After being resettled in Bogerbari-2 Asrayan project of Pirganj upazila here, 20 families are hopeful about changing fortunes by cultivating high-valued non-traditional cashew nut on adjoining Khas land.
Around 600 cashew nut trees are growing superbly on the 5.07 acres of Khas land alongside 200 other fruit trees on homesteads of rehabilitated families there under the Asrayan-2 project, reports BSS.
Talking to BSS, residents at Bogerbari-2 Asrayan project said they got life anew after getting new semi-pucca houses from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina through a videoconferencing in 2021.
Earlier, the 20 landless and homeless families had to live on the lands of others.
"We never imagined of getting houses with bedrooms, kitchen, sanitary latrine, utility space, veranda and electricity facilities," said resettled Nazrul Islam at the Asrayan project.
Rehabilitated Anwar Hossain said officials from Rangpur Circle of Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) suddenly came to Bogerbari-2 Asrayan project last year to assess the possibility of tree plantation there marking Sheikh Russel Day-2021.
BMDA soon planted 600 cashew nut saplings on Khas land and 200 saplings of mango, jackfruit, 'Latkon', Malta, lemon, litchi, guava, papaya, blackberry, olive, 'Safeda', 'Chalta', Amalki and 'Jamrul' fruit trees on homesteads under a special initiative.
"The saplings were planted under the special initiative, an extended part of its forestation programme of the 'Expansion of irrigation in greater Rangpur district through best uses of surface water and conservation of rainwater (EIR)' project," Anwar added.
Resident Manjur Hossain said resettled women and men are taking care of cashew nuts and other fruit trees with love and affection like their own children apart from daily efforts to earn a living through selling labors, pulling rickshaw-vans and other activities.
"The superbly growing cashew nut and other fruit trees have created pleasant scenery in all-around Bogerbari-2 Asrayan project turning the area into beautiful greenery with eye-catching looks," Manjur said.
Rehabilitated Afroza Begum said she is expecting to get fruits from her excellently growing 32 cashew nut trees from the next season to earn money by selling the high-priced produce.
"Besides, I am taking care of growing trees of mango, jackfruit, 'Latkon', blackberry, papaya, Malta, olive, 'Safeda' and 'Chalta' planted on my homestead," she said.
Resettled Tahura Begum said she is hoping to get fruits from her 21 cashew nut trees and other fruit trees like mango, blackberry, litchi, lemon and olive and earn well from the upcoming season.
"I shall spend earned money from selling cashew nut and other fruits for education of my daughter Tanya Khatun, 16, a first year student at Pirganj Technical College and two sons Tamim, 9, (class three) and Taskin, 7 (class one)," she hoped.
Project Director of the EIR project and Superintending Engineer of BMDA for Rangpur Circle Md. Habibur Rahman Khan said Agriculture Minister Dr. Muhammad Abdur Razzaque gave direction for expanding cashew nut farming in the ADP meeting last year.
"As per subsequent suggestion of BMDA Executive Director Engineer Md. Abdur Rashid, we took the special initiative and planted 3,000 cashew nut saplings in four upazilas of Rangpur and Gaibandha last year," he said.
Of them, 600 cashew nut saplings were planted on Khas land at Bogerbari-2 Asrayan project marking Sheikh Russel Day-2021 and responsibility of taking care was given to the resettled 20 families after dividing the planted trees in their 20 shares.
"We planted saplings of cashew nuts and other fruit trees aiming at meeting nourishment of the Asrayan residents and enabling them in earning money alongside expanding forestation and greenery," Khan added.