Hundreds of people from ultra-poor families in the district have attained self-reliance by cultivating malta.
The farming of the citrus fruit is gaining popularity in the vast Barind tract with the help of the local agro offices.
Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) Munjurul Huda said malta cultivation was started in the area in 2013 and till now it being cultivated on some 40 hectares of land. Growers are making good profit from it, he added.
A according to the sources of the Second Crops Versatile Project (SCVP), soil of the area is suitable for the farming of the juicy fruit. Farmers can start harvesting after 700 days of planting malta sapling.
“I planted some 200 malta saplings on two bighas of land in July 2013 spending around Tk 40,000. I harvested the fruit in August 2015 for the first time. He said each tree bears around 40 to 50 fruits”, said farmer Matiur Rahman of Jamtola village under Jhilim union in Sadar upazila.
Each hali (four pieces) of the fruit is being sold at Tk 120 to Tk 130 in the retail market while the wholesale price is Tk 90 to Tk 100, the grower added.
Fruit scientist of gardens research center Dr Sarof Uddin said farmers have shown more interest to grow malta on a large scale in their cropland instead of common fruit as the farming is easier than other fruits. The plants are not affected with fungus easily, he added.