Farming of broccoli, a non-conventional winter vegetable, has been gaining popularity in Rajshahi district by dint of its lucrative market price and gradually growing demands.
Paulina Marmu, a farmer of Jamtara village under Godagari Upazila, said many farmers are cultivating the seasonal cash crop in the area as they are enjoying a fair market price than many other crops.
Farmers have been showing their interests in cultivating broccoli for the last couple of years due to better output and good market price of the crop, said Dr Shakhawat Hossain, Senior Scientific Officer of Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute.
He said there is a bright prospect of broccoli farming commercially in the country's northwest region, according to a BSS report.
The prolonged cold weather being experienced in the region for the last couple of years is very much suitable for cultivation of broccoli - locally known as green cauliflower, Dr Hossain added.
Almost similar to the cauliflower, broccoli's green leave is enriched with protein and vitamin C, and can be consumed directly. The price of broccoli in the markets, however, is three to four times more than the cauliflower.
Broccoli is gradually becoming popular among the urban people and the Chinese restaurants together, with the grand hotels are using broccoli for making soup and other delicious foods creating demand for the vegetable.
Dev Dulal Dhali, Deputy Director of Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), told BSS that the crop was once unfamiliar to the farmers and consumers of the rural areas.
He said various agricultural extension and research organisations have taken initiatives to make farming of the crop popular among the growers level. DAE has also grown the crop in projection plots aimed at encouraging the farmers to boost its production commercially.
He added the vegetable could easily be cultivated in the normal farming field as it is more tolerable to high-temperature than cauliflower and cabbage. Nutritive value of the crop was more than any other winter vegetable including cabbage and cauliflower.
ATM Rafiqul Islam, Project Director (Agriculture) of Barind Multipurpose Development Authority, said importance should be given to encourage the farmers through providing them with necessary financial support and inputs.
The farming method was almost similar to the cabbage and cauliflower. At least 40,000 to 50,000 plants could be produced from per hectare in 65-70 days, he said.