Malta brings smile to growers
Agri office says there are 300 malta orchards in Narsingdi
In the past three to four years malta cultivation has spread in different districts of Bangladesh — starting from hill districts Khagrachhari and Rangamati to Pirojpur, Chuadanga, Rajshahi, Panchagarh, Mymensingh and Narsingdi. Many malta orchards are growing and farmers are making good profit by cultivating this juicy and nutritious fruit. Many others have cultivated it in their home yard in almost all districts, out of their extreme passion.
After BARI brought the variety BARI-1 malta, many people started growing the fruit. One of the main reasons people started growing this massively is because of the sweetness of this particular variety.
In February this year, I featured success story of malta farmer Reboti Sikder who lives in Pirojpur. Reboti grew BARI-1 following all the appropriate methods. So that he could get the best colour and also sweetness. His orchard still is one of the most attractive malta orchards I have ever been to.
Reboti’s success has spread all over the country and has illuminated many farmers to grow this high value crop. A few days back I went to see a remarkable malta orchard at Munsefer Char in Narsingdi’s Shibpur. The orchard covering around one bigha of land is owned by Jahangir Alam. Jahangir started this orchard two years back. Although the size of the orchard is not that big, in only fifty malta trees he grew plenty of the fruit. Many luscious maltas all over Jahangir’s orchard.
“I’m using a bamboo to hold the weight of so many maltas,” says Jahangir.
You can guess how many maltas are there in Jahangir’s orchard. The orchard looks so clean and beautiful and of course heavenly. I talked with Jahangir about how he’s maintaining all these.
“Cleanliness is one of the first priorities in my orchard. I don’t look for profits first, I look for growing something pure and nutritious for all with honesty and labour,” says Jahangir.
Dear readers, you can guess the secret behind success of our farmers. That’s how it’s been happening since our liberation and farmers have truly contributed to development up until today. That’s how agriculture has become the spine of our economy.
According to DAE (Department of Agricultural Extension) in Narsingdi there are around 300 malta orchards. Each of these three hundred orchards has at least 100 malta trees inside. There are also some orchards where there are less than a hundred malta trees. Overall, there are around 800 malta orchards – small and big – in Narsingdi district.
“I follow all the right methods as shown by agriculture officers and also put some of my indigenous knowledge to grow healthy and fresh maltas,” says Jahangir.
“I am a perfectionist and I don’t want to spoil what I have started. I have to concentrate hard and think sharply everyday,” adds Jahangir.
Jahangir affirms that he has been very much inspired by media as he has seen others growing maltas so abundantly and successfully. He paid his utmost gratitude to the agriculture officers and to Hridoye Mati O Manush for massive campaign on malta cultivation.
“My malta will surpass others, in taste and colour,” confidently says Jahangir.
Jahangir’s orchard is now regarded as one of the most successful orchards in the district to the local agriculture department and upcoming entrepreneurs.
“This is the model malta orchard and we’re sending many farmers to visit Jahangir’s orchard,” says Nazmul Kabir, UAO (Union Agriculture Officer) of Shivpur, Narsingdi.
“The colour, quality and taste of Jahangir’s maltas is just so perfect,” adds the UAO.
I have also had the chance to talk with some interested entrepreneurs who would start growing maltas in near future.
“The way Jahangir has done it, it’s superb and I am definitely thinking positively on doing one like him,” says Baten, a young entrepreneur.
Echoing the same, many others said they look forward to reaching the peak of success, following what Jahangir has done.
Looking into the prospect of making great profits from malta, Jahangir has prepared six acres of land for future orchard.
“I regard this one bigha malta orchard as an experimental ground. The future is yet to arrive,” boldly says Jahangir.
Jahangir invested Tk 50,000 in the beginning and he hopes he’ll get at least Tk 3 lakh this season.
One funny thing is at the very beginning when Jahangir first started his malta orchard, he found some orange trees. Those are giving him round the year fruits. And, he dreams of starting an orange orchard in the coming days too.
“Looking at the great prospect of malta in the entire Shibpur upazila we have distributed 15,000 malta saplings two years back and Jahangir’s orchard is also in our consideration,” says Ariful Islam Mridha, local upazila parishad chairman.
Dear readers, after successful cultivation of high value crop baukul, Thai guava, dragon fruit and strawberry, malta has created a positive hype across Bangladesh. Farmers are now more keen to grow BARI-1 malta variety. They have seen positive outcome already and many others see great prospect in malta.
I hope in a few years, with the great initiative of ideal malta farmers like Reboti and Jahangir, we would be able to cut the dependence on import of this juicy, nutritious fruit. And, Bangladesh will definitely spread its own maltas across the world.