brought both profit and fame
But of all his crops, it was papaya that brought him most success from the early 1990s. "Papaya cultivation has brought both profit and fame in my life," the farmer said. Badsha started farming hybrid papaya in his turmeric field as a co-crop but after seeing how remarkably profitable it was, he leased another 100 bighas of land to grow the fruit. His success in papaya farming brought him a silver medal in the Bangabandhu Agriculture Award of 1997 while he eventually secured gold in the 1998 edition. Considering the success, Badsha expanded papaya cultivation every year. "The highest amount of papaya I had cultivated was 110 bighas in 1998," he said. Just when everything was on the up and up, massive floods in 2004 destroyed his crops but that did not stop him from farming again. "It was a huge loss but I planted vegetables and fruits again after the storms had passed," he added. This year, Badsha has planted several prize worthy local and foreign fruits as well as vegetables and other traditional crops on about 63 acres. He is growing custard apples on 12 acres at the Ma Moni Krishi Khamar while 8 acres are being used for farming litchi, 7 acres for papaya, 2 acres for avocado, 3 acres for mango, among other crops. Badsha also regularly produces paddy, jute, spices and lentils. "In my 50 years as a farmer, I realised profit cannot be earned from a single crop every year, he told The Daily Star. Asked what advice he has for other farmers, Badsha said to go for cultivation in a planned way. He has also done away with the use of middle men for selling his produce by opening his own outlet in Dhaka. "When my agriculture work developed, I realised that profits from selling crops to traders in local markets were not sufficient. So, I took the initiative to open outlet in the capital," Badsha said. As was the case with his farm, continued success allowed Badsha to expand the number of outlets, which supply wholesale shops with his own vehicles to reduce transportation costs. As such, it goes without saying that Badsha has become an inspiration to others, especially those in his village. "Badsha showed us how typical agricultural work can be profitable. I was inspired by him to cultivate turmeric in my 3-bigha litchi orchard to earn extra profit," said Mehedi Hasan, a farmer of Shahapur village of Ishwardi upazila.