Date juice extractors passing busy time in Meherpur
MEHERPUR, Dec 4: Extractors (Gachhi) in the district are passing busy time in date juice collection and molasses making from the beginning of Agrahayan.
Once extractors were used to come from different parts of northern region to Meherpur and take leases of date orchards for collecting juice and making molasses and cake (patali). But due to disappearing of many date trees, they are no longer coming to Meherpur. Now local extractors are collecting juice and producing molasses.
Juice collection is going on in the district from dawn to 8-9 am. Again from afternoon to evening, jars are tied to trees.
Due to burning of date trees as fuel in brick kilns, the number of trees is declining. However, in the district, date orchards are still visible in Amdaha, Govipur and Pirojpur villages.
Moreover, there are date trees along the land edge, pond banks and roadsides. Juice is collected from these trees. When the date tree is 5-6 years old, juice collection from the tree can be started. The juice is extracted from the end of Bengali month Kartik to the month of Falgun. However, the more winter falls, the more juice there is.
According to the extractors, 40 kg of molasses is made from the juice of 80 to 90 trees every day. Now date molasses is being sold at taka 140 per kg.
Some extractors are selling raw juice. People are buying raw juice. Hundreds of people are making livelihood by ferrying juice.
Mukul Mia, an extractor of Govipur Village, said "If you want to get date juice, you have to do some work. The soft part of the surface of the tree is cut and a bamboo funnel is placed there. Again the nets have to be spread so that the birds do not eat the juice and do not spread any germs. Once the tree is cut, juice is available for two/three days."
When the cut part is dried in the sun, the juice is collected again.
Social Worker Mahbubul Haque Montu said, once there were fallow lands before; date trees would grow in negligence; rows of date plants could be seen along rural roads; these would keep balance in the environment.
In order to maintain environmental balance, date trees need to be planted along every roadside.
Deputy Director Swapan Kumar Khan of the DAE (Department of Agriculture Extension)-Meherpur, said the agriculture department is encouraging general public to plant date trees.
For good soil quality in Meherpur, the date juice and molasses are delicious.