Cultivation of malta fruit has gained popularity in the country as farmers are making good profit by cultivating this tasty and juicy fruit.
Cultivation of the popular citrus fruit has been spreading in different districts since 2013-14 season after BARI developed a local variety malta.
Due to the sweetness of BARI-1 variety malta, people have started growing it in a massive scale across the country as the fruit has a great demand in the local markets.
Many orchard owners have started to cultivate the high value crop after being informed about its successful commercial cultivation in the country.
Besides, many people are cultivating malta in their home yard, balcony and roof in almost all the districts.
Under the Citrus Development Project of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), BARI-1 malta has been cultivated on 746 hectares of land in 17 districts, said Faridul Hassan, director of the project.
BARI-1 malta cultivation has gained grounds in Cox’s Bazar, Rangamati, Bandarban, Khagrachhari, Chittagong, Comilla, Brahmanbaria, Moulvibazar, Sylhet, Narsingdi, Gazipur, Tangail, Mymensingh, Netrakona, Sherpur, Thakurgaon and Panchagarh districts.
Farmers of many other districts have also started malta cultivation, he said.
Orchard owners in the 17 districts harvested 2368.4 tonnes of malta in 2017.
Malta production will double or triple in the current year as the trees planted in 2015 will produce fruits this year, he said.
Flowering stage of BARI malta-1 is between March and April and farmers can harvest it during September-October as it takes nine months to mature, the official said.
Mannath Sarker, Bangabandhu National Agriculture Award winning farmer in Bhaluka upazila of Mymensingh district, started malta cultivation with one plant in 2009.He is now getting fruits from 300 malta trees and has around 10,000 saplings for sale. He started selling BARI-1 malta in 2015.
The malta has a great demand on the local market as it is formalin free.
Now his yearly income is Tk 15 lakh through selling green malta fruit and saplings.
Farmers are interested in cultivating BARI-1 malta as the fruit variety is very juicy and tasty and it could be more profitable for farmers, especially for small and marginal ones.
It does not require fertile land and cultivation cost is comparatively less than other fruits while the land not suitable for traditional farming could be used for malta cultivation.