Rambutan is a well-known fruit of Southeast Asia. The fruit is also widely cultivated in many other places including Africa, the Caribbean Islands, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, India, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka
Farmers in the hilly regions of Rangamati are experiencing success after cultivating Rambutan, a litchi-like fruit only bigger in size.
This has inspired other farmers in the district to take up growing Rambutans as well.
Rambutan is a well-known fruit of Southeast Asia. The fruit is also widely cultivated in many other places including Africa, the Caribbean Islands, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, India, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka.
Its flower blooms at the end of April, and the fruits begin to ripen from the first week of July.
In 2007, a younger brother of Samayan Chakma, a resident of Rangapani area, brought two Rambutan seedlings with him from Thailand.
The seeds drew Samayan's attention, after which he planted them. It was not until 2012 that the plants began to have flowers and yield fruits.
He began selling his Rambutan produce commercially from 2016, and never had to look back since.
Currently Rambutan is selling in the local markets for Tk 400-500 per kilogram, while a single Rambutan seed sells for Tk120.
Samayan said it will be beneficial to plant the trees in hilly areas as the weather is very favourable for growing Rambutans.
"I have sold at least Tk 3 lakh worth of Rambutans in the last two years," Samayan remarked, "This year it has gotten me Tk 70,000 so far, with growing demands from the other districts."
Uday Shankar Chakma, another Rambutan farmer, distributed some of his seedlings to the local Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) office, as well as the district horticulture centre, for further research.
Paban Kumar Chakma, deputy director of Rangamati DAE office, said Rambutan is a tropical fruit, which has gelled perfectly with the soil, and climate of the district.
His office has already undertaken research initiatives on how to expand its cultivation across the country, he added.
Even though it is not yet being commercially grown, the fruit has good potential to support cultivators’ incomes, if proper agricultural practices are followed, he said.