Agriculture in Bangladesh is moving forward at a breakneck pace. In recent times, there has been a remarkable success in the field of fruit cultivation in agriculture. According to the World Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), fruit production in Bangladesh has grown at an average rate of 11 percent per year for 16 years, which no other country in the world has been able to.
Bangladesh is now second in the world in jackfruit production, seventh in mango, eighth in guava and fourteenth in papaya. In the last one decade, the consumption of fruits by the people of this country has doubled. Guava and watermelon are now available in the market almost all year round, which was unimaginable even a decade ago. Behind these successes in fruit cultivation and production in the country lies the research of horticulturists, innovation of varieties and technologies and the tireless work of agricultural extension workers to bring those varieties and technologies to the farmers.
Those who have brought this unimaginable change in fruit cultivation, one of them said. MA Rahim. From the Germplasm Center of Fruits established by him at Bangladesh Agricultural University in Mymensingh, 123 improved varieties of various fruits invented so far have been registered. Many of these varieties are being cultivated extensively in different parts of the country. Many farmers have earned millions to crores of rupees a year by cultivating some of these invented fruits. Due to the increase in the production of these fruits, the amount of fruits eaten by the people of this country has increased, which continues to contribute to the development of nutrition.
MA Rahim, a retired professor in the Department of Horticulture, Bangladesh Agricultural University, established this fruit tree germplasm center in 1991 with only 1 acre of land. According to him, at one time Bangladesh was not so rich in fruit production. Although food production is low, it can be met by importing it from other countries. However, it is not possible to buy nutrition for so many people from abroad. There is no alternative to the development of nutrition in building a meritorious nation by keeping the people of the country healthy. One of the main sources of nutrition is various fruits and vegetables. So he said horticulture teacher. Accompanied by Azizul Haque, the Germplasm Center was started with the aim of collecting, developing and expanding germplasm of fruit trees throughout the country.
At first MA Rahim established a germplasm center of fruit trees in that small land with some varieties of mango. In the space of three decades, the center has now expanded to 32 acres. There are 11,526 germplasms of different fruits. In order to collect these germplasms, MA Rahim has traveled to the hills, coasts and forests of the country and also visited 60 countries of the world. He said he had collected about 80 percent of the germplasm from the country, some of which were on the verge of extinction. Wherever you have found the fruit trees or seeds, brought them and planted them in the germplasm center and tested.
MA Rahim has long researched and developed many varieties suitable for cultivation in the country. As a result, the center is now the world’s second largest fruit germplasm collection. However, it has a special difference with fruit germplasm centers in other countries of the world. In many countries there are such centers where only germplasm is collected and nurtured and stored in the style of many botanical gardens.