Orange cultivation is gaining popularity in Juri upazila under the district as the growers are getting bumper production of the popular fruit during the recent years.
Commercial orange farming in the area flourished as the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) provided the growers with necessary support including quality saplings during its five-year (2001- 2005) Orange Development Project. It was later extended till 2008.
There are 415 orange gardens covering 88 hectares of land in six unions under Juri upazila, agriculture officials said.
Many farmers of the area also cultivate orange in their homestead.
In 2012-2013 fiscal year (FY), 131 tonnes of orange was produced in Juri upazila against the target of 120 tonnes.
In the current 2013-2014 FY, the production stood at 140 tonnes against the target of 130 tonnes.
"I have been successfully cultivating orange in my orchard for the last seven years. As the fruit sells for good prices, a number of farmers have engaged in its cultivation," said Ibrahim Ali of Hayachera village.
Local farmers have urged the government to revive the expired Orange Development Project for further expansion of orange cultivation through providing quality saplings, trainings and technical support to the growers.
Many farmers who earlier struggled with poverty have improved their livelihood by cultivating orange after introduction of this project, said Md Abdul Jalil, Juri upazila sub assistant agriculture officer.
"The country spends huge foreign exchange every year for importing oranges from India and a few other countries. But the nutritious fruit can be grown in large quantities in Juri and its adjacent areas if the government extends necessary support," he added.