Vol. 4 Num 317 Tue. April 20, 2004  

Lemon of bnight future
Ibrahim earns Tk 30,000-35,000 a month from small investment

Ibrahim Sarker had planted some lemon saplings in the courtyard out of curiosity and fun. But he could not imagine some day this would earn him fame, fortune and a national award.

A footballer in his youth, Ibrahim now earns a net profit of Tk 30,000 to 35,000 a month from his lemon garden at Raghurampur village in the Sadar upazila. He employs seven labourers to nurse his six-acre garden and gives them Tk 22,000 salary a month. He oversees their work. Seventy-four year-old Ibrahim is now well known in the area.

He earned the National Award for Agriculture in1998.

An incident in 1994 changed his life. He had gone to Dhaka to see his daughter. He carried some lemons in his bag, grown without care in the courtyard. On way, in the city, he saw lemon selling at very high price. To his surprise, he sold two for Tk 16.

Back home, he cleared the entire courtyard of scrubs and weeds and planted 36 more lemon saplings.

"Being influenced by Block Supervisor Abdul Aziz of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), I gave more time and labour to nurse the plants. The courtyard turned into a lemon garden in 1996," said Ibrahim.

DAE officials came to visit his garden. They encouraged and assured him of assistance. In the same year he expanded the garden to three acres in the adjoining high lands.

Next year, Ibrahim earned Tk 50,000. This was beyond his imagination. Price was higher in that year.

He turned into a full time lemon farmer.

In 1998, Ibrahim Sarker got the National Award for Agriculture.

"It is a memorable event in my life. My name was printed in newspapers as a model farmer", an all smiles Ibrahim told this correspondent during a recent visit to his garden.

"I am very proud to get the recognition", he said.

Lemon cultivation needs small investment but returns are big, he said.

Some 1400 lemon plants can be grown in one acres of land. Each plant gives 1000 to 1200 lemons every season.

Ibrahim uses cow dung, TSP, potash and urea in the garden.

Ibrahim said local variety of lemon named elachi is in good demand for its scent and taste.

He says he faces problems in transporting the lemon to market from the remote area.

The profit would be more if he could transport his lemon to markets in Dhaka, he said.

Ibrahim Sarker tends to his lemon garden last week. PHOTO: STAR