RAJSHAHI: Brisk trading along with high selling price of bananas has delighted the farmers and traders concerned during the month of Ramadan in the region.
Ripen banana is seen selling at a higher price everywhere in both wholesale and retail markets side by side with the vendors as demand of the fruit has enhanced to a greater extent.
Currently, the banana is being judged as one of the cash crops in the region, including its vast Barind tract, and its commercial farming has been gaining ground with farmers reaping a sound profit from the cropping.
Mamun Hossain, a farmer of Tanore upazila, said farmers benefited from banana farming more than any other crop. So, its farming is increasing side by side with other crops.
Moreover, when the trees are small in size, some other crops can be cultivated on the same land as companion crops.
Shahana Begum, a banana farmer of Pakuria village under Paba upazila, said this year, the price of bananas is satisfactory.
Umme Kulsum, Additional Deputy Director of Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), said banana is cultivated on comparatively high lands, free of water logging.
She said this year bananas were cultivated on more than 10,000 bigha of land than that of the last year. He said 300 to 350 banana plants can be transplanted on a bigha of land and it costs Tk 23,000 to Tk 25,000 to cultivate bananas on a bigha of land.
There was no problem in selling bananas because the wholesale traders purchased those from their field.
At present, a huge supply of banana is seen in the markets of Baneswar, Jhalmolia of Puthia upazila, Mollapara and Baya of Paba upazila, Mougacchi and Keshorhat of Mohanpur upazilas. But Puthia upazila was topping the list in cultivating bananas.
Dr Shafiqul Islam, principal scientific officer of Fruit Research Station in Rajshahi, said banana is one of the commercially important fruit crops in the region.
He said that bananas are one of the best fruits in Bangladesh. It’s tasty, easily accessible and nutritious. Fruit bagging technology is being widely used in commercial banana farming in many countries like the Philippines and Thailand.
Dt Islam opined that there are enormous scopes of promoting the technology in the cash crop farming. Diversified research activities are being carried out for production of best quality and spotless bananas.
Fruit bagging banana farming has been started here in order to make the cash crop farming hygienic and profitable.
Sujammel Haque and some of his fellows of neighbouring Birhasthail village under Paba upazila began banana farming in fruit bagging technology this year commercially.
Sujammel earned extra money from mango farming through using modern technology.
Shamsul Wadud, additional director of DAE, said banana cultivation is profitable. A good number of farmers in the region show their interest in banana production.