Moslem Uddin used to sell pickles and jhal-muri in front of different schools in Tangail's Sakhipur upazila.
But over the last five years, with vision, hard work and confidence, the young man has transformed himself into a successful farmer. He now cultivates maltas, lemons, sour plums and papayas on 22 acres of land.
His yearly income has now surpassed Tk50 lakh from this venture. Moslem Uddin's farming revolution has also influenced the youths of the district to follow his example. More than 100 big and small orchards have been set up in the upazila because of him.
Moslem said: "I saved some money at the beginning of 2013, then I borrowed Tk2.5 lakh with the intention of setting up a lemon plantation. I leased six acres of land in the Gazaria area for it," said Moslem.
At first he planted 5,200 lemon saplings. He also planted 2,000 papaya saplings as an additional crop. He earned Tk4 lakh by selling papayas in the first six months.
In the first year he earned about Tk7 lakh by selling lemons. He also sold some cuttings of the plants which added another Tk4 lakh. The local agriculture office also came forward with advice and co-operation. He gradually expanded his plantation and earned more money in the process.
In 2015, he leased another five acres of land for 12 years for Tk1.25 lakh per year.
Moslem planted 900 malta saplings of the BARI-1 variety on the land with help from the Upazila Agriculture Office. He also planted 900 sour plum saplings as a side crop on the same land.
The malta plants yielded a bumper harvest two and a half years later. This was a dream come true for Moslem, and he is expecting to sell maltas worth about Tk 20 lakh this year. He has expanded his orchard to 22 acres.
The workers at the orchard say that no chemicals or other harmful substances are used, so there is a huge demand for the maltas grown in this orchard.
Curious people come to Moslem's orchard from different areas to have a look at his success.
"I now have 8 to 12 workers. Many people come from different areas to have a look at the orchard, and I encourage them to cultivate lemons and maltas," said Moslem Uddin.
"After seeing Moslem Uddin's orchard, local youths are becoming inspired and are setting up their own orchards. The department of agriculture has been extending all types of support," said Md Obaidul Haque Khan, sub-assistant agriculture officer of Shokhipur.
The agriculture office says that lemons and maltas are being cultivated on a commercial basis on about 2,000 hectares of land in Sakhiur, Delduar, Ghatail and Madhupur upzilas of Tangail.
"Malta cultivation is increasing in Sakhipur, Ghatail and Madhupur upazilas day by day. The DAE (Department of Agricultural Extension) has been providing support to the farmers. There is a huge demand for fruit in the market," said Md Abdur Razzak, deputy director of DAE.