A tribute to the land's unsung heroes

Neil Ray | Sunday, 30 January 2022

To renowned economists and development practitioners the world over, Bangladesh's amazing progress is a mystery or at best intriguing. That the answer lies in the unsung enterprising spirit of the ordinary people of the country escapes their notice. There are several instances where these nondescript people work wonder by dint of their inventiveness and dedication to the cause. Suffice it to cite a few in the agriculture sector.

That dragon fruit and straw berry have been commercially cultivated is old news. But whoever could imagine that exotic flower like tulip would be cultivated here successfully not only to meet the local demand but also with the objective of export? The cultivation of this flower in a village under Tentulia of Rangpur's Panchagarh has so far shown tremendous prospect.

In this case, institutional initiative and support have been there behind making tulip cultivation a success. But before it a couple in Gazipur has to their credit the achievement of growing tulip flowers of an array of colours and shades in 2020. The duo repeated their feat ---but this time on a larger scale---in 2021. Most likely, they have cultivated the flower this year as well. A handful of other farmers reportedly have undertaken this adventurous task on their own, considering the demand for this high-value flower.

Where things click is particularly remarkable. Either an individual farmer demonstrates a strong will to do experiment with a new crop or fruit or the department of agriculture takes the initiatives to persuade farmers to undertake a pilot project. There is always a meeting point between the two sides. Thus the department is ever ready to encourage, help with advice and extend patronage.

Thus tea cultivation in plain lands of the north's Karotoa valley extending from Lalmonirhat to Panchagarh has been made possible. Thakurgaon, Dinajpur and Nilphamary along with those two districts form the valley and have proved most hospitable for tea cultivation. Even black tea highly exorbitant on the international market is now being produced there. With every passing year tea production in the country's north is going up.

But there are also success stories in growing oranges in several areas of the north's plane unlike in the hilly region of the east. Some people have developed orange orchards on their own initiatives. Their trees are a treat to the eyes with profuse fruition of the tangy fruit. But one young and educated farmer has achieved an enviable feat in this respect: he has been successful in growing the world's best variety called the Darjeeling orange.

Another farmer was reported to have successfully grown Saudi dates. A fruit that grows well in deserts, has found an unlikely host in Bangladesh. There are others who have been trying their hands in producing medicinal plants with high demand abroad.

So what all these stories tell succinctly is that ordinary people here are inventive and highly enterprising. They are not afraid of experimenting with things unconventional and non-traditional. The rewards are also there for those who venture out on an uncharted course. These people apply their heads and hearts along with their physical labour to make something especial. They are passionate about their work and undertakings. They earn enough by the sweat of their brow unlike the more educated and privileged people, quite a few among whom make news for fraud and deception almost regularly.

So these are the sons and daughters who have advanced the country's journey towards a desirable destination. Hats off to these unsung heroes whose indomitable enterprising energy in fact makes miracle happen. Once again salute to these honest, hardworking and dedicated souls.


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