Ruhul Amin Riton, an agricultural entrepreneur of Jibonnagar upazila in Chuadanga, has been successful in cultivating strawberry on fallow land commercially.
Strawberry has become a profitable crop in the country due to being an unconventional and high-value fruit. The nutrient-rich and juicy fruit has a huge demand in the country’s market.
Riton, who hails from Laxmipur village in Chuadanga’s Jibonnagar municipality area, said he cultivated strawberry commercially for the first time in November last year and took care of those regularly.
He planted 90,000 strawberry saplings on 40 bighas of land but 25,000 saplings died due to adverse weather and fungal diseases.
“In the first week of January 2023, flowers started to bloom. After a few days, the fruit started coming out. Strawberry can be collected from the end of January to the middle of April. Those are being sold at Tk 500-500 per kg in the market. Strawberries are sent to fruit shops at Kawran Bazar in Dhaka,” he said.
“It costs Tk 70,000-80,000 to cultivate strawberry on every bigha of land. So far, I have spent Tk 35 lakh. Ripe fruits have to be covered with plastic cups and regular care of the orchard is a must. Every day 250-350 kg of fruits are being plucked from the orchard. People are coming to the orchard everyday to see the strawberries,” said Riton.
“Although 25,000 saplings died, Riton was not disappointed. About 11,000 kg of fruit worth Tk 4 crore will be produced from 65,000 strawberry trees. An average of 60 workers work in the strawberry orchard everyday, “ he added.
Jasim Mandal, a local farmer, said, “I came to see the orchard after hearing about strawberry fruit being cultivated in Jibonnagar. I visited the orchard. I have a desire to plant strawberries on a small scale with the advice of Riton.”
“While cultivating strawberries, I had to hear various comments from many people in the beginning. It’s expensive farming. There will be profit as the yield is good. There is a huge demand in the country’s market. Import dependence will be reduced if the fruit is cultivated on large scale,” said Riton.
Bibhas Chandra Saha, deputy director of the Department of Agricultural Extension, said, “All kinds of assistance, including marketing support, are being given to Riton. We are working to spread strawberry cultivation in the country. Being a fruit rich in nutrients, there is a huge demand in the country’s market.”