Idris Ali of Kurigram’s Nageswari upazila is awaiting success in cultivating dates from Saudi Arabia.
Nine of his 84 trees have produced dates in his plantation this year, reports our Kurigram correspondent.
Idris, 52, son of Shahor Ali of Kamarpara village under Nageswari municipality, is the second among his six siblings and had been educated up to primary level.
He is cultivating dates of four varieties from Saudi Arabia in 27 decimals of land in nearby Malbhanga village. Some date trees bore fruits cluster-wise that will be fit for consumption within two months.
Idris Ali said, “My younger brother Eunus Ali, 38, who is working in Saudi Arabia, sent me some date saplings from there in 2014. The date plants are being cultivated here according to his advice. My father and brothers also take care of the trees. Every year each tree gives rise to some new plants from its base. As we plant those separately, some survive while some do not. In 2017, I planted around 500 saplings in another land, but all were damaged by flood.”
“Later I expanded the plantation with 84 trees. For the first time this year, nine of 84 trees have so far produced 17 clusters of date fruit. I have kept the fruits covered with baskets, so that those are not damaged by hail or rain. Usually, the trees from new saplings bear fruits about five years and produce new plants from second year after being planted,” Idris said.
“I shall expand the date cultivation in the coming year as I am expecting a good yield this year. To see my date plantation, many curious people come here every day and express their interest to buy the date saplings,” Idris said.
“I took advice of local agriculture official. According his advice, I planted saplings by preparing beds in the land. Sometimes I gave cow-dung, chicken litter, vermicompost fertiliser and chemical fertilisers such as TSP, MOP and urea in the soil, and also sometimes sprayed pesticides on the trees,” he said.
“I secured Diploma in Electrical Engineering in 1999 and went to Saudi Arabia for a job in 2002. I have been working on electrical maintenance in a private company at Al-Jubail area under Dammam in Saudi Arabia,” Eunus Ali, 38, said over phone.
“I watched an agriculture programme of Shaikh Siraj on Channel i on farmer Motaleb Hossain’s date farming in Mymensingh’s Bhaluka upazila in 2005 and was inspired for date cultivation in my home in Bangladesh. Then I observed how to plant date saplings and farming those in Dammam,” Eunus said.
“At first I sent 15 date saplings to home in 2014 through a Bangladeshi expatriate while he returned home from Saudi Arabia. I sent the saplings in a packet. My elder brother Idris Ali received it from the airport,” Eunus said.
“After he received those, I described him about the date cultivation process. He planted those according to my advice. I sent around 200 more saplings of four varieties of date in about ten times from Saudi Arabia. The varieties are Ajwa, Khelus, Helalee and Barhee. The costly variety is Ajwa, but the highest yield comes from the Helalee variety that gives fruits up to 500 kilogrammes per year,” Eunus said.
“I advised my brothers to expand date cultivation in two acres of land. Already 16,000 date seeds have been sent to Bangladesh by parcel this year. We would begin to sell the saplings and seeds from 2022. After some years, I expect to sell date fruits worth at least Tk 1 crore per year,” he added.
“I visited Idris’ Saudi date plantation. Fruits have come to some trees and their growths are being found well.” Nageswari Upazila Agricultural Officer Md Samsuzzaman said.