Commercial betel leaf farming going on in dists
Betel leaf farming has increased across the country. To meet the local demand, its commercial farming has begun in districts including Naogaon and Khagrachhari.
DHAMOIRHAT, NAOGAON: Commercial farming of betel leaf has begun in Dhamoirhat Upazila of the district.
A successful grower Mozammel Haque, son of late Shamsuddin of Altadighee Village in Dhamoirhat Union of the upazila has started drawing others to follow his suit. Also, encouraging assistance from agriculture department is inspiring others to cultivate it.
Paddy is farmed in vast areas of the upazila. Most of the soil in the upazila is slime. Yet agriculture department's promptness and farmers' demand are drawing in farming of different vegetables in the locality. Farmers are becoming financially self-reliant.
Farmer Mozammel Haque raised his betel leaf orchard in 12-decimal land. Within one and a half years, his orchard became full of betel leaves.
He said, "One and a half years back, I collected stems of betel leaf from the home of my son-in-law in Bishnupur Village of Joypurhat Sadar Upazila. I planted those in the land beside my home. But I faced setback in protecting the plants from rain this year."
The betel leaf plucking has begun after six months of plantation. The orchard was raised at about Tk 1 lakh. Per bira (64 pieces) betel leaf is selling at Tk 20 to 25. At present, betel leaf worth about Tk 2,000 is selling every week from the orchard. He has to spend about Tk 2,000 per month for plucking.
Villagers are purchasing betel leaf from the orchard at fair price.
At present, Mozammel Haque is dreaming to become self-reliant by selling betel leaf.
A social welfare activist of Boro Chak Gopal Village ATM Fasiul Alam said, "I was thrilled after visiting Mozammel Haque's orchard. Huge leaves have grown there."
Upazila Agriculture Officer Md Selim Reza said, betel leaf is well-known as a spicy crop. Presently, its consumption is increasing day by day. Once, a betel leaf sapling is planted, it lives for 25 to 30 years.
If farmers are interested to cultivate betel leaf, they will be assisted in all ways, he added.
DIGHINALA, KHAGRACHHARI: Betel leaf farming is increasing in Dighinala Upazila of the district.
Encouraged by local agriculture department, growers are becoming interested. Already, the production of betel leaf has crossed the local demand.
According to sources concerned, after meeting the demand of the upazila, betel leaves are being sent to Langadu and Baghaichhari upazilas of Rangamati District and Sadar Upazila of Khagrachhari.
Once, wholesalers would come to Dighinala Upazila from plain areas with betel leaf. Now in Dighinala, betel leaves are being grown in large scale. The leaves are being sent to plain areas from here.
Dighinala can be a potential upazila for betel leaf farming if supervising and monitoring is continued by the agriculture department, growers and locals said.
Most of the betel leaf orchards are located in Boalkhali, Dighinala and Babuchhara unions. Tribal people cultivate betel leaves in many of these areas.
One grower Nazar Chakma, 35, in Boradom area in Dighinala Union said, "Paddy farming gives poor profit. So, I have started betel leaf farming in one-acre land. This year's yield has been good. I did not receive training from agriculture office."
He said, he sells betel leaves in market, and many times, wholesalers come to purchase from his land.
Upazila Sub-Assistant Agriculture Officer Supan Chakma said the department only gives advice on disease control in betel leaf farming to farmers but no financial assistance. Farmers cultivate betel leaves on own initiative.
There is huge potential for betel leaf farming in Dighinala. Farmers can be benefitted by farming betel leaf instead of tobacco, he asserted.
Betel leaf traders in the upazila like Parimal Dey and Babul Dey said, "Earlier we would bring betel leaves from plains. Now betel leaves grow hugely in Dighinala."
If the trend continues, betel leaf growers will be more inspired and locally huge market will be created, they added.