People earn extra farming satkara, pomelo
Hasanat Kamal . Moulvibazar
Satkara and pomelo, two citrus fruits grown in the yard of most homesteads at Gualbari union at Juri upazila in Moulvibazar, are bringing extra earnings to the local people as their prices have recently increased.
While the local inhabitants at the union, comprising more than 10 villages, are largely dependent on rice, vegetables and orange farming and consider Satkara and pomelo as source of additional earnings, traders think that there should be planned cultivation of the fruits to meet the increasing market demand.
Satkara (Citrus macroptera), a big lemon-like fruit, is a native species of greater Sylhet and grows abundantly without much care in the hilly land of Juri, Baralekha and Kulaura upazilas of Moulvibazar and Bianibazar upazila of Sylhet. The fruit or its juice is rarely taken raw rather it is used in cooking. Meat or fish cooked with satkara are much adored delicacies in traditional Sylheti cuisine.
Pomelo, locally known as jambura, vastly grows in many regions of the country as well as greater Sylhet.
In a recent visit to Paschim Kuchairtal, Dakkhin Kuchairtal, Pub Kachurgul and several other villages of Gualbari union, around 58 kilometres east of Moulvibazar sadar, this correspondent found the homesteads abounding with the two plants.
According to the villagers, almost every family of these villages has at least 10 Satkara and pomelo trees in their yards while some of the families own as many as 60 trees of each of the fruits. Both pomelo and satkara trees bear 200 to 500 fruits each a year.
Suruj Ali and Moklesur Rahman, inhabitants of village Pub Kachurgul, said these villages are inhabited by around 3,000 families almost all of whom have these trees in their yard.
This year Satkara is selling for Tk 1,000-2,500 per 100 pieces while as many pomelo fruits sell for Tk 800-1,200 at the wholesale market in Juri town, said Moklesur. The prices vary depending on the fruit size.
The villagers, however, mostly prefer to sell the produce at their doorstep at a rate cheaper than that of the wholesale market. The middlemen, buying the fruit are going from door to door and taking it to the town.
Suruj Ali said each family has earned Tk 15,000-Tk 25,000 this year from selling the fruits. ‘It is our extra income,’ he said.
The Department of Agriculture Extension office in Moulvibazar town could not give any information about the number of pomelo and satkara trees in the district or their production. They have not any plan to motivate the local people about planned cultivation of the two fruits, said the officials.
MA Ahad, president of Moulvibazar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, observed that the commercial prospect of these two fruits was increasing gradually.
‘There was a time when pomelo trees were abundant in the whole country and so it did not much sell in the market. But with the decrease of land number of pomelo trees is reducing. Now people particularly in the urban areas have to buy this fruit,’ he said.
He also identified gaps between the current demand and supply of Satkara in the greater Sylhet region and abroad.
‘While the supply cannot fully meet the existing market demand of Satkara, its demand is rising every year,’ he said, adding that there was a huge unmet demand of the fruit in England, having a large concentration of people with Sylhet origin.
The departments concerned should take planned measures to motivate people about the commercial production of the two fruits and provide them with necessary assistance, said MA Ahad.