Malta cultivation is becoming very popular with farmers in Baghaichhari upazila of the district as it is a profitable crop.
“I cultivated 65 trees on one acre of land in 2013. Some of the trees bore fruit from 2014, and almost half the trees had maltas growing in 2016. This year, almost all the trees are giving fruit and the sale is good,” said Sumitra, 35, a Malta orchard owner in Tulaban village.
On a recent visit to the village, this correspondent saw ripe malta hanging from the branches, which were bowed down by the weight of the fruit. The weight of each malta is 250 gram to 300 gram.
“Last year, I sold more than Tk 80,000 worth of malta. I hope to get Tk 1.5 lakh this season, spending only Tk 25,000,” he said.
One kg of large and sweet malta is selling at Tk 100 in the local market, so people are happy to buy the fruit, Sumitra added.
After seeing the success of Sumitra, others have also become inspired and interested in cultivating malta.
Real Chakma, 32, said he was inspired by Sumitra to cultivate malta and got good production this year from his orchard.
Moha Ranjan Chakma, 35, a fruit trader, said he collected malta from the orchards this year. He sold them at high price because the quality of the fruit is good.
Deputy Director of the district Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) Krishno Prashad Mallik said malta was grown on 54 hectares of land and the production was 635 tonnes in the district this year. The yield has been good due to favourable weather, he added.
He said a pilot project was taken up for the first time in CHT with malta called Barri-1, adding that around 18,000 malta plant were distributed by DAE among the farmers in the district this year.