Sheikh Foysal Ahmed, a mechanical engineer of Garfa village in Mollahat upazila under Bagerhat district has achieved success by cultivating and selling rock melon, a fruit quite popular in Bangladesh and overseas.
After earning a degree in mechanical engineering, Foysal worked at two private companies in Dhaka for ten years.
In 2021, he decided to leave his job and returned to his village — getting engaged in agriculture.
Foysal started with watermelon cultivation in 2021 but did not see any profit from it, rather he counted a loss of Tk10 lakh.
Later, he decided to switch to rock melon.
In January, this year, Foysal started rock melon cultivation by planting 3,000 seeds on 40 decimal of land commercially and after two and a half months, he earned Tk4.5 lakh by selling the juicy fruits in the local market.
Currently, he is cultivating rock melons on six bigha of land, and has made Tk15 lakh this season by selling those.
Seeing Foysal’s success, many farmers in the area have started growing rock melons.
Foysal now aims to export the juicy fruits.
During a recent visit to the village, this UNB correspondent saw Foysal busy at work, looking after his rock melon patch. The bright yellow colour of the fruit has become an attraction for locals.
He has named his business ‘Madhumoti Agro Farm’.
Foysal said, “I spent Tk7.5 lakh on rock melon cultivation and now I have 20,000 plants of rock melon under two projects. With the help of technology, I’m successful in producing this foreign fruit in this district as the soil of Bagerhat is fit for rock melon cultivation.”
He also expressed his keenness in expanding his farm.
From sprouting seed to plant, a rock melon plant needs 35-40 days to bloom flowers, and after 70 days a matured fruit can be harvested, he said.
A rock melon, weighing one to 2.5 kg is being sold at Tk90 to Tk230 per kg, he added.
SM Ayub Ali, a farmer in the village, said the market price of rock melon is higher than other fruits as it tastes sweet and delicious. “Like Foysal, I have also prepared five decimals of land for rock melon cultivation.”
Aminul Islam, another farmer of the village, was also keen on starting cultivating the fruit.
Azizur Rahman, deputy-director of Department of Agriculture Extension, Bagerhat, said rock melon needs sandy loam soil and the soil of some areas in the district is fit for the cultivation.
“Farmers are being encouraged to cultivate the foreign fruit on their land and they are also being provided technological assistance,” he said.
Currently, foreign fruits are being grown on 15,240 hectares of land in Bagerhat, and a total of 1,55,810 metric tonnes of fruits have been produced in the fiscal year-2021-2022 in the district, he added.