Banana bonanza in Natore
Bulbul Ahmed, Natore
Cultivation of banana is gaining popularity in six upazilas of the district.
The farmers, like other northern districts, are cultivating banana on a large scale on their lands and earning huge profits by selling the fruits in different markets of the country.
This year about 645 hectares of land have been brought under banana cultivation and the area is expanding every year.
Expecting a bumper banana production in the district, Delwar Hossain, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) in Natore, said “The growers have so far exceeded our target of 500 hectares”.
In 2007/2008 around 475 hectares were brought under banana cultivation. The figure rose to 495 hectares in 08/09 and more than 500 hectares in 09/10 season, officials said.
Farmers are likely to harvest 28,000 to 30,000 tonnes of yield this season, as both the soil and the climate here are favourable for producing banana.
“More than 4,000 farmers are engaged in commercial cultivation of this crop, which is estimated to fetch them around Tk 20 crores as the fruit is sold at around Tk 5,000 per tonne,” said Delwar.
Traders purchase almost 90 per cent of the banana produced in Natore and transport those to different markets across the country for domestic consumption, Delwar added.
At least 10 varieties of banana, including sagar, sabri, anupam, gerang, champa and kanch kala are produced in the six upazilas of the district.
The main cultivation areas include Bangabaria, Ruyerbhag, Chandrakola, Dulerbhag, Chaugachi, Bonpara and Lochangor while Natore, Bonpara Bazar, Habidpur Bazar and Tokia are some of the busiest points in the district for transporting banana.
Azadul Haq of Bangabaria area under Sadar upazila is one of the many farmers who have changed their lot cultivating banana.
He once used to grow sugarcane in that area but now he is fully engaged in banana cultivation. For the last five years he has been making considerable profit from the item.
“Today I earn Tk 80,000 to 90,000 a year from each acre, at a production cost of Tk 25,000 to 30,000”, said Dulu Mia, another banana grower in the area.
Shafiqul Islam, also a farmer, said he is earning Tk 2000 to 5000 on an average by cultivating banana on the lands around his homestead.
The market price and demand for banana is very good. Sagor item is the best for profit although manik, sabri and champa are also cultivated widely in this area, said Mofiz Ali of Dolerbhag village.
Sukur Ali, another banana farmer in Chandrakola village, said banana cultivation is very simple and easy as it needs no use of chemical fertilizers and little care.
Last year some farmers incurred loss as a nor’wester hit the orchards and damaged most of the banana trees. But this year there was no such incident. So the farmers are expecting a high yield and good profit, locals said.