Riding on higher profitability than other conventional crops such as rice, fruit farming has been increasing steadily in Pirojpur. Consequently, fruit orchards are being visible in the district more than ever before.
Farmers said that while their investment on Aman rice has been producing diminishing returns, cultivating fruits has yielded larger dividends in recent years.
“Last year I bought eight decimals of land and cultivated three varieties of jujube (Kul) there. I made good profit this year as the yield [of the fruit] has been good,” said farmer Younus Ali Howlader, from Pattashi village in Indurkani upazila.
Encouraged by his success, many others in the area have been showing interest in fruit cultivation, he also said.
“At the beginning of fruit cultivation, a good amount of money has to be spent on land preparation and planting of saplings. But then, we are set for at least the next ten years when we continue to get fruits,” said Ayub Ali, another fruit farmer from the same village.
Among all other fruit choices, cultivation of malta has seen the highest jump in Pirojpur over the past decade.
According to data from the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in Pirojpur, malta cultivation in the district has reached to 127 hectares of land in 2019-20 fiscal year, from 5 hectares in 2010-11 fiscal year.
In the meantime, production of other fruits has also increased in the district. Currently, there are mango orchards on 532 hectares of land, litchi on 36 hectares, jujube on 130 hectares, guava on 866 hectares and hog plum on 429 hectares of land.
Ibrahim Sarder, sub-assistant agriculture officer in Indurkani upazila, said that along with number of fruit orchards, its production has also increased in the upazila.
“There are nearly 50 jujube orchards in Indurkani upazila now and all of those were made in the last two to three years,” he said, adding that the number of other fruit orchards such as malta and litchi has also been on the rise in the upazila.
Chinmoy Roy, deputy director of DAE in Pirojpur, said with demand for fruits as well as returns on investment on fruit farming continues to grow, more and more farmers have been choosing to try their hand at fruit farming. “Subsequently, we have been providing every possible support to the farmers.”