Rangpur growers produce 3.35 lakh tons of fruits -The Asian Age

The farmers produced 3.35 lakh tons of fruits worth Taka 934 crore during the 2016-2017 fiscal in all five districts under Rangpur agriculture region and earned well after meeting nutrition of their family members. Officials of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) said some 40,000 farmers have achieved self-reliance through fruit cultivation that has become a profitable venture in the agriculture sector in the region, reports BSS.

"The farmers are expanding cultivation of fruits on commercial basis every year after getting repeated bumper production with lucrative price in recent years," said Khondker Md Mesbahul Islam, Horticulture Specialist of the DAE at its regional office. He said the farmers produced 3.35 lakh tons of 41 varieties of high- priced, quick growing, high yielding, hybrid and indigenous varieties of fruits cultivated on 24,251 hectares of land worth Taka 934 crore during the 2016-2017 fiscal in the region.

Of them, they produced 79,667 tons of mangos worth Taka 320 crore, 64,279 tons of jackfruit worth Taka 32 crore and 13,285 tons of litchi worth Taka 133 crore and 16,990 tons of guava worth Taka 85 crore. They produced 93,122 tons of bananas worth Taka 56 crore, 4,972 tons of 'jujube' worth Taka 27 crore, 17,592 tons of papaya worth Taka 18 crore and 11,775 tons of coconut worth Taka 29.50 crore.

Besides, the farmers produced 15,976 tons of betel nut worth Taka 160 crore and 17,437 tons of 33 other varieties of fruits worth Taka 73.50 crore during the 2016-2017 fiscal. "The total production of fruits might be around 3.50 lakh tons worth Taka 950 crore during the just ended 2017-2018 fiscal in the region as the field level statistics are being compiled now to get the final figure," Islam said. Deputy Director of the DAE Md Moniruzzaman said the farmers are expanding fruit farming on their orchards and homesteads in Rangpur, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Gaibandha and Nilphamari districts under the region.

"The agriculture related departments and organizations are providing assistance to the farmers for expanding fruit cultivation to improve socioeconomic and nutritional statuses of the rural people to build a healthier nation," he said.

"The farmers are mostly cultivating mango, litchi, banana, jackfruit, papaya, 'lotkon', coconut, water melon, jujube, jackfruit, black berry, orange, 'Malta', lemon, strawberry, olive, wood apple, guava, 'bangi', 'amloki', and other fruits," Moniruzzaman added.

Successful farmers Mostafizur Rahman and Mohammad Morsalin of village Podaganj and Lutfar Rahman of Tekani village under Mithapukur upazila said they changed their fortune through farming 'Haribhanga' variety mango in recent years.

Farmers Babul Hossain, Babul Mian and Abdur Rahim of different villages said they achieved self-reliance through producing both of the high-priced, quick-growing, hybrid and traditional fruits like many others during the past ten years.

Divisional Director (Health) Dr Md Mostafizar Rahman said that malnutrition related diseases marked reduction in recent years following improvement in nutritional status of common people as a result of increasing production and consumption of fruits.

President of Rangpur Chamber Mostafa Sohrab Chowdhury Titu stressed on setting up of fruits processing factories to ensure fair price of the produced fruits and inspire the farmers in further expanding fruit cultivation to boost rural economy in the region.