Tuesday, 16 August, 2022

Growing lure of lotkon

Because of our colonial mindset, we have a tradition of considering imported foreign fruits as better fruit than the indigenous one. As a result, imported fruits dominate the market round the year. Although the arrival of mango in summer somewhat tips the balance to local fruits’ favour for a certain period of time, most of the other indigenous fruits receive little to no attention from consumers. Cultivation of most of the local fruits has been shrinking and many of the local fruits have disappeared.

Against this backdrop we are pleasantly surprised by a piece of news in a national daily that the demand for lotkon, one of our indigenous fruits, is growing both at local and international markets much to the delight of the farmers. Traditionally cultivated in Narsingdi, the delicious and nutritious lotkon has grown so much in popularity that this year farmers of the district are expecting to earn about Tk. 200 crore from selling this fruit. Many farmers have become self-reliant by cultivating it and many unemployed youths are now showing interest in lotkon farming.

According to agricultural officials, not long ago lotkon orchards covered only about 10 hectares in Narsingdi, but now it is being commercially cultivated at about 1,673 hectares of land in this district alone. Besides, cultivation of this sour-sweet fruit is also growing in Brahmanbaria, Mymensingh and Kurigram. In a word, lotkon has turned out to be a money-spinner for the farmers because of its growing popularity.  This fruit is also finding a good market in various countries in Europe and the Middle East.

We think similar efforts can be taken to popularise many of our local fruits which taste unique and are rich in nutritional value. A change of mindset will go a long way in this regard. Our English masters had popularised their cultures, food and the fruits they brought in. Because of foreign fruits’ worldwide acceptability, much research has been conducted on their food value and terms like ‘an apple a day keeps doctors away’ has been popularised. Only recently experiments have been done on some of our indigenous fruits, and it was found many of our fruits have greater food value than the imported ones. For instance a couple of lotkons a day can fulfil the body’s need for Vitamin C for the whole day. It is time to promote our own fruits.