The hill district sees bumper watermelon yield this season, much to the delight of the growers.
The juicy summer fruit has already started arriving in the local markets with huge quantity. The prices, however, remain high.
Currently, a big size melon is selling for Tk 100 to Tk 150 in the district town and a small size for Tk 50 to Tk 80, said farmers.
The growers are showing interest in cultivating the fruit for its fair price, said officials at Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in Rangamati.
About 200 hectares of land have been brought under watermelon cultivation this year while the fruit was cultivated on 150 hectares of land last year, they said.
During a recent visit to Samataghat Bazar in Rangamati town, this correspondent found the growers selling watermelons on their engine-run boats. The market at Samataghat bazar is set up twice every week (Wednesday and Saturday).
The juicy fruit is mostly cultivated in Naniarchar, Baghaicchari, Jurachhari, Barkal, Longadu and Sadar upazilas. Growers are now harvesting watermelon in their lands.
Suraja Chakma of Rangapani village in Rangamati Sadar upazila said she bought a watermelon from College gate bazar in the town recently. It was very tasty.
Harun Mia, a farmer of Myni area in Longadu upazila, said he cultivated watermelon on two bighas of land spending Tk 40,000. He has already sold the juicy fruit for Tk 30,000 till now. He is still expecting over one lakh watermelons from his land.
Another grower Ronal Chakma, 35, of Naniarchar upazila, said he cultivated the fruit on two acres of land.
He hopes he will get 1 lack watermelons from his land this time.
Trader Mohammad Ismail Hossain from Chattogram, who came to the weekly market, said watermelon in the hill district has huge demand in Dhaka, Chattogram and other parts of the country as the fruit is very sweeter here.
Rangamati DAE Deputy Director Paban Kumar Chakma said they always provided necessary assistance to the growers to help them to get better yield.