Category : Feature Stories
Published : September 1, 2020 - 9:28 AM
“Everybody in Bangladesh loves carrots: all social classes, all ages, all religions, all casts,” says M.A. Rahim, a professor at the Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU). Rahim was the first plant breeder in the country to work on carrots. That was 17 years ago, not long after carrot consumption in Bangladesh started. Yes, it might be hard to believe for such a well-liked crop, but the carrot is relatively new to Bangladesh.
“Two decades ago, carrots were mostly imported. They were a novelty. Since then, farmers across the country have really turned to them as one of their preferred winter season crops,” says Rahim. “Today, demand is at an all-time high and consumption also continues to grow. When it comes to production, though, our farmers are still learning.”
Carrots are fast-growing, nutritious and marketable, so this is potentially good news for thousands of farmers across the country. But they must first learn how to grow a decent crop. Most importantly, farmers need to sow the right seeds; seeds that will grow into tasty carrots, in soil conditions that are often challenging, whilst facing climate change. Rahim is using old landraces and wild relatives, the distant cousins of the vegetable we all know and love, to come up with the very best seeds for conditions in Bangladesh, and boost local production.