Many people living in riverine char areas are meeting their nutritional demand alongside earning well through homestead vegetable farming without using pesticides in all five districts of Rangpur agriculture region.

Officials of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) said homestead vegetable farming without pesticides is helping char people in meeting their nutritional demand and playing a role in tackling global crises caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia-Ukraine War.

Deputy Director (Leave Reserved) of the DAE at Khamarbari in Dhaka Abu Sayem told BSS that pesticide-free homestead vegetable gardening has become popular among char people and bringing more profits to them across the region.

Alongside the government, a number of non-governmental development organizations under GO-NGO initiatives have paved the way for homestead vegetable gardening by raising plinths of many char families living in riverine char areas.

Before taking up vegetable farming as the means of their subsistence, char families were living in miseries alongside the Brahmaputra, Teesta and Dharla and other rivers even 14 years ago in the region.

“Char households are expanding homestead gardening and producing pesticide-free hygienic vegetables plentifully to ensure nutrition alongside improving their livelihoods and attaining self-reliance by selling the surplus produce,” Sayem added.

Chairman of Rangpur-based research organization North Bengal Institute of Development Studies Dr Syed Samsuzzaman said the raised plinths of their houses saved char families from floods also paving the opportunity for homestead vegetable gardening.

“Many char people are meeting their nutrition demand and earning well through homestead vegetable gardening along with other income generating activities with assistance of the government and other development organizations,” Samsuzzaman added.

Talking to BSS, a number of char people said they are mostly cultivating pumpkin, bean, bitter gourd, snake gourd, squash, cucumber, bottle gourd, brinjal, green chilli, onion, garlic, among other vegetables, on their homesteads.

Housewife Bijlee Begum of village Char Pran Nath in Kawnia upazila of Rangpur said she has changed fortune through farming pesticide-free brinjal adopting eco-friendly technologies on char lands.

Being inspired by the DAE, Bijlee with her husband Manjurul had started cultivating brinjal on 20 decimals of char lands on the Teesta riverbed four years ago.

“I apply vermin composts and use sex pheromone traps while farming brinjal adopting eco-friendly technologies without using chemical fertilisers or pesticides. I am getting excellent yield and lucrative profits to meet nutrition and earn well,” Bijlee said.

Monser Ali and Dhirendra Nath of Char Chawrabari village on the Dharla riverbed in Fulbari upazila of Kurigram said they are expecting to reap better profits by selling their cultivated pesticide-free brinjal on one bigha of land this season.

Housewife Rita Khatun of Kawniar Char village in Roumari upazila of Kurigram said she has cultivated vegetables on her homesteads to meet nutrition demand of her five family members and earn well to lead a better life despite the global crises.

Additional Director of the DAE for Rangpur region Agriculturist Mohammad Shah Alam said homestead vegetable gardening adopting eco-friendly technologies and without using pesticides is expanding every year in riverine areas of Rangpur region.

“Many char households have become self-reliant through homestead vegetable gardening and selling the extra produce after meeting their nutritional demand to improve livelihoods and nutritional status,” he added.

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