Banana cultivation is increasing in 13 upazilas over more than one thousand hectares of land in Dinajpur. Many people are becoming self-reliant by cultivating bananas, according to Agriculture Department sources.
Farmers say that the cost of cultivating high yielding bananas is low and thus profitable. Many farmers without their own land have become self-reliant by cultivating bananas on leased land. As high yield varieties, the cultivation of meher, shagor, shobri and sundari (malbhog) bananas is high along with native variety chinichampa.
The high profit has resulted in farmers and traders competing in producing a good variety of bananas. Banana pods are growing within three-four months of planting seedlings, with six to eight rows of bananas in every pod.
According to sources, big wholesale markets for banana sales have been established in three areas. From these markets 20-25 trucks of the fruit are sold every day. At the upazila and smaller levels, sales are going well at Bahadur Bazar, NA Market, Chok Bazar, Sikder Hat, Rail Bazar and Gopalganj Bazar.
The bananas from the district are being supplied to different markets of the country including Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Barisal, Pabna, Sirajganj, Bogra, Joypurhat and Mymensingh through these wholesale markets.
Farmer Kuddus said he is cultivating bananas for several years. If you invest a little money in banana cultivation, then you get good profits. Production cost per acre is around 35 thousand taka and 70 thousand taka will be the selling price.
Informing that they sell the produce directly from the field to traders, he said, “As a result, transport costs do not incur.”
Meanwhile, there are allegations that some unscrupulous businessmen cut unripened bananas in the hope of higher profits and ripen them in clay huts by burning a kerosene stove or with smoke or chemical spray.
District Agricultural Director Md Towhidul Islam said that high yielding bananas are grown on 116 hectares of land this year, meaning 900 bananas per acre can be harvested with production cost of 35-40 thousand taka. Each pod will be sold at 100-120 taka. The bananas produced per acre will thus be sold at Tk 80-90 thousand.
He also said that ordinary farmers of the district do not spray the banana with artificial ripeners. It can happen after the selling of the crops and supplying it outside, he said.