• Friday, Nov 15, 2019
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Kushtia farmers profit from betel leaves

  • Published at 09:30 pm April 22nd, 2019
Kushtia farmers profit from betel leaves
A farmer tends to betel leaves at a plantation in Kushtia Dhaka Tribune

A good number of farmers have become self-reliant with cultivating betel-leaf this season

Farmers in Kushtia had a bumper crop of betel-leaf this season with favourable weather conditions and the necessary agro-inputs. 

A good number of farmers have become self-reliant with cultivating betel-leaf this season.

Around 2,165 acres of land in six upazilas of Kushtia, and about 8000 farmers, were engaged in betel leaf cultivation this year, Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) sources said.

Encouraged by handsome profits, more farmers are showing interest in betel leaf cultivation. 

Farmers are happy with fair prices for their produce and are now busy harvesting.

Some farmers in Khoksa, Kumarkhali, Mirpur, Bheramara, and Daulatpur upazilas of the district started small-scale  betel-leaf cultivation a few years back. But farmers lost  interest since they were not getting the necessary support for its cultivation.

Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), Lutfor Rahman, said betel-leaf is an important cash crop of the district. Over 2,500 betel-leaf orchards on 5,000 acres of land have been brought under betel-leaf cultivation here this year. 

Betel leaf grower Saniad Hossain of Kaigari village under Bheramara upazila said betel leaf is produced across 300 acres of land in the upazila and a good crop is expected.

“The leaves are planted at the end of the Bangla month of Kartik, and is harvested six months later for sale.” 

He added: “the expense of growing betel leaves per bigha is Tk1 lakh, but the return is close to Tk3 lakh.”

Another farmer, Sabiul Islam, growing betel leaf brought him financial solvency, as the government is now offering loans with simple conditions, as well as supplying fertilizer and pesticide for proper treatment.

“I earned Tk10 lakh from betel leaves in the last four years,” Sabiul remarked.

Betel leaves from the region are exported to countries in the Middle East, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and such, he added.

But, farmers are facing numerous problems like lack of subsidies and absence of marketing facilities, he further added.

Betel leaf  farmers in the district said that presently there are good market prices and great demand for betel leaf here. If the government takes the necessary measures to help farmers, betel leaf cultivation would go up, they also said.

Many farmers said that due to lack of proper marketing policies, intermediaries or wholesalers are taking most of the profits, depriving farmers of a fair price. 

Deputy Director of the district DAE office, Bibhuti Bhushan Sarkar, said Kushtia’s betel leaves are exported to several European and Middle Eastern countries, while their office tries their best to offer logistical support to farmers in order to expand betel leaf production.