For the first time in Gopalganj, local farmers have successfully grown off-season watermelons by using a modern agricultural method called the “floating platform.” The farmers’ joy at seeing the results of the unconventional approach was boundless as watermelons are usually harvested during the dry season.
The method is particularly remarkable as it does not require irrigation, pesticides, or fertilizers. As a result, farmers can use this soil-free method without spending much money, and the financial gain is also high as it is the off-season, they added.
Although Gopalganj farmers have previously grown other vegetables on floating beds, this is their first year planting watermelons in collaboration with the researchers at BARI. BARI Senior Scientific Officer Mohsin Hawlader said: “Under the Vegetables and Spice Cultivation Research, Extension and Popularization on Floating Bed project, some 200 farmers grew watermelon on at least 1,000 floating platforms for the first time this year.
"Each bed has yielded watermelon as expected," he added. He also said: "We want floating platform agriculture to become more profitable. Hence, I encourage farmers to cultivate high-value crops like watermelons.” Shakti Kirtaniya, a farmer in Gopalganj, said they had grown a variety of vegetables on floating beds before, including pumpkins, cauliflowers, cabbages, cucumbers, and tomatoes, but this year they planted watermelons for the first time.
In 2019, floating beds made from hyacinths and bamboo were quite popular among farmers in Tungipara Upazila of Gopalganj for growing vegetables and spices. The farmers chose to adapt this method of cultivation to counter the waterlogging issues caused by the recent floods in the district, which had rendered the arable lands unsuitable for cultivation.
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