Every day visitors are making their way to the 2,000-acre hilly orchard of late Abdul Matin Chand Miah, who when alive, carried on his family legacy of pineapple farming in the region
Sylhet’s Golapganj upazila has become quite an overnight sensation after photos of a pineapple orchard built over the grassy hillocks of Dhakadakshin union recently went viral on social media.
Ever since then, visitors from in and around the district have been swarming the place every day looking to catch a glimpse of the picturesque orchard that promises a breath of fresh air and a distraction from the daily hustle and bustle of a busy life.
On a visit to the pineapple orchard last Friday, this correspondent found himself among a large group— consisting of both locals and tourists—taking a tour of the place.
When asked, multiple visitors said they were there to witness first-hand the satisfying process of picking and sorting pineapples from neatly arranged rows of the tropical plant over the lush green hills before they were sent off to wholesalers.
Besides, they were also seen enjoying the stalls that were there to cater to visitors, allowing them to taste the freshly picked pineapples and their juice.
According to sources, the sons of the late Abdul Matin Chand Miah, former chairman of the local union council, took the initiative to cultivate Honey Queen pineapples back in 2018, in a bid to carry on the family legacy of pineapple farming in the region.
The 2,000-acre hilly orchard was put in place after Honey Queen pineapple saplings sourced from Sreemangal were planted in 2019.
Currently, there are around 200,000 pineapple plants in these hillocks. And each pineapple fetches a market price of Tk200-250.
Shah Alam Chowdhury, a school teacher visiting the orchard, said: “I had to come and visit after I saw wonderful photos of the pineapple orchard on Facebook several days back. It has been a pleasant experience because of the beautiful sights and the sweet smell of pineapples all around.”
Another visitor, Afzal Ahmed, a businessman from Sylhet, said: “Workers picking and sorting pineapples and then descending from the hills with the tropical fruits in special baskets on their heads is a mesmerizing sight first-hand.”
Azizul Haque Russell, Chand Miya’s pineapple orchard owner, said so far 200,000 Honey Queen pineapple saplings had been planted on 2,000 acres.
“The pineapple yield has been good this year and they have been fetching a good price in the market as well.
Russell claimed he could earn double the cost he spent on his pineapple orchard.
He said 70% of the income from the pineapple orchard would be donated to the Chand Miya Education Trust.
Meanwhile, seeing how pineapple cultivation brought Russell fame and fortune, many farmers in the region have become inspired to start cultivating pineapples commercially on their own.
Russel lauded their aspirations and opined that pineapple cultivation would surely bring about financial solvency while eliminating the rate of unemployment.
Golapganj Upazila Agriculture Officer Md Anisuzzaman said Honey Queen pineapples were being cultivated in quite a few places in Golapganj upazila.
“Pineapple is a profitable cash crop besides being a nutritious fruit. If more farmers start taking up the cultivation of pineapples, then Golapganj upazila will become famous for its pineapples in no time.
“The large-scale farming of pineapples will not only help meet the nutrition requirements of the local people but will also create more orchards like Chand Miya’s orchard, perfect for rest and recreation.”
“The agriculture department will extend necessary cooperation in this regard,” added the official.