A vast swath of field in Chapainawabganj Sadar upazila, earlier used to grow paddy, has turned into a mango orchard as cultivation of the delicious summer fruit brings more profit. PHOTO: STAR
Many farmers in five upazilas under the district are turning their crop fields into mango orchards as several tasty varieties of the popular summer fruit grown in the area have high demand throughout the country.
There are over 19 lakh mango trees on 24,250 hectares of land in Chapainawabganj this year whereas in 2002, there were only 12 lakh mango trees on 15,753 hectares of land in the district, said sources of the Department of Agriculture Extension.
Croplands in the district see a gradual decrease due to fast expansion of mango orchards, said agriculturists.
Abul Hossain of Bagdanga village of Sadar upazila has made mango orchards on his five bighas of land that was earlier used to grow crops.
"Earlier crop farming earned only Tk 4,000 to 5,000 from one bigha of land in a year. But we can easily earn Tk 20 thousand to 30 thousand from one bigha mango orchard in a year. Besides, we can grow other items like turmeric and vegetables under the shade of mango trees," he said.
"We did not get fair price for paddy and other crops grown on our lands, but we can easily sell mango for good prices," said Moshiur Rahman, who has made mango orchards on ten bighas of his ancestral land at Amnura in Sadar upazila in five years.
Increasing number of farmers are engaging in commercial cultivation of mango due to its better benefit, said Dr Azizur Rahman, Sadar upazila agriculture officer.
Earning and livelihood of a large number of people in Chapainawabganj is dependent on mango cultivation.
The district has a long tradition of producing at least 350 varieties of high quality mangoes, said scientists and agricultural officials.
According to FAO, cropping patterns in the north-western districts of Bangladesh have already seen a remarkable shift from mainly rice based cropping systems towards more integrated systems with the expansion of mango orchards in recent years.
An extended coverage with trees is expected to decrease temperatures, increase rainfall, and help counterbalance the negative impact of deforestation, they said.