Logicality of the programBetel leaf is an exportable crop which can bring foreign currencies. Betel leaf has been being consumed throughout the subcontinent as a longstanding tradition.
Betel leaves are served to guests at the end of all programs. It is a part and parcel of hospitality in our country. Various types of betel leaves are produced in different parts of Bangladesh. Betel leaves from Maheshkhali, Cox's Bazar are most tasty.
Betel leaves from Rajshahi are bigger in size. Betel leaves are produced in some other districts includingBarishal, Patuakhali, Jhenaidaha, Kushtia, Chuadanga and Chittagong. Extension of safe betel leaf production technology can make betel leaf farming more effective and profitable through the use of sophisticated technology.
Ten thousand hectares of land were used for producing betel leaves and 47 metric tons of betel leaves were grown in Bangladesh during 1971-1972. According to information from Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), 2 lakh 14 metric tons of betel leaves were produced in the country during 2017-2018 on 55 thousand Acre of land in 286 upazilas.
Bangladesh's betel leaves are exported to many countries. However, the export of betel leaves to Europe is currently facing problems due to the presence of salmonella bacteria in the betel leaves of Bangladesh.
The Indian government provides a huge magnitude of economic and technological support to betel leaf farmers to boost this sector.Strong initiatives need to be taken to facilitate the use of latest technologies in betel leaf farming.
Objectives of the program: (a) Raising the production of high quality, safe and exportable betel leaves; (b) Making betel leaf farming more profitable at a low cost using efficient technologies; (c) Increasing the income of betel leaf farmers through the expansion of new technologies for grading, sterilizing and marketing of betel leaf.
Activities under the program620 exhibitions (new barges); Training of Trainer(ToT) in 26 batches; SAAO training in 52 batches; Farmers training in 221 batches; 430 field rallies; 8 Regional workshops; 2 national workshops.
Things to do for producing safe betel leaves: (a) Removing germs like Salmonella sp and E. Coli from agricultural instruments; b) Making arrangements for the supply and preservation of pure water; (c) Pollution-free, germ-free and safe water should be used for farming and collecting betel leaves; (d) Farmers will have to examine whether there are harmful components in water;
(e) There should be sufficient facilities for waste and water disposal; (f) Oil cakes will have to be properly rotten to use for farming betel leaves. Fertilizers to be used for betel leaf production should be freed from chemical or biological organisms; (g) Insects, mammals and birds should be resisted from entering betel leaf barges;
(h) Betel leaf farmers will have to properly wash their hands and put on sterilized dresses and hand gloves while farming and collecting betel leaves; (i) Visitors will have to put on sterilized dresses while visiting betel leaf farms; (j) All equipment, baskets and pots used for lifting betel leaves should be sterilized;
(k) Betel leaves will have to be kept in a sterilized place; (l) Betel leaves will have to be safeguarded from the excrements of human beings and animals.
The writer is Program Director of Safe Betel Leaf Production Technology Extension Program. He can be reached at:[email protected]
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