When a businessman takes on visionary farming

Dear readers, a few days back I went to Madhaishur village in Louhajang upazila of Munshiganj to meet an agricultural entrepreneur. He is Abul Kalam Azad, a local man. However, he’s more rooted to business that stretches to the capital city. He has made a mango orchard at Madhaishur village. It is very eye-catching indeed. Four years ago, 200-300 mango plants were sowed here just out of hobby. He planted Amropali, Mollika, Lengra, Gopalbhog, Fazli, Kachamitha and a few other varieties. In the first two years, very few mangoes grew. However, by 2017, all the trees are full of mangoes.

“By the grace of Almighty, plenty of mangoes have grown,” says a beaming Azad.

I was amazed looking at his orchard that he has been nurturing with utmost care and devotion.

It’s only a 3.5-bigha orchard. Every step of Azad’s life is planned and orderly. From this small orchard he ensured providing delicious and pure mangoes to his family. I got to know so many things from this great farming soul.

“Did you inherit this place?” I asked.

Shykh Seraj with innovative mango grower Abul Kalam Azad at the latter’s orchard at Madhaishur village in Munshiganj’s Louhajang upazila. Photo: Star

“Yes,” he replied.

“What was your first thought when you started this orchard?” I wanted to learn about his vision.

“I thought not to leave the land unused. Then, I bought some plants of several mango varieties

Including Himsagar, Amropali, Gopalbhog, Kachamitha and Haribhanga from Brac and planted them,” he said.

“Are you getting enough yields from your mango orchard?” I asked Azad.

“Yes, way better than before and plenty of them as you can see,” he pointed to the delicious mangoes on the trees. “To get plenty of mangoes in the month of Holy Ramadan is like a blessing,” he added.

I could see how much happy he was for his production.

“You love them, don’t you?” I eagerly wanted to know.

“Yes, I am so happy to see my mangoes. It’s a great pleasure, when you know, you’ve grown them all,” he replied with a tone of accomplishment.

Abul Kalam Azad understood if an orchard is made in a planned way, it does bring fruitful results. At least, a farmer can expect a great outcome. However, I didn’t see him using bagging method at his orchard to protect the mangoes. I requested him to use the method which will definitely help him get even better yield, alongside ensuring quality.

Dear readers, if you go to Northern districts of Bangladesh, from Panchagarh to Rajshahi and the rest, those who cultivate mangoes are pure farmers. Their main cash crops are mango, litchi etc. However, those who are businessmen like Abul Kalam Azad, they barely had the idea of investing in agriculture. What does Azad have to say about that?

“For growing crops and do something really fruitful, I always wanted to invest in farming and I wanted to do something pure out of it and eventually I did,” he said.

Azad’s nephew, Izharul Islam Halder rushed from London to Louhajang after hearing about his uncle’s success.

“How do you feel about your uncle’s orchard?” I asked Izharul.

“Great. I also have my own land 2.5 miles away from here. I bought it seeing my uncle’s success. Now, I am taking advice from my uncle to do what he has done here,” Izharul replied.

“So, your uncle has now become an expert,” I said.

“Yes, he has been a great mentor for me,” gladly replied Azad’s nephew.

Izharul also shared a precious memory with me. During the 80s, he saw me doing an episode for BTV’s Mati O Manush on the rooftop at their Moghbazar residence. At that time, his father was alive. According to Izharul, I interviewed his father on Kazi guava and his father was so happy that he sent his son the photograph he took with me. Izharul said he would give me a soft copy of that photo.

“I get inspired every day looking at my orchard,” said Abul Kalam Azad while I was chatting with his nephew.

A local young farmer of this area, Ruhul Amin, mainly looks after this orchard. And, he’s working the way Azad has told him to. He works in a much planned way to bring in the best results.

The orchard has turned out to be a great pleasant field for the Azad family. In every vacation, they visit the orchard in Louhajang, travelling from Dhaka. They spend some quality time filled with happiness, here at Azad’s mango orchard.

This orchard has ensured a source for getting pure mangoes, completely grown with organic fertilisers, in this Ramadan for this family. It is very inspiring to others as well.

Dear readers, the mangoes cultivated by our farmers are now being exported abroad. These traditional farmers don’t have proper knowledge or education for modern farming. They only know how to cultivate using their age-old wisdom coupled with love for the soil and crops. On the other hand, if an educated businessman takes this agriculture into his hand, it will have more value in the global market. And, by educating the farmers the market will get bigger and better.

A large number of those who live in the urban areas have enough land to make a little orchard in villages. You can also make mango orchards like Azad, be it small in size, but it will surely supply you and your family pure mangoes. It will also unite everyone of your family, through the bondage with crops and soil.


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