Chittagong: Even ten years ago, the people of the country did not have much idea about the foreign dragon fruit. Supershop suddenly found very expensive fruit weighing 200-250 grams.
Around 2010, the cultivation of this fruit started in Bangladesh by bringing some seedlings from Vietnam and Thailand. Dragon fruit production in the country has increased almost 40 times in the last 12 years.
At first, the size of the fruit is small, but now the weight of each one is 700-800 grams. From supermarkets to small markets, street fruit shops and even hawkers, dragon fruit is available. No taste. This fruit is being sold at Tk 280-350 in Chittagong fruit market on Sunday (November 12).
Dr. Phulbaria upazila of Mymensingh dragon farmer in protest against the use of harmful chemicals on dragons. Abu Bakar Siddique Prince cut down more than 800 dragon trees he had planted in November last year. It is at this time that the secret of weight gain of the fruit is known.
Abu Bakr Siddique claims that unscrupulous dragon farmers spray the flowers with a chemical called ‘dragon tonic’. Due to this the fruit is quite large and one side is red but the other side is green. And poison-free dragon fruit treated with organic fertilizers is relatively small. The price is also very low in the market.
According to the information of Plant Pest Control Department of Agriculture Department, 325 tons of dragon fruit was imported into the country in eight and a half months of 2023. In 2022, 1 thousand 130 tons were imported.
From the statistics, it can be seen that 277 tons of dragon fruit was produced in only 38 hectares of land in the country in the fiscal year 2015-16. In 2016-17 fiscal year 54 hectares of land produced 431 tons, in 2017-18 fiscal year 108 hectares of land 815 tons, in 2018-19 fiscal year 227 hectares of land 2 thousand 802 tons, in 2019-20 fiscal year 341 hectares of land 3 thousand 464 tons, in 2020-21 fiscal year In 695 hectares of land, 8 thousand 659 tons, the production in 2021-22 financial year is about crore kg. Dragon fruit is being produced on 55 hectares of land in Chittagong district and 65 hectares of land in three districts of Chittagong Hill Tracts.
According to the Department of Agriculture Extension, Bau Dragon-1, Bau Dragon-2, Bari Dragon-1, Pink Dragon, Velvet Dragon and Yellow Dragon fruits are commonly cultivated in Bangladesh. Bow Dragon-1 has a white interior and a red top. Bau Dragon-2 and Bari Dragon-1 are red on the outside and inside. The pink dragon is pink inside and out. Velvet dragons are dark red inside and outside, and yellow dragons are white inside and yellow outside. Pink Dragon and Bow Dragon-2 are the most cultivated in Bangladesh.
Dragon fruit has a lot of potassium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B, vitamin B complex, so it has come up in the list of fruits for patients. The tree usually bears fruit from May to November. Ripe dragons can be harvested six to seven times a year.
Former Chief Scientific Officer of Kaptai Hill Agricultural Research Center. Md. Altaf Hossain said that the first dragon fruit was cultivated at the Hill Agriculture Research Center in Rangamati district. As the yield is good within one year, this fruit is popular among the public. Many have trained in dragon fruit cultivation. In addition to the Hill Agriculture Research Center, non-poisonous dragon fruit is being cultivated in various parts of the upazila and in Naniarchar upazila.
But the picture of all districts is not like this. About half of the total production of dragon fruit is in Jhenaidah and Jessore districts. Commercial cultivation of dragon fruit in Jhenaidah started after 2014. The district has risen to the top in dragon fruit cultivation in the last half century. Now 39 percent of the country’s total production or about 33 lakh 53 thousand kg is produced in this district.
After this is the position of Jessore. 9 lakh 65 thousand kg of dragon fruit has been produced in this district in the last financial year. Apart from this, six lakh 40 thousand kg of dragon fruit has been produced in Natore district, three lakh 95 thousand in Narayanganj and three lakh 25 thousand kg in Rajshahi. Dragon fruit is now being produced in Ibrahimpur village of Nabinagar upazila of Brahmanbaria. It is alleged that some farmers in these areas are spraying harmful chemicals in the garden in the hope of more profit.
Chittagong Khulshi Agricultural Research Center chief scientific officer since 2017. Scientific officer under the leadership of ASM Harunur Rashid. A group of researchers consisting of Golam Azam and SM Kamrul Hasan Chowdhury managed to grow the summer fruit in winter after four years of efforts. Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute developed Bari Dragon Fruit-1 under flash light, LED lights of different powers and 6-10 hours of light. A few interested persons are also trained with a view to spread this method among enterprising farmers. But no one went that way.
Dr. ASM Harunur Rashid said that usually dragon fruit is not available in the off season. Available in some supershops. More than one thousand rupees per kg. And in the season its price is 250-300 taka. Cultivated in this manner, poison-free dragon fruit will be readily available throughout the year.
A post by agriculturist Jeevan Roy has recently gone viral on social media. He claimed, ‘In 2011-12, our professors started researching the scientific method of dragon farming suitable for Bangladesh. Such a big dragon has not been seen yet. Even the dragons that come from Thailand or China are not that big.
‘There is a lot of poison in them. Each dragon weighs one to one hundred kilograms. Those who are buying dragons at a slightly lower price from the market, beware. Knowingly or unknowingly why do you harm your child and family?’ The farmer asked the question.
Bangladesh Time: 1200 hours, November 12, 2023