By successfully cultivating rambutan, which is a luxury for many, Jamal Uddin, a farmer in Narsingdi’s Shibpur upazila, has not only made his fortune but also given hope to local farmers.
The delicious exotic tropical fruit, which looks like a lychee when peeled, is widely grown in Thailand, Malaysia, as well as Indonesia, and is imported to Bangladesh to meet the high demand in the country.
The Agricultural Department has said Narsingdi’s wet lands are suitable for growing rambutan, which unlocks the possibility of growing the fruit in the area.
Jamal told the Dhaka Tribune that he brought back to his village of Oshtain in Narsingdi 1kg of rambutan from Brunei in 2006 after finishing his work there.
He first planted a seed in his yard and a seedling grew.
Later, he planted 17 saplings in his baccaurea motleyana [or lotkon] garden, from which grew seven plants.
In 2012, a few fruits were seen in a plant, which Jamal decided not to sell. In 2013, for the first time, he sold 12kgs at Tk10,000. In 2014, he sold 55kg for Tk50,000, and the next year he made Tk60,000 by selling 66kgs of rambutan.
This year, he sold 500kgs at Tk500,000, which means he is selling each fruit at Tk20-30.
He said: “In the beginning, the fruit was not that familiar to people, which is why there was low demand for it. However, with the fruit growing more popular over the years, its demand and price have increased.
“Now, wholesalers from Dhaka are also showing interest in buying the fruit,” he added.
“People visit my house simply to look at the rambutan trees. Many are interested in growing the fruit and its saplings are now available in Narsingdi,” he further said.
Another local farmer, Rajib Ali, said: “Jamal’s success in cultivating rambutan has surprised all of the local farmers. We too now want to grow the fruit; in fact, I have also planted a few saplings.”
Manjur Mia of the same village said: “Inspired by Jamal’s success, I grew rumbutan. I will be able to sell the fruits for about Tk10,000 this year.”
Another farmer, Siddique Mia, said: “It appears that the profit after selling the fruit will be greater compared to the investment.”
“Saplings are available for Tk200-300 in Narsingdi. However, cultivation is currently a little difficult due to the ongoing storms,” he added.
Narsingdi’s Agricultural Extension Director Md Latifat Hossain told the Dhaka Tribune: “Jamal has set an example by motivating other farmers to cultivate rambutan.”
“It is possible to grow the fruit on higher lands. We are advising the farmers to grow rambutan,” he added.