Jashore date palm sap collectors active as winter approaches
Date palm sap collectors, locally known as gachhis, are passing busy time for preparing the date trees for the purpose in different areas of Jashore district as the time for getting the winter delicacy is likely to start a bit earlier this year.
The potters are busy making clay-made jars that are used for holding juice extracted from the date trees while cleavers used for barking tree trunks and large flat cauldrons used for boiling juice are in high demand.
Jashore is famous for date juice and high quality solid molasses prepared by boiling the juice.
Rural areas of the district see a festive mood in winter as gachhis move from tree to tree for collecting juice, and solid molasses, locally called patali gur, is prepared in large scale.
The best quality of molasses is known as ‘Nalini Patali’.
Pure date juice, taken as a tasty drink, is very nutritious.
Five kg of juice can be made into one and a half kg of solid molasses and it sells for good prices, said Bablur Rahman of Mathpukuria village in Jashore Sadar upazila.
Last year, 2,000 tonnes of molasses was produced in the district while this year’s target is about 2,359 tonnes as sap will be collected from about one lakh date trees, said Hirak Kumar Mondol, Manirampur upazila agriculture officer, who also deals with date trees under the Department Agriculture Extension (DAE) in Jashore.
Abdul Jalil, a gachhi of Khajura Mathpara village in Jashore Sadar, said, “This season, I am tending 39 date trees. If the juice can be taken early in the season, the item and molasses produced from it will bring good price.”
He lamented that date trees are less available now and many gachhis are changing their ancestral profession.
In winter, a variety of home-made cakes made with date juice and molasses add spices to rural life.
Emdad Hossain, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture Extension in Jashore, said, date trees grow abundantly in the district due to favourable climate.
“Jashore’s traditional date tree cultivation and juice and molasses production is on decline as many rural people of the present generation are not much interested about it. Steps have been taken to plant date trees in different areas,” he said.