The cultivation of Strawberry, a succulent fruit popular in different parts of the globe, has been gaining popularity in Rajshahi.
Farmers in the region are extending the farming of the fruit because of its economic prospects, said farmer Abul Kalam of Darusha village.
Prof Dr AKM Rafiul Islam of Department of Botany of Rajshahi University said strawberry cultivation is as easy as growing potato or eggplant.
Saplings can be planted in rows during the period between November and December every year and the plants start flowering within one month of plantation and fruits can be collected till March.
"Each plant bears around 250 to 300 grams of fruit and some 6,000 plants can be grown on one bigha of land," Dr Islam said.
A large number of people, mostly unemployed youths, have become self reliant by farming strawberries as the cultivation procedure is easier and more profitable than other crops, according to a BSS report.
Prof Dr Manzur Hossain, a pioneer in the country's strawberry research, variety innovation and growers' level farming expansion, said Bangladeshi strawberry variety has been adjudged as the world's best strawberry.
"We have innovated three varieties of strawberry through applying tissue culture method," he said.
He has been multiplying the variety on his own horticulture farm for the last couple of years.
The new variety of strawberry can be harvested within two and a half months of its plantation and a farmer can earn around Taka 1.5 lakh by farming it on one bigha of land spending only Taka 30,000.
In 2003, three varieties yielded encouraging results and were found suitable in local climate.
Strawberry farming is already in motion in many districts under the region.
With the average price of a kilogram of the fruit standing at Taka 700, the commercially viable fruit presents great export potentials and ushers in economic prospects for those who wish to get high and fast returns from limited land resources.
ATM Rafiqul Islam, Deputy Manager (Agriculture) of Barind Multipurpose Development Authority, said there has been a bright prospect of farming strawberry everywhere in the country excepting the coastal districts.
The country can earn huge foreign currencies from strawberry export if its commercial farming starts at national level, he said.
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