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Bengal farmers preferring broccoli over cauliflower! Why this sudden green surge?

31 January, 2023 16:34:46
Bengal farmers preferring broccoli over cauliflower! Why this sudden green surge?

Winters become vibrant with the arrival of colourful vegetables in the Bengal markets. Carrots, beans, cauliflower, beetroot, and broccoli brighten up the plates of every Bengali household. Though not a game-changer in terms of taste, broccoli is a rich source of vitamins C and K. It benefits both the heart and the eyes. It helps build a stronger immune system and supports hormonal balance. Scientifically known as Brassica oleracea, broccoli is a large, green, flowering vegetable that belongs to the cabbage family. Broccoli is similar to cauliflower, which is distinct but closely related to the cultivar group of the same Brassica species.

However, broccoli cultivation in Bengal has recently raised eyebrows due to its increasing growth. Farmers in Bengal are increasingly switching from cultivating conventional cauliflower to the more unusual broccoli. The increased market demand is what caused this abrupt transition to green. Up until around three years ago, the city's daily broccoli consumption was only 1.5 tonnes. It used to primarily come from the North-East and Karnataka. However, the current estimate shows that the local need has increased to five tonnes per day.

Prior to this, upscale hotels and restaurants used the majority of the harvest. Now, more health-conscious Bengalis belonging to the middle class are adopting broccoli as one of their daily consumables. Be it a creamy broccoli soup or little broccoli chunks sauteed in butter, healthy broccoli recipes have become a winter staple in Bengal. The majority of the broccoli consumed in Kolkata is grown in the south 24 Parganas, neighbourhoods of Bhangar 1 and 2. The state agriculture agency estimates that it is currently grown on 1600 hectares, which is somewhat more than the 1588 hectares dedicated to cauliflower.

While the first crop of cauliflower for the season sells for between Rs 30 and Rs 40 per piece, as winter goes on, the cost reduces significantly to around Rs 5 per piece. On the other hand, broccoli initially sells for roughly Rs. 40 per piece, but the price after the season never falls below Rs. 20. Bengali farmers are currently producing 9–10 metric tonnes of broccoli every day. Additionally, some of this produce is sent abroad, primarily to Thailand and Bangladesh in South Asia. More farmers are starting to grow broccoli due to better returns.

However, even if the higher results are encouraging, broccoli requires more attention than cauliflower. Agriculture experts believe this green surge would not only benefit the farmers but will also appreciate healthier diet charts.

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