'Catimon', a mango variety of Thailand, is giving mango round the year in Rajshahi region, including its vast Barind tract, breaking the existing record of around three and half months harvesting season of the delicious fruit from May to mid August.
Experts said the tree of exotic variety contains mango and flower or budding simultaneously giving yield three to four times in a year against the single one of the conventional varieties.
Umme Salma, district training officer of Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), said the new variety of Catimon mango is being cultivated on around 15 hectares of land here. As a result of taking care of the trees regularly, there is an inspiring growth of the fruits and the mangoes produced on the trees are being sold at a high price. For this reason, more farmers are interested in cultivating the variety.
Many growers have also raised nurseries alongside their orchards for selling Catimon saplings amid the increasing demand, she said.
Giving a salient feature of the variety she also said this mango isn't the seasonal variety of mango but it's testy and sweet and market demand is also high compared to other varieties.
Normally, mango harvesting and marketing take place from mid May to hardly mid August in the region from immemorial time.
But there is an exception in terms of the Catimon variety which is still available in the local markets. The mangoes are being sold at Taka 8,000 per mound at present meaning that Taka 200 per kilogram. One kilogram of mangoes contains four to five mangoes.
Dr Shafiqul Islam, principal scientific officer of Regional Fruit Research Station, said they are conducting research on Thailand's variety to assess its extent of disease infestation.
Local entrepreneurs brought the Catimon variety to Bangladesh from Thailand about six years ago and it quickly acclimatised to the local climate.
Since then, entrepreneurs in Rajshahi and its neighbouring districts have been increasingly turning to Catimon cultivation with about 250 farmers now growing the fruit.
However, the variety has already reached the farmers' level directly creating a new dimension in the field of mango farming. With the passing of time many high yielding mangoes and modern technologies are coming and enriching the mango production sector gradually vibrating the region's economic sector.
Shakatwat Hossain Munshi, a mango farmer of Kanaiprara village under Puthia upazila, said almost every year new varieties of mangoes are being cultivated here through testing their quality.
Rafiqul Islam has established an orchard of Catimon mango variety at his village inspiring many of his co-villagers to follow the path bringing a new dimension to the village's economy.
Islam, a farmer of Maria village in Durgapur upazila of the district, had collected 1,100 saplings of the variety at Taka 180 per piece from Dinajpur and transplanted those on 25 bighas of land on pond embankment around three years back. Flowers started appearing in the subsequent year.
Rafiqul Islam said the number of fruits was non-satisfactory due to less weight and height of trees in the following year. But, he got three to five kilograms of yield from each of the trees on an average during the last three consecutive seasons.
The Catimon trees were planted in rows of three alongside two rows of banana trees, and unlike traditional mango orchards, the trees were rarely higher than six feet. The agricultural entrepreneur developed mango orchards on the banks of at least 14 ponds on 200 bighas of leased land. This year, he harvested mangoes worth Taka 3.5 lakh.