Green Malta farming getting popular in Rajshahi

Published : 15 Sep 2021 09:18 PM

Green malta being produced locally has gained huge popularity in the region, including the Barind area, as the growers are reaping lucrative outputs from the farming. 

Green malta, developed by Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BAR), has been appearing in the markets from different growing areas in plenty for the last couple of years meeting up the demands of the consumers. 

Imported malta varieties are being sold at Taka 220 to 240 per kilogram, while the local variety at Taka 90 to 120 at present. Many of the consumers are seen going for the option to purchase the local variety as its price is significantly low compared to the imported one. 

Amzad Hossain, a retailer at Shaheb Bazar area in Rajshahi city, said he is satisfied with the selling trend of the local variety known as BARI Malta-1, adding that around 100 kilograms of malta are being sold every day. 

He said there is no difference between the local and imported ones in terms of taste.

Milon Ahmed, another retailer, said the farmers are seen expanding acreage of the citrus fruit in many of the dried lands including Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj and Naogaon districts gradually through the best use of modern technologies and other existing natural resources. 

Dr Alim Uddin, Principal Scientific Officer of Fruit Research Station, said Barimalta1 is more drought tolerant and tasty than any other exotic variety. 

He said the farmers who cultivate malta, a highly valued citrus fruit, are now more interested in cultivating the fruit instead of other fruits and vegetables. This year, the fruit is expected to be produced well. 

Dr Alim also said in terms of food and nutritive values green and ripe fruits are vital as these are enriched with enormous vitamin A, B, C, calcium and iron which are essential for human body irrespective of age and sex. So, the boosted fruit farming has become helpful for the society as a whole. 

He opined that demand of the fruit has also risen among the consumers amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Cultivation of the fruit will bring a revolution in the local economy as hundreds of people from ultra-poor families have attained self-sufficiency by cultivating malta. 

DASCOH Foundation, a non-government organization, under its 'Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) Project, is extending technical and financial support to the farmers for boosting the malta production in the region as part of its effort to promote the less-water consuming crop in the drought-prone area.

Coordinator of the project, Jahangir Alam Khan said they provided financial support worth Taka 31.17 lakh for installation of 17 submersible pumps with seven solar panels for ensuring irrigation facilities to around 200 bigha of malta farming fields in drip method. 

Three youths- Mukta Ali, Tofazzal Hossain and Sultan Ahmed- have jointly developed a malta orchard through planting 300 saplings on three bigha of land at Arani Khorda Baosha area under Bagha Upazila in Rajshahi in 2017. 

After nursing the field for around two years they sold fruit worth around Taka 67,000 in 2019.They are very much hopeful about selling malta of Taka four lakh this year as they are now successful in their venture. 

Aminul Islam along with four of his co-villagers has established an orchard on 45 bigha of land commercially in partnership approach in Bottoly area under Godagari Upazila in Rajshahi. 

Currently, they are doing their business successfully, said Islam, adding malta is being sold at Taka 100 to 120 per kilogram in local markets. 

He said the consumers get fresh Malta as these are sold directly from the orchard to the market. Local Malta is delicious and tastes better than the imported varieties.