'We are expecting that the production will double in next season and the farmers will be benefited immensely. More and more farmers are now turning to banana cultivation because of low production cost and growing demand'
The Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) expects bumper production of banana in the upcoming season as more and more farmers are turning to the cultivation of the nutrient fruit because of low production cost and growing demand.
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, DAE Deputy Director (monitoring) Mizanur Rahman said every year DAE achieved the target of production of banana in 14 zones of the country including Dhaka, Rangamati, Rajshahi, Bogra and Barisal.
The growers in the areas cultivated banana on 87,507 hectare of land and the production was 18,08,803 tons in fiscal year 2017-18. The previous year, 17,66,917 tons of banana were produced on 89,908 hectares of land.
“We are expecting that the production will double in next season and the farmers will be benefited immensely. More and more farmers are now turning to banana cultivation because of low production cost and growing demand,’ said Mizan.
According to the Agriculture Information Service (AIS), about 40-50 varieties of banana are cultivated in Bangladesh. Among them, the names of Amrit Sagar, Sabri, Kabri, Champa, Singapuri or Kabuli, Meherasagar, Kant or Bichi Kala, Kanchala or Anaji Arts and Shanti Kali are the prominent ones.
Currently, three more varieties — Barikala-1, Barikala-2 and Barikala-3 — have been released by the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI).
As per estimation of the Department of Agricultural Marketing, on an average Tk30,000 to Tk32,000 is spent on per bigha for production of around 335 kandi (bunch) of banana, which means production cost of per kandi banana is around Tk95.
Each bunch of banana is sold at Tk210 and profit Tk125 at the farmers' level. The selling price is Tk250 and profit Tk40 in the midlevel wholesalers, who sell banana at Tk300 making a profit of Tk50.
At the retailers' level, each kandi is sold at Tk687 with a profit margin of Tk387, according to the DAM.
Dewan Ashraful Hossain, deputy director of the Department of Agricultural Marketing, says: “If the farmers cultivate banana following proper guideline and method, 12-15 tons of output per bigha is possible. Its market price is about Tk40,000-45,000.”
Traders purchase around 80 percent of banana produced in Dhaka, Rangamati, Rajshahi, Bogra and Barisal and transportd those to other parts of the country, Ashraf adds.
Deputy director of fruits and flower Kabir Ahmed mentions that for lack of storage facilities and banana processing plants, the farmers are still being deprived of fair prices.
"We are trying to arrange training session for the farmers and also planning to remedies for banana diseases to ensure steady bumper production of banana," he states.