Production of kagozi lebu, a kind of lime, fell fifty percent short of the target in the district this season thanks to unfavourable weather and onslaught of an 'unknown' disease in the fruit's orchards.
Farmers and agriculture officials said, most flowers dropped from the lime plants during fruiting stage this year due to poor rainfall and prolonged dry spell.
Besides, at many places fruit bearing plants died following attack of an unknown disease.
Sources concerned said, the juicy and vitamin-C enriched fruit was cultivated on 10,000 hectares of land, including in homesteads and fish enclosures, in four upazilas of the district this season.
Farming of the lemon variety fruit has increased gradually in the district due to its high demand and good market prices, they said.
Local farmers usually plant 100 lime saplings on one bigha of land. Each of the trees yields 1,000-1,500 fruits after flowering.
One kind of lime tree, however, gives yield all the year round.
Local agriculture officials said farmers were now cultivating limes on commercial basis by setting up orchards, adding that the orchards cover area ranging from 30 decimals to eight bighas.
Prashanta Howlader of Shatadashkathi village in Sadar upazila, who cultivated the fruit on his four bighas of land, said he did not get the expected yield this year due to prolonged dry spell and inadequate rainfall as well as spread of the disease.
“Production at my orchard was 50 percent less than the expected amount this year,” said the frustrated grower.
Echoing Prashanta, another big lime grower, Atul Mondal, of the same village said, lime production fell this year as the trees were infected with disease.
Contacted, A Aziz Khalifa, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) in Jhalakathi, said lime trees might have died being infected with one kind of disease named 'Diebak'.
The DAE official, however, said the disease can be checked if branches of the trees are cut off and sprayed with insecticides when the trees show symptoms of the disease.