Behind the Scene
Farzana Sharmin Joya
“My idea of cultivating kulborois brought me extraordinary good fortune”, said Abdus Salam Ranju. This season he expects to earn Tk. 5 lakhs, with a profit of Tk. 3.5 lakhs.
Ranju, 40, is the son of Omar Ali of Protab village in Ullapara upazilla of Sirajganj. He graduated in 1984 and started running a pharmacy in the Ullapara upazilla headquarters in 1988. His business had been going quite smoothly. He was happy and supporting his family which included his two children.
Ranju had a stroke of bad luck when miscreants attacked his shop and looted cash as well as valuables back in 2000. This put a lot of emotional strain on him and made things hard for him financially. Finding no other option, Abdus Salam Ranju went from door to door looking for help, but to no avail. In the meantime, he came into contact with an upazilla Agriculture Officer who suggested that he cultivate fruit-bearing trees on his land. Ranju took the advice and planted some olive trees on his own land, to great success.
Inspired by his success in olive cultivation, he collected seven plants of high quality kul from the Bangladesh Agriculture University (BAU) at Mymensingh. He also obtained some others plants from several tree fairs in 2004. Ranju says he planted around 900 plants of Apple, Bau, Mumbai and Taiwan varieties of kulboroi in his 5 bigha land in 2006.
This season, he has gotten yields of all varieties. Ranju said that he had sold about Tk. 3 lakh of his produce this season. He expects to earn another Tk. 2 lakhs in a very short time. He has also just invested Tk. 1.5 lakhs in kulboroi cultivation.
At present, a kilogram of kulboroi has a market price of Tk 120, Ranju said. With the profit from his business, he has now started investing in poultry at this home and fishing cultivation in his pond. He has also set up a nursery in the front of his house. He is also interested in cultivating another 22 bighas of land for kulborois. He needs more funds for it though. If he gets any financial assistance from the government or any donor agency, he will go ahead with that plan, he said.
Many visitors from different districts like Mymensingh, Rajshahi, Natore, Bogra, Pabna, Kushtia, Kurigram, Rangpur, Dinajpur and Panchagarh have visited and praised Ranju's garden. Some have expressed an interest in setting up their own garden. Meanwhile, some farmers have started collecting plants from Ranju and others and have started planting these in their own lands.
At least seven persons including four women were appointed work on his fields in addition to Ranju himself and his family.
“Abdus Salam Ranju has gotten rid of our unemployment and poverty by giving us a job”, said some young workers who were hard at work.
Deputy Director of Sirajganj district Agriculture Extension Department Khandaker Hasibur Rahman said, “Abdus Salam Ranju has set up an example for all of us. His efforts are a model for other farmers.”
(R) thedailystar.net 2007