Longan: newest exotic fruit in C’nawabganj
New and exotic tropical fruit longan, an off-seasonal fruit in the country, is likely to gain popularity in Chapainawabganj for its taste and demands at markets.
With taste similar to lychee -- its better-known family member from soapberry species of the fruit, Longan has a bright prospect in the district where lychee grows in abundance for its climate conditions.
Longan originates is southern China. But currently the fruit is being grown widely in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Taiwan. Longan is even grown in parts of Australia, the Caribbean islands and the US.
Owing to its export value, the fruit is also being grown commercially in many other countries across the world, said horticulturists at Chapainawabganj Horticulture Centre.
The tropical fruit is gradually gaining popularity among orchard owners in the country for its high demands at local markets. Many enthusiastic orchard owners already started growing longan plants on a small scale alongside other fruit trees in their orchards. Many people have also been growing the fruit on rooftops.
Almost spherical shaped yellow-brownish longans usually hang in clusters from its branches. Its thin, firm and bark-like shell covers its white translucent pulp that surrounds a large black seed. The flesh has a musky sweet taste that can be compared to the taste of lychee.
Longan starts ripening from July end till August, when other popular domestic seasonal fruits are not available.
Because it grows best in tropical and subtropical climates, the soil and climate condition in Chapainawabganj is also suitable for longan, said the horticulturists at Chapainawabganj Horticulture Centre.
Horticulturist Mohammad Habibullah said one of their scientists brought three longan plants from Vietnam about twelve years ago and another scientist of the same centre brought another longan plant from Thailand nearly four years ago and all the four plants were planted in the horticulture centre.
Following thorough research and observation on the plants, the scientists there decided to expand farming of longan in Chapainawabganj, said Mozdar Hossain, deputy director of Chapainawabganj Horticulture Centre.
They already grew some saplings of longan and sold those to orchard owners and others. Many of them have been harvesting the fruit over the last two or three years.
Mozdar hoped that after meeting local demands, longan grown in the country will be exported overseas where demand is very high.
With that view in mind, the horticulture centre will grow around 1,000 saplings from the four mother trees and sell each sapling for Tk 50, he added.