Thursday, November 24, 2011
Cultivation of orange is becoming a moneyspinner in the district as farmers achieved steady growth in yield in the last few years.
According to the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), more than 500 hectares of hilly lands in Juri and Baralekha upazilas have been brought under commercial orange cultivation this year.
Farmers in the upazilas are expecting a bumper production of the fruit because of favourable weather, timely rainfall and necessary support from the DAE officials.
During a recent visit to Hayachhara, Kochurgul, Rupachhara, Belbari, Jorichhara, Lathitila, Lalchhara and Kalachhara villages under Goalbari union in Juri upazila, this correspondent found the orange growers there busy harvesting and sorting according to the sizes and packing the fruit in bamboo made buskets for sale.
Ibrahim Ali, an owner of an orange garden, said he begun selling of orange as early as from October 15 this year.
“I have sold around 12 thousand oranges worth around Tk 60,000 from the garden to a wholesaler of Bhairab in Kishoreganj”.
“The price of each 100 pieces was Tk 500”, he added.
In the previous years, the fruit was not commercially produced in the area for lack of its good quality and poor marketing facilities, farmers said.
The government initiatives to encourage farmers in the district for commercial cultivation of the fruit have brought some positive changes, they said.
The DAE took up ‘Integrated Orange and Pineapple Development Project’ in the area in 2001, officials said.
Under the project, the orange producers were provided with quality saplings and technical support including a short term training for growing and marketing the fruit.
Wholesale traders are now buying orange directly from the growers, they said.
The orange producers in the villages told this correspondent that the irrigation problem still remains the main obstacles to cultivation as the gardens are located in hill areas.
Installing deep tubewells for irrigation in the areas and developing feeder roads cost a big amount which they can not afford to, they said.
The integrated project for orange and pineapple ended in July, 2008.
“After the end of the project, we can not do anything more than giving advice to the orange growers,” said Abdul Jalil Miah, deputy director of the DAE Moulvibazar office.
“Farmers will certainly be benefitted if they continue to work as per the instruction of the project officials”, he added.
Md Mostafizur Rahman, deputy commissioner of Moulvibazar, said Juri upazila has earned good reputation for producing quality oranges in a large scale.
The administration will provide all-out support to the orange growers, he added.