Locals of Sharsha upazila say pure date juice is a great source of nutrition
There is a saying in Bangla ‘Jessorer josh, khejurer rosh’, which means the date palm sap is the pride of Jessore.
Staying true to this tradition, date palm sap collectors, locally known as “gachhi”, are preparing date palms trees in order to extract sap in different upazilas of Jessore district as winter approaches.
During the winter season, patali gur (solid molasses), made out of date palm juice, is available throughout the country. It is one of the key ingredients used to make varieties of mouth-watering pithas (cakes) and other sweets in rural areas as well as in the cities.
Locals of Sharsha upazila say pure date juice is a great source of nutrition.
The demand for patali gur is sky high even outside the country, which has led a substantial number of date juice extractors in Jessore to take preparations for the collection ahead of winter this year.
The gachhis climb date palms trees, barks the upper part of the trunk with cleavers, and tie clay pots with ropes, where drops of sap are accumulated throughout the night. After a week, they start collecting the juice and boil it in large cauldrons for hours and thus the delicious patali gur is prepared. The gachhis are currently in the first stage of accumulating the sap.
In order to observe and experience the work of the gachhi firsthand, our correspondent visited Sharsha upazila and spoke to them recently.
Haider Ali, a gachhi from Ramchandrapur village of the upazila, said: "Date juice and patali gur symbolize the age old tradition of Jessore. In order to get a handsome price, we have begun preparing the trees for extraction of the juice at the start of the winter season.”
He added that he has to spend Tk100 per tree for the preparation of juice extraction, and he intends to collect juice from at least 200 trees this season. Some of the trees are also taken on lease. After subtracting the cost, he expects a profit of around Tk30,000 this season.
Another gachhi Kawsar Ali, from Lakshmanpur village of Uttar (North) Sharsha, said: ''We are very proud to be famous for date palm juice and patali gur.''
Sharsha Upazila Agriculture Officer Soutam Kumar Shil said: ''The gachhis have already prepared the date palm trees in several unions of the upazila for syrup extraction, as winter season begun at the right time this year. They should be able to make a handsome profit selling juice and molasses.''
He also added that there are over 100,000 date palms in Sharsha upazila.