FARIDPUR, Mar 11: Onion seeds cultivation is increasing across the district for its high market demand.
The seeds are known to farmers as 'black gold'. Agriculture officials said Faridpur is becoming a major source of onion seeds in the country. Currently, about 75 per cent of the total onion seeds, procured through various government departments, are from Faridpur district.
Onion seeds worth over Tk 1.0 billion will be produced in the district this time
Onion seeds are grown mainly in Sadar, Bhanga, Nagarkanda, Sadarpur and Alfadanga among the nine upazilas of Faridpur, according to Faridpur DAE sources.
Onion has been planted in these five upazilas for the production of seeds on an area of 1830 hectares of land this season. Onion seeds of Faridpuri, Tahirpuri, Bari-1 and Red Arrow King varieties are mainly produced in the district.
With the increase in cultivation, onion-seed yield and cultivators have increased in the district.
About 450kgs of onion seeds were produced per hectare in the district a decade ago. At present it has increased to 650 kg.
At present, more than 5,000 farmers in the district are directly involved in the production of onion seeds. A decade ago there were about 3,000 farmers producing onion seeds in the district. This time, about 1,190 tonnes of onion seeds are expected to be produced from the five upazilas.
A good number of farmers said soil and weather in Faridpur are suitable for the production of good onion seeds.
Many farmers who have been affected by cultivating various crops at different times have had success by producing onion seeds. Following them, other farmers are also leaning towards producing these seeds.
Bakhtar Hossain Khan of Ambikapur village under Faridpur Sadar upazila started onion seed cultivation on 60 decimals of land around 15 years ago.
This season, he planted onion to produce seeds on 20 acres of land. He has already been identified as the largest onion seed producer in the district. He has also opened an organisation called 'Khan Seed Store' for the sale of quality onion seeds. It provides onion seeds in various districts of the country including Pabna, Manikganj, Kushtia, Jhenidah, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Bogra and Mymensingh.
Baktar Hossain Khan said, "First I brought seeds from other districts and planted onions. But the production was not good. So I started producing seeds by myself. Due to its good yield, I have concentrated on seed production."
He said this season weather was good. About 300 kgs of onion seed can be found per acre. In all, about seven and a half tonnes of onion seeds will be produced. He is expecting to earn Tk 7.5 million from the sale of the produce.
He also said the cost of cultivating onions for seed production was Tk 3.2 million.
Three farmers - Sohrab Mondal, Jamal Talukder and Intez Mondal - said they started producing onion seeds following Baktar Hossain Khan.