Pineapple season comes early
When it comes to growing pineapples, Rangamati is on the frontlines of the race. Due to the region's favourable weather, thousands of tonnes of pineapple is produced here alone.
Usually, pineapple is cultivated between June and July. But for the last seven years, its being cultivated in January and February as well.
The reason behind this early cultivation through the off-seasons is the introduction of added hormones to the process. On the eight to 11th month, when 30-40 leaves of the seedlings have sprouted, three cups of Rifen-15 mixed with 18 litres of water is sprinkled. Later, Ethrel hormones are used to fast-track the growth.
Tapan Kumar Paul, deputy director of Department of Agriculture Extension, said, "Pineapple is cultivated across 10 upazilas of Rangamati, Naniachar being the most popular. Over 2,130 hectres in Rangamati is cultivated for pineapple, bearing a total production of 55,913 tonnes."
Nirmal Chakma, a farmer from Naniachar upazila, brings around 5,000 pineapples by boat to Banarupa Samata Ghat, selling each for Tk 13 on average. He said he cultivated around 41,000 saplings this year.
Nandini Chakma, from Naniachar, said she brings around 35,000 pineapples to the weekly market and sells each for Tk 12-15, depending on the size. Almost 17,000 saplings were grown by her family.
Local trader, Md Burhan said, "We purchase each pineapple for Tk 13-15 and sell them at Tk 20-25. We make very little profit due to transportation cost. Besides, we have to pay Tk 500 for every truck, along with Tk 300 toll charge."
"The drivers' association have also increased transport fares to cope with the diesel price hike. Most of our products go to Cox's Bazar and Noakhali district, but Cox's Bazar is more profitable right now since retail buyers sell to tourist from vans," he said.
Kamal Ahmed, a wholesale seasonal fruits trader, said prices are higher now as the pineapple season hasn't started yet, so they can make a little more profit.