Banana cultivation in Bangladesh has created a buzz among farmers drawn by the lure of the higher profits.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) ranks bananas as the world’s fourth-most important crop after the major cereals.
The country produces just below one million tonnes of bananas annually. Last year it was 807,000 tonnes.
Banana farmers in Narail, who had a bumper crop this year, are also receiving three-to-four times the usual price during Ramadan.
Narail farmers are happy with banana production and prices this year. They are sending bananas to the capital after meeting the district’s demands, but are a little frustrated over problems they face in transportation.
They told UNB that the amount of waste generated while carrying their produce to different places of the country costs them a lot.
Agriculturalist Chinmoy Roy of Narail district agricultural extension department said the soil of the region is favorable for banana cultivation. He specified five types of bananas — Giant Governer, Sagor, Kathali, Sobri and Chapa Sobri as ‘high yielding’ in Narail.
Farmers are choosing bananas over paddy, jute and sugarcane for its easy marketing facilities, cheaper labour costs and hence higher profits. Chinmoy Roy said the agriculture department has arranged training for the farmers in order to boost production in the district.
Meanwhile, farmers are cultivating bananas in most of the char lands in the district as the soil is not favorable for other crops.
Banana farmer Imran Hossain of Kolra union under Narail sadar upazila, said to UNB, “I have been cultivating bananas for more than 12 years. I chose bananas as my main crop due to the lower investment required and low labour costs, making it more profitable.”
Imran Hossain claimed that other farmers in his area have also turned to bananas after observing his success.