Dhaka city has 30,000 rooftop gardens
Md Joynal Abedin Khan : The rooftop agricultural farming is getting popularity in the city, town and some rural areas that partially fulfilling the demand of vegetables, fruits, flowers to the aristocratic growers.
Despite the importance of food and nutrition, it will assist the cultivators to take free and fair air during the physical works at the gardens, giving pleasure and enhancing beatification in the building.
A good number of house owners and nature lovers are also earning from rooftop gardening after meeting own demands.
During the shutdown, lockdown and emergency needs, people stuck at home will also help to mitigate the demands of fresh vegetables, fruits and flowers. Influenced by different environmental organisations, the number of rooftop gardens increased significantly in the capital and other towns during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Even thousands of house owners and nature lovers set soil and saplings, aiming to establish rooftop gardens.
According to the Bangladesh Agriculture Information Service (BAIS), Dhaka city has about 450,000 roofs with the area of more than 5,000 hectares. Most of the roofs were left empty, but nowadays house owners are building roof gardens to spend their leisure time and greener their roofs.
At present, there are around 30,000 rooftop gardens in the capital – covering 7 per cent of the total number of roofs, reports BAIS.
Meanwhile, a study of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University claims that about 41 pc rooftop garden owners in Dhaka is young, 30pc middle-aged and 29 pc elderly persons.
Dr Sabikun Nahar, from the Gynaecology Department of Dhaka Medical College, took the initiative to make a rooftop garden at her old house during the shutdown as she was encouraged by some friends and tree lovers in different social media groups.
At present there are about 120 trees of 30-35 species in her garden. Although she started with some flower and fruit trees, she is now planting vegetables as well.
Her fruit trees included lemon, pomegranate, guava, and mango. Meanwhile, her vegetables are long bean, eggplant, gourd, water spinach, malabar spinach, ridge-gourd and papaya. Further, Nahar is cultivating various medicinal plants and herbs including neem and aloe vera.
She said, “Inspired by friends’, I became interested in rooftop gardening during the [novel] coronavirus pandemic period.”
“I have planted about 120 trees on my roof by now. We have not bought many vegetables from the market since May. After a day or two, I can cook the vegetables produced in my roof garden. The satisfaction of growing vegetables with one’s own hands and feeding one’s family members after cooking is really different.
Fatema Parveen, a resident from the city’s Jigatala, also started roof gardening with the help of the Department of Agricultural Extension. Besides fruit trees – including lemon, mango, malta, guava, papaya, and orange – she has also planted vegetables like: long bean, spinach, snake gourd, bottle gourd, malabar spinach, and bitter gourd. She has planted an array of flower trees.
Md Asadul Islam Khan, inhabitant of Nagarmirganj village under Jaldhaka Upazila in Nilphamari district, told the Daily Industry yesterday, “I have planted lemon, malta, guava, papaya, and orange, tomato, sunflower, snake gourd, bottle gourd, malabar spinach, and bitter gourd.”
Environmental organisation -Green Savers is working on roof farming, through its own website, Facebook page and various campaigns. They offer consultancy on different aspects of planting – including roof gardening. The organisation also has a tree doctor, mobile clinic and hospital for trees.
Ahmed Roni, founder of Green Savers, told the Daily Industry yesterday, “The number of rooftop gardens has increased during the pandemic. In the last six months, we have prepared around 500 roof gardens in Dhaka.”
“Our organisation started its journey in 2010. So far, we have established 6,000 roof gardens, and are regularly maintaining them,” he added.
“We have 475 dedicated members on our team. Divided into different groups, they make gardens and take care of them regularly. Outside the capital, they have so far assisted preparing about 300 gardens in Chattogram, Rangpur and Rajshhi. However, services over taking care of the gardens are provided in Dhaka only,” he continued.
“Dhaka North City Corporation has donated us a car to carry trees, besides providing a large space in the capital. Moreover, the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) has provided us training,” he said.
In 2018, the DAE undertook a three year project on urban agricultural development to establish 600 rooftop gardens in the capital.
The DAE’s Project Director Taherul Islam said, “Under this project, we have so far established 500 roof gardens in Dhaka. Hopefully, we will be successful in preparing 100 more in the rest of the time. There are about 6,975 roof gardens in Dhaka under our supervision.”