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Covid-19 fallout: After losing job, youth turns his life around with squash cultivation

  • Published at 01:00 pm August 27th, 2021
Khulna squash
The local department of agriculture showcases the impressive squash field planted by Liton (first person from the right) in Paikgachha upazila of Khulna Dhaka Tribune

For his success, Liton was awarded Tk7,500, a certificate, and a crest by the Department of Agriculture

Thirty-year-old Ohiduzzaman Liton was working as a readymade garment worker in the capital before he losing his job in March last year and returning to his village home in Paikgachha upazila of Khulna. 

After sitting idle for a few months, he decided to become a farmer just like his father and turn his life around.

Upon receiving advice from a fellow farmer of Faridpur, Liton started cultivating "Italian squash" or "zucchini" in November 2020. 

“I collected improved varieties of squash ‘Rally F-1’ seeds from the Department of Agriculture, and planted them on a one-bigha leased land,” said Liton.

His total cultivation cost was around Tk42,000 and last winter he earned Tk1.12 lakh after selling his produce. 

“Although the demand for squash was low at the beginning due to its unfamiliarity, its popularity quickly increased in recent times. As a result, the squashes were all sold out as soon as they reached the market,” he added.

Sheikh Tofail Ahmed Tuhin, deputy assistant agriculture officer of the DAE, said: “Each green and oblong-shaped light white squash contains a lot of carbohydrates and proteins including vitamins A, C, E, and K. This delicious vegetable can be cooked and eaten as an alternative to pumpkin and bottle gourd. Squash leaves and stems can be eaten as vegetables.”

According to this official, squash cultivation per bigha costs Tk34,000-35,000 excluding Tk12,000-14,000 for land preparation. 

For his success, Liton was awarded Tk7,500, a certificate, and a crest by the Department of Agriculture.

Litton said, “I made a profit of Tk75,000 in two and a half months from squash cultivation. I’m looking forward to the upcoming squash season.” 

Liton has now expanded his cultivation to an additional three-bigha land. He owns a nursery where he grows local and foreign fruit seedlings and an orchard for Malta and new varieties of mandarin oranges.

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