TEZPUR, Feb 21 � Determination and courage shown by unemployed local youths of Bihaguri-Bhalukekhwa area like Phanidhar Nath have transformed the Brahmaputra- char-chapori areas and their farmland near the historical Borakata Beel, still frequented by wild elephants, into fascinating and high-yielding fields of broccoli and some other seasonal crops.
Nath, a true believer in work-culture has been able to set an example in material prosperity and income generation by cultivating �broccoli along with some other commercially profitable rabi crops. Like pea, cauliflower, cabbage, mustard oil, potato, garlic, etc., since the last several years.
When contacted, Prof. Bidhan Bora, Department of Botany, Darrang College, who is an activist of the horticulture society here, informed that the cultivation of broccoli originated in Japan, following it�s good effects on the human body, particularly in hypertension cases, it has been able to garner a good position in India and Assam as well.
It may be noted here that the efforts of a section of highly motivated rural youths of Bhalukekhwa area under No.-1 Bihaguri GP in Sonitpur district have led to a virtual green revolution in the Brahmaputra char chapori area.
Among the members of an active SHG of the area, Haragauri self help group, Nath, an educated unemployed youth without any support from the government has been able to promote composite rabi crop cultivation in the greater Bhalukekhwa-Bihaguri area, empowering a large number of people along with meeting the common vegetable needs of the people.
Nath said that at first he started broccoli cultivation only in a small plot of land near his residence, but considering it�s priority in the market, he extended the cultivation. This year he has cultivated broccoli in three bighas of land.
Apart from dealing in broccoli, Nath cultivates both rabi and Sali crops in nearly 25 bighas of land finding adequate ways of income generation.
�I have been selling broccoli� at Rs. 30 to 40 this time as it has good demand in the market, said Nath, adding that he has been living a comfortable life with his five-member family.
He further stated that in a year he spends about Rs. 60,000 in tilling his land by tractor, purchasing diesel for water pumps, etc., as the cost of production for cultivating different kinds of rabi crops together with broccoli and earns nearly Rs. 2 lakh a year.
Nath maintained that the Agriculture department could do a lot here to encourage the poor farmers who lack even the minimum needs by various farmer � related schemes as the land they occupy for cultivation is fertile. �But it is a matter of fact that these real and hard-working farmers have never been able to draw the attention of the department concerned till date, because corruption at every level gets more priority than the interest of the farmer,� he alleged.
Shortage of seeds and high rates worry Nath. �In the present market, the rate of seeds of broccoli is upward of Rs. 3,700 per hundred gram. In this regard if the Agricultural department takes up the initiative for controlling the seed market, the farmers would be benefited a lot,� said another youth of the area, Pranjal Mahanta.
Moreover, wild elephant herds have been creating a major problem for the farmers. Nath�s father Putul Nath, who was also a successful cultivator, was killed in an elephant attack while he was busy in his farm a few years back.
Agencies concerned, including the Forest Department and Agriculture Department have been urged to check those problems, but the plea remains futile, Mahanta alleged.