapt with adverse climate, improve livelihoods and ensure food security.
(BSS, Rangpur)

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