Tea gardeners in Moulvibazar have seen a new business prospect in the market of coffee and started leaning towards coffee cultivation.
One such tea garden -- Mathiura Tea Garden -- in the district's Rajnagor Upazila already started cultivating coffee on a 44-acre land.
Ibadul Haque, senior manager of the tea garden, said they planted Arabic variety of 10,000 coffee trees on roadside land, around their bungalow and in other sections.
"We have planted coffee seedlings experimentally and the fruit has already started to grow," he said.
Mentioning the government ban on rubber cultivation on the tea gardens, he said, coffee could be a good alternative to rubber.
"We cannot rely on tea cultivation alone. The price of tea has been falling rapidly due to several crisis including of coronavirus. Thus, coffee could be an economically viable option," he said.
The senior tea planter also said that it was unfortunate that there was no coffee processing factory in Bangladesh. But coffee market has a bright future here.
He further mentioned that they collect coffee in two ways. One is the raw coffee and another is crushed.
In case of raw coffee, it needs to be crushed in a machine before drinking while processed coffee mostly serves clients as instant coffee, he added.
There is a huge demand of raw coffee in both Bangladeshi and foreign markets. There is a tendency that tea is mostly taken by the lower class people while coffee is for the elites.
The demand for coffee has been on the rise in the market and among young people, he said.
Our 10,000 seedlings can be harvested by the end of February next year. These trees are about five years old.
Senior tea planter Ibadul Haque said that the coffee cultivation gives new hope to the planters.
Kazi Fazlul Bari, deputy director of the Department of Agricultural Extension in Moulvibazar, told this correspondent that coffee has a great potential in this district.
It depends on the variety, the soil and the care. The agriculture minister himself has expressed his necessary opinion to popularise coffee cultivation in the district.