<i>Khagrachhari sees good harvest of Amrapali</i>
The growers of Khagrachhari district are happy with good yield and market price of hybrid mango Amrapali.
Harvest of the popular summer fruit is going on in full swing and plucking, processing and trading of the fruit have created temporary employment for hundreds of jobless people.
Rinku Dewan of Milanpur area in Khagrachhari town expects 20 to 25 tonnes of mango from around 1,000 Amrapali trees this season and he is already selling a kg of the fruit for Tk 40 to 60, depending on the quality and size.
"Five years ago I planted the trees on my three acres of hilly land at Tatultala in the district town, spending about Tk 1 lakh and 50 thousand. After three years I started getting the yield and earned about Tk 2 lakh and 40 thousand last year," said Rinku.
Owner of a five-acre Amrapali orchard, Bishwajit Chakma of Parachhara area of Sadar upazila said he has already got about Tk 65,000 by selling 30 maunds of Amrapali. He has employed 18 local jobless people in his orchard this season.
Both Rinku and Bishwajit said Amrapali growers in their neighbouring areas are also getting a good harvest this year and local buyers are getting more interested in Amrapali as the tasty variety is free from harmful chemicals.
They urged setting up a cold storage in the district to prevent early rotting of the popular fruit. It will help the growers to earn more and encourage mango farming on larger areas of land, they said.
Anil Chandra Roy, deputy director of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in Khagrachhari, attributed regular care, availability of fertilisers, timely irrigation and favourable weather to the bumper yield of Amrapali this season.
Following successful cultivation of Amrapali in the area about nine years ago, 2,063 hectares of hilly land in eight upazilas of Khagrachhari district has so far been brought under its cultivation.
In last year about 23,077 tonnes of mangoes were produced in the district and the target this season is about 30,000 tonnes, the official said.
Amrapali cultivation has brought solvency to many people in the district and DAE field-level officials are helping farmers to apply modern methods and get quality plants and other facilities, he said.
The climate and soil of Chittagong Hill Tracts are suitable for high yielding Amrapali cultivation and farmers get yield within three years of plantation with relatively less efforts, said the principal scientific officer of Hill Agriculture Research Station in Khagrachhari.