A hundred malta orchards have been established in 17 upazilas of Gopalganj, Pirojpur, and Bagerhat districts, as part of an agriculture development project
The cultivation of BARI Malta-1 variety of oranges has become very lucrative for farmers in Gopalganj, promising them a profit of about four times more than rice farming.
"In 2016, I planted the Bari Malta-1 orange, a variety introduced by Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI), on 2 acres of my land. From every tree I have managed a yield of 5 to 6 kilograms of malta," said Obaidur Rahman, a farmer from Muksudpur upazila in Gopalganj.
"I expected a yield of about four tons. But due to the floods and excessive rains the trees were damaged this year. Still, I hope to secure a yield of about 3 tons that could be sold for at least Tk2.5 lakh.
"If I had planted paddy or jute, I could have made a profit of at best Tk50,000. But now I’ll be able to secure a profit of at least Tk2 lakh. Malta farming had made me solvent. Cultivation of the fruit could be really helpful to reduce unemployment in the country," Obaidur continued.
"The cultivation of juvenile malta plants is also quite profitable. Before I began farming the fruit, BARI provided me malta plants and helped me with pesticides and fertilizers," Obaidur added.
A hundred malta orchards were established in 17 upazilas of Gopalganj, Pirojpur, and Bagerhat districts, as part of an agriculture development project, said Md Rezaul Karim, assistant scientific officer of BARI.
In these orchards, each acre yielded about two tons of malta, which is much higher than expected. Many farmers have become interested in growing the fruit due to its success, Md Rezaul added.
Zakir Hossian, a farmer of Kadampur village said: "I have become interested in malta farming after seeing my uncle Obaidur Rahman's malta garden and have already prepared land in this regard."
He added that after seeing his uncle’s garden, other farmers of his village became interested in doing the same.
Dr MM Kamruzzaman, director of the agriculture development project, said they have been providing full support to the malta farmers in five districts of southern Bangladesh that fall under the project.