FARIDPUR: Khandaker Khalid Bin Morshed, a young entrepreneur, has achieved outstanding success in commercial cultivation of drumstick (scientific name is moringa oleifera) in Faridpur.
People from far flung areas visit his house almost every day to have a firsthand experience of Morshed's success.
A vegetable filled with medicinal and nutritional values, drumstick is usually harvested in the Bengali month of Chaitra. Morshed had first initiated growing drumsticks in a garden close to her homestead and beside a pond just as a hobby.
Recently, he has succeeded in commercial farming of the vegetable on fallow land in suburban Hatgobindapur area. He is delighted to be able to market the seeds within six months of sowing.
A number of youths, who did not have job even in the recent past, are now employed in his garden.
Drumstick is a vegetable having immense potential, says an official of the local Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) office. All kinds of cooperation are being given to the farmers in cultivating it, he added.
Researchers also say that drumstick leaves are a nutritiously super food. Everyone regards it as a favourite vegetable due to its nutritional and medicinal values.
Though there is not seen commercial cultivation of the vegetable anywhere else in Bangladesh, for the first time in Faridpur, its commercial farming has been developed in a planned way.
Drumstick, which has many health benefits, plays a role in the treatment of rheumatism.
In addition, juice of its leaves prevents heart disease, typhoid, paralysis, liver, skin and eye diseases and also increases blood flow.
Khandaker Khalid Bin Morshed is a resident of Tepakhola Moholla of Faridpur town.
Inspired by watching drumstick cultivation on YouTube, he ventured into its farming.
After collecting seeds from Tamil Nadu of India, he started cultivating drumstick on 71 decimals of fallow land. He prepared the land and sowed 465 seeds.
Each plant blooms within six months of sowing with little care using completely organic fertiliser.
At present, there are stalks and flowers hanging in every tree of the garden. Morshed is selling the item in market regularly for the last two months. He is happy that there is a huge demand for drumstick in the market.
Morshed said, "I planted drumstick seeds from Tamil Nadu, India on my fallow land with the intention of doing something new. I got success within six months of sowing the seeds. Many people are coming to see my garden. Now I am selling per kg drumstick at Tk50 to 60 in the wholesale market. In the retail market, one kg drumstick is sold at Tk 100 to 120."
It is possible to produce 20 to 30 tonnes of drumstick each year from 100 decimals of land.
"Labourers regularly work in my garden. Maintenance of garden and labour wages cost me Tk12,000 every month. I had success in the first year. However, I have not yet been able to raise the full amount of garden expenses. I expect better yields in the years ahead," added Morshed.
Labourer Alam said, "Drumstick gardening is a completely new concept in our area. I am working in the garden. With the money I get from here, I am fine with my family. Hopefully, we will be able to build such a garden in the future."
Ashutosh Kumar Biswas, additional deputy director of the Department of Agriculture Extension, Faridpur, said, "Drumstick is a magic crop. It contains all kinds of minerals. Drumstick leaves, flowers, fruits, bark and roots can be used in various ways. Morshed's is the first commercial garden in Faridpur."