Malta growers in Rangamati district are happy with good yield and fair price of the delicious juicy fruit this year.
The hill district sees gradual rise in Malta cultivation as the fruit grown there is very tasty and usually of large size.
Each fruit weighs around 250 grams and one kg of it is now selling for Tk 80 to Tk 100 in local markets.
Ananta Chakma made a Malta orchard at his home yard in Chowdhury Chara village under Naniarchar upazila of Rangamati.
Visiting the spot a few days ago, this correspondent saw Ananta and his wife Madhumita taking care to Malta trees at their orchard.
Tree branches were seen bowing down with the weight of hanging ripe Malta.
“In 2014, I made an orchard on 2.5 acres of land where I planted 300 Malta, 200 guava and 200 orange trees,” said Ananta Chakma.
“For the first time, I started selling fruit from my 100 Malta trees in 2016. I sold the fruit worth over Tk 50 thousand from my orchard. The earning continued to rise in next two years. This year the fruit is selling well and I think I will get over Tk 1 lakh,” he said.
Hemo Kumar Chakma from Bodhipur village under Rangamati Sadar upazila also gained success in Malta cultivation.
Seeing their success, several others have become interested in cultivating Malta at different villages.
Sugata Chakma, 40, a fruit trader, said he usually collects Malta from Rangamati and sells it in Chattogram and Dhaka.
“Our customers show great interest for seasonal fruits from hill areas as we always try to sell pure organic fruits. Fruits grown in hill areas are often of high quality,” he added.
Officials at the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in Rangamati said they introduced cultivation of Bari-1 variety of Malta under a pilot project in Chattogram Hill Tracts in 2014. Later farming of Bari-2 Malta started in the hill region. Both saw success.
Last year, the DAE distributed about 30,000 Malta plants among the farmers in Rangamati, officials said.
Paban Kumar Chakma, deputy director of Rangamati DAE, said this year Malta has grown on 210 hectares of land in the district and the production target is 1890 tonnes.
The fruit sees good yield amid favourable weather this season, he added.