A farmer successfully cultivated malta in his homestead and inspired others to grow the delicious fruit in Sadar upazila of Rangamati.
Hemo Kumar Chakma, 42, of Bodhipur village said he planted 150 malta trees on one acre of land in 2014 and now he has about 100 trees. Some of the trees bore fruit in 2016 and almost half of the trees bore fruit in 2017, he added.
This correspondent on Wednesday saw Hemo and his wife Nilo Mala Chakma, 35, taking care of malta trees at his orchard. The branches were bowed down by the weight of the fruit, each of which weighs 250 grams to 300 grams.
“In 2016, I sold more than Tk 50,000 worth of malta,” Hemo said, adding that he earned Tk 80,000 last year and hoped to get around Tk 1 lakh this year.
One kg of malta is selling at Tk 100 in the local market, he said. Hemo invested only Tk 25,000 in the beginning and has earned about Tk 3 lakh in the last three years.
After seeing the success of Hemo, other farmers have also become interested in cultivating malta.
Bijoy Kumar Chakma, 35, said he was inspired by Hemo to cultivate the fruit. “I got good production this year from my garden,” he added.
Fruit trader Jimit Chakma said he collects malta from Hemo's orchard because the quality is good and the fruit sells well in the market.
Rangamati Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) Deputy Director (DD) Paban Kumar Chakma said a pilot project was taken up in the CHT in 2014 with malta called Barri-1, which was successful.
Malta was grown on 54 hectares of land in the district and production was 635 tonnes, Paban said.