Faridpur, May 16 (UNB) – Despite initial optimism over a bumper yield, lychee farmers in Faridpur are increasingly worried about the damage inflicted on this season’s crop by the prolonged heat wave over the last few days, that now looks likely to saddle them with losses.
According to sources at the district’s Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) office, this year’s crop of lychees - the small, juicy fruit is close to 82 percent water - were damaged due to prolonged heat wave that bred a drought-like situation for the last several days.
They also said Cyclone Fani -- that passed over the country on May 4 – damaged many lychee orchards.
During a recent visit to the lychee orchards in Madhukhali, Boalmari and Sadar upazilas of the district, our correspondent found that the inedible outer layer of the lychees had cracked, the usually red exterior with black spots, while many had dropped from the tree.
Farmers of the district worried whether they would get a good, or at least fair price or not, even as the women and children in their families were seen passing busy time in their orchards collecting lychees and preparing those for selling in the local market.
Traders who bought the whole orchard from the owners are in doubt whether they will be able to return their capital in this season.
Rashedul Islam Babu, a lychee grower of Jahapur in Madhukhali upazila, said they failed to maintain the quality of lychee with their distinctly sweet, juicy taste, after using more pesticide, fertilizer and medicine than expected.
Farid Ahmed, a farmer of Kadirdi in Boalmari upazila, said “I have brought a vast tract of land under lychee cultivation as it is more profitable than other crops. Though I have got profit by cultivating lychee in the past, this year I’m worried of getting the capital money.”
Shahidul Islam Majnu, chairman of Ishan Gopalpur union in Sadar upazila, said at first it seemed that the production of lychee will be better this year but at the end of this season the production of the juicy fruit is decreasing due to rise in temperature and poor rainfall.
Kantik Chandra Chakrawarty, deputy director of Faridpur, DAE, said this year a total of 300 hectares of land have been brought under lychee cultivation with a target of producing eight metric tons of lychee from each hectare., i.e. 2400MT of lychees.
For getting good yield of lychee, the farmers have to use medicine and water the orchard twice a day before harvesting, he said.
Chakrawarty also asked the growers to nurture his/her orchard carefully.
Besides, the lychees of the district are available in Dhaka, Barishal, Munshiganj, Manikganj and other districts.
Shahidul Islam, a lychee trader in Dohar upazila in Dhaka, acknowledged the lychees of Faridpur district are indeed special. “It is being harvested one month before the harvesting period and there is a demand for Faridpuri lychee from the buyers due to its sweet, full taste.”
This year though, they may have to go without it.