Appearance of newly harvested litchi in local markets with lucrative price has made farmers happy at the beginning of harvesting season of the seasonal fruit in Rangpur agriculture division.
Officials of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) and market sources said ripe and half-ripe local varieties and some high yielding varieties of litchi already appeared in local markets with high prices now.
Currently, litchi varieties like Bombay, Mozaffarpuri and Madrazi are being sold at rates between Taka 300 and 350 per every one hundred while half-ripe high yielding China-3 variety at rates between Taka 550 and 650.
Fruit trader Fazlur Rahman at Rangpur City Bazaar said litchi traders from across the country have already flocked to the region and purchased the fruit in advance from most orchard owners like in previous seasons.
Talking to BSS, Horticulture Specialist of the DAE at its regional office Agriculturist Khondker Md. Mesbahul Islam said farmers expecting a bumper output of litchi if the climatic conditions remained normal till June next.
The farmers are confident of reaping huge profits following outstanding blossoming in litchi trees followed by smooth formation of tender fruit amid favourable climatic conditions and frequent rainfalls this time.
“About 95 percent of litchi trees in orchards and homesteads on 1,750 hectares of land had bloomed massively this season in all five districts of the region,” Islam added.
With assistance of agriculture officials, farmers conducted better agronomic management and sprayed pesticides as per recommended dose to prevent powdery nose mildew or anthrax attack on young leaves or tender fruits resulting to bumper litchi yield.
Regional Additional Director of the DAE Mohammad Ali said litchi farming has brought a silent economic revolution making hundreds of rural farmers self-reliant through its cultivation in the region.
The farmers cultivated litchi on 1,551 heaters of land and produced 13,285 tonnes of the fruit worth over Taka 133 crore last year in the region.
“However, the production might cross 15,000 tonnes worth Taka 150 crore this year as farmers have cultivated litchi on 1,750 hectares of land and the fruits grew superbly,” Ali said.
Cultivation of litchi is expanding consistently bringing fortune to many farmers following repeated bumper production with excellent market price attracting them in farming litchi on commercial basis in last ten years.
“Huge jobs are also being created for farm-labourers in harvesting, packaging and marketing of litchi in the region as harvesting process is getting momentum,” he added.
Harvest of early varieties litchi like Bombay, Mozaffarpuri and Madrazi has already begun while high yielding and hybrid varieties like Bedana and China-3 will start by next month and late variety Kanthali litchi from end of June next, he added.
Talking to BSS, farmers Abdul Mannan, Abu Musa and Faruk Hossain of village Zamubari in Badarganj upazila here said they are cultivating Bombay, Madrazi and China-3 varieties of litchi on two acres of land each for last one decade.
“We have already started harvesting Bombay and Madrazi varieties of litchi and getting excellent price while harvest of the high-priced and high yielding variety China-3 litchi will begin from second week of June next,” said Faruk.
Farmers Liyakat Ali, Abdus Sobhan, Ekramul Haque and Shahidul of nearby village Balapara said they have cultivated Madrazi, Bombay and China-3 varieties of litchi on their orchards on one to two acres of land each.
“We are expecting to earn a minimum net profit of Taka 1.50-lakh per acre of land after completing harvest and marketing of the fruit if the climatic condition remains favorable during the next on month,” said Haque.
Farmers Lokman, Harish Chandra and Kafil of village Salaipur in Mithapukur upazila said they have cultivated Bombay and China-3 varieties of litchi on their one acre of land each and they are expecting a record litchi output to earn excellent profits this time.
“Litchi farming has become highly profitable than many other crops allowing farmers to earn Taka 1.50-lakh to Tk two-lakh per acre of land annually,” said Deputy Director of the DAE at its regional office Md. Moniruzzaman.
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