Sharif Uddin’s success with strawberry cultivation
Md. Sharif Uddin is an inhabitant of Chak Rajapur village under Manda upazila of Naogaon district. His father’s name is Md. Ataur Rahman. In his family he has old parents and a younger sister. Ataur Rahman has only 66 decimals of cultivable land where paddy is cultivated only once a year and that was the only earning source of the family. That could meet the basic needs of the family but it was really insufficient to meet up other needs of the family. For meeting the other expenses he had to work time to time as a day labor. His father is unable to work regularly due to old age. In the situation Sharif Uddin was bound to take responsibility of the family while studying in class ten and that was the end of his academic education. Sharif started working on daily basis in an orchard (kool garden) in addition to paddy cultivation in his father’s land. He gathered some experience on the modalities of income from kool gardening and on that basis he was encouraged to get involved in it but financial crisis became an obstacle to his idea. In 2008, VERC organized a male group in Chak Rajapur village to support agricultural activities with loan support along with offering IGA related training. After being acquainted with VERC activities, Sharif Uddin admitted himself as a member of VERC group. After 3 weeks of membership he received Tk. 6,000 as loan for kool gardening and in the first year he made a net income of Tk. 4,000. By then he came to know that strawberry is being cultivated in Bangladesh and it is more profitable compared to others.
When he was interested, VERC’s agriculture officer introduced him with Dr. Monjur Hossain, Professor, Rajshahi University. Then he received training on strawberry cultivation method. After repaying the first loan he received Tk. 10,000 as credit for the 2nd time and invested for strawberry cultivation in 2009. This year he sold strawberry worth Tk. 37,000 and earned Tk.19, 000. He was pleased with the earnings and decided to expand his project. On the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th times he received Tk. 20,000, Tk 30,000, Tk. 50,000 and Tk.1,00,000 as credit accordingly for strawberry cultivation. In 2012, he took 34 decimals of land on lease and cultivated strawberry in a total of 100 decimals of land and earned Tk. 2,60,000. Beside this he also earned Tk. 60,000 by marketing of other farmers strawberry. He promoted strawberry cultivation among the farmers of Naogaon, Natore, Joypurhat and Rajshahi districts. He also engaged himself in the marketing of strawberry in the area. At present, 6 regular workers and 7 part time workers are working in his projects and 3 workers working for strawberry marketing in Dhaka. All of his projects are environment friendly and he does not use any harmful pesticide and chemical fertilizer for cultivation.
At present, strawberry is being cultivated in limited areas in Bangladesh though there is huge demand for this in the country and overseas. Sharif Uddin thinks that it is possible to earn huge foreign currency by exporting strawberry if government and non-government support is available.