With sweet white scented flesh and crimson skin, lychees are almost ready to hit the market, according to farmers in Dinajpur, the northern district famous for production of the juicy summer fruit.
There are 3,000 large and small lychee orchards in 13 upazilas. This year, the orchards have covered 5,100 acres of land, according to the district horticulture department.
Bedana, Madrazi, Bombai, Kathali, China 2, and China 3 varieties are expected to hit the market by the end of this month if weather remains steady, said farmers.
Light rain and moderate temperature are conducive to lychee cultivation, according to the farmers. The fruit remains available in the market for up to 40 days after harvesting, they said.
Pradip Kumar Guha, deputy director at the Dinajpur horticulture department, said, “We estimate that, this season, around 30,000 tonnes of lychee will be produced in the district and trade worth Tk 550 crore will take place.”
Bedana, Bombai, and China -3 were the most popular varieties despite being comparatively expensive while lychees that grow in Biral, Khansama, and Dinajpur sadar were tastier because of the soil types there, according to local farmers.
Most commercial orchards are located at Mashimpur, Pulhat, Sikdarhat, Mohabbatpur, Ulipur, Khanpur in Dinajpur sadar, and Moheshpur and Madhabbati in Biral upazila. There are some non-commercial ones at households too.
During recent visits to some of these areas, this correspondent found trees full of the Madrazi variety. “Madrazi grows faster while Bombai takes longer to grow compared to the other varieties,” said Faruq Hossain, owner of an orchard at Husna Kamarpara in Biral upazila.
Imtiaz Hossain, an orchard owner in Mashimpur village, said, last year he suffered as Ramadan had begun right after harvest. “People hardly bought lychees and we had to sell them at very cheap rates. Also, we do not have storage facilities.”
“We are looking forward to a good harvest this season,” Imtiaz, who has 300 lychee trees on three acres of land, told this paper.
“Lychee grows everywhere in Bangladesh but the ones from Dinajpur are unique in taste and flavour,” said Rafiqul Islam, a fruit trader. “Farmers will be more benefited if the fruit was exported as well.”