Billal Mir, a young mango grower who has achieved prosperity by producing chemical-free mangoes at Charbagjuri in Lohagara upazila of Narail district, is now an example for the youth of his neighbourhood how to become self-reliant.
Officials at the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), Narail said Billal has set an example how to grow different varieties of mangoes alongside cultivating other crops.
The mangoes from Billal’s orchard are supplied to other districts, including Dhaka, in addition to meeting local demand.
Talking to the UNB correspondent, Billal said he got involved in mango farming 14 years ago by planting 1,000 saplings of different varieties and then brought 15 acres of land under mango farming after taking it on lease.
“Now, I've 5000 mango trees, including that of some high-yielding varieties like ‘Chosa’, ‘Guti’, ‘Gopalbhog’, ‘Himsagar’, ‘Lengra’, ‘Haribhanga’, ‘Amrupali’, ‘Fazli’ and ‘Ashwini’ on my land,” he said.
“I never count any loss in my business but this year, 800 maunds of mangoes worth Tk 20 lakh have got damaged due to the cyclone ‘Amphan,” said Billal.
Billal said he has already spent Tk 25 lakh on maintenance, including nurturing and labour cost, and expects to sell mangoes worth Tk 50 lakh.
Nine workers remain engaged throughout the year in maintenance of Billal's mango orchard and he hires more workers during the peak season.
Billal started selling mangoes on June 9 and continue it for a month.
Traders, mostly from Dhaka, purchase mangoes from Billal as those are free from chemicals.
He also cultivate paddy, maize, and pulse and banana on another 30 acres of land he took on lease.
Many people from different parts of the district come to visit the mango orchard of Billal to see how a small farmer has changed his fortune by cultivating mangoes.
Chinmoy Roy, deputy director at DAE, Narail, said, “Billal has become a role model in the area by producing many varieties of mango. He's also playing a role in producing safe fruits applying biotechnology and avoiding the use of harmful pesticides.”