Lotkon has become the main cash crop for farmers in Narsingdi as they now earn extra by exporting the fruit after meeting local demand. Some Tk 350 crore worth of lotkon was produced this year with traders and growers now busy harvesting and selling the crop.
PHOTO: Jahidul Islam

“>



Lotkon has become the main cash crop for farmers in Narsingdi as they now earn extra by exporting the fruit after meeting local demand. Some Tk 350 crore worth of lotkon was produced this year with traders and growers now busy harvesting and selling the crop.
PHOTO: Jahidul Islam

Lotkon farmers in Bangladesh are enjoying good yields and prices for the fruit this year thanks to its vast popularity at home and abroad, according to market players.

Narsingdi is well-known for producing lotkon, also known as Burmese grape, with local growers now going on to earn foreign currency by exporting the fruit after meeting domestic demand.

About 1,890 hectares of land in the district were used to cultivate lotkon this season, up by some 200 hectares from last year, shows data of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE).

Of the total acreage, Shibpur upazila made up the majority with 1,600 hectares. However, most of the fruit is being grown in the Joynagar area for its perfect soil and climate conditions.

With each hectare expected to provide an average of 17 tonnes, the region will produce some 32,000 tonnes of lotkon with a combined market value of about Tk 350 crore, DAE officials in Narsingdi said.

Alamgir Hossain, a farmer in Shibpur upazila, said he started growing lotkon on around 10 bighas of land at a cost of about Tk 40,000 three years back.

“I already sold Tk 1.5 lakh worth of the fruit so far this year,” he added.

Mobarok Hossain, another local grower, said he started producing lotkon on a commercial basis amid the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

Having invested Tk 1.5 lakh to turn his family’s barren land into a lotkon orchard, Hossain earned Tk 4.5 lakh from the fruit this year.

“My orchard is now making me financially solvent,” he added.

During a recent visit to a local market in the upazila, it was found that producers and wholesalers were busy packing lotkon for transport to other areas of the country.

The fruit was being sold at wholesale for between Tk 70 and Tk 250 per kg based on quality and size, with daily sales reaching as high as Tk 3 crore.

DAE officials in Narsingdi said the price and production are higher than previous years, encouraging farmers to expand cultivation.

The farmers are expected to earn a full Tk 200 crore extra from exporting lotkon this year as about 2,000 tonnes of the fruit are usually shipped to countries in the Middle East and Europe.

Dr ANM Mizanur Rahman, superintendent of Narsingdi Hospital, said other than its great taste, lotkon is packed with calcium, vitamin-c, anti-oxidants and iron.

“It also increases appetite and reduces mental exhaustion,” he added.

Similarly, Azizur Rahman, deputy director of the Narsingdi DAE, said the demand for lotkon is increasing for its taste and medicinal properties.

Besides, Narsingdi and its surrounding areas where lotkon are produced are turning into economic green zones for being part of the eco-industrial business.

“We expect more than 32,000 tonnes of lotkon were produced in Narsingdi with a market price of Tk 350 core. The latkan here is also exported to countries in Middle East and Europe, where it has gained popularity,” he added.

The production cost of lotkon is comparatively less than other crops as the trees bear fruit within 10 seasons of planting.

As such, even though the fruit was unfamiliar not too long ago, it has quickly become the main source of income for farmers in Narsingdi.

It is said that lotkon cultivation began in the district about 100 years ago, when a man named Hazi Hakim Abdul Aziz planted three saplings in the Azkitola area of Shibpur upazila.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.