Arum farming has brought smiles on the faces of farmers in Rajshahi region including its vast Barind tract as they are getting good profit cultivating it on their lands.
Locally known as 'Latiraj', arum is a favourite vegetable of many people. Arum cultivation has brought fortune to many farmers in the region with its bumper production and high profit this season.
The farmers are now cultivating arum on commercial basis. Different varieties of arum are being cultivated in the region as it has become a profitable crop and its cultivation costs are low.
Dev Dulal Dhali, Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture Extension here said "Arum is an environment-friendly, poison-free and nourishing crop. The agriculture department has been giving advice to the farmers on cultivating high yield variety of arum."
Different varieties of arum have been cultivated in the region, including white and red colour. Almost all the varieties were grown in the water-logged areas. The cultivation of Latiraj variety is gaining popularity among the farmers as it is about five times more profitable than paddy farming.
"Latiraj variety of arum is planted early January. The harvest starts in mid-April and the yield continues for eight months till mid-December. A farmer gets 3 to 5 maunds of yield from each decimal of land," said Jahid Hossain, an arum grower at Duary village of Paba upazila.
Sazdar Rahman, 47, another arum farmer of Rajabari village in Durgapur, said "I have cultivated mukhi variety of arum on five bighas of land and am expecting bumper production now. I planted the arum seed in the third week of January and began harvest in the third week of July."
He said farmers use only some organic fertiliser during arum cultivation and they do not need to use insecticides.
Saidur Rahman of Parila under Paba upazila said he cultivated Taro Arum (Mukhi Kachu or Boi Kachu) and achieved an excellent yield of the crop this season.
Joynal Abedeen of Palpur village in Godagari upazila also said, he has cultivated Creeper Arum (Loti Kachu) on two bighas of land this season. He has already earned Tk 22,000 and is expecting more profit during the season.
"I can buy adequate fresh vegetables including arum from different wholesale markets in Rajshahi city and its outskirts at cheaper rate," said Aminul Islam, a trader from Dhaka.
At present per Kg of Latiraj variety arum sells for Tk 30-40 at the local market and the price is expected to double after two to three months. This vegetable is in high demand as it is tastier and more nourishing than all other vegetables.
Dr Khalilur Rahman, Associate Professor of Medicine at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, said arum is nourishing and tasty vegetable. This vegetable works as a remedy for different diseases, especially diabetics, he claimed.
Abdul Hannan, Additional Director of Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), said, the farmers of the region are expected to grow huge quantity of arum and other vegetables this year as they prefer cultivating vegetables to other crops. Use of modern technology and quick compost has enhanced the production of vegetables significantly, he added.