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Intensive research for further expansion of betel leaf farming stressed

Intensive research for further expansion of betel leaf farming stressed

Betel leaf grows in different areas of the country as an important cash crop.
Some parts of Rajshahi are famous for its production.  Mohanpur and
Bagmara upazilas in the district are the only places where sweet betel
leaf is grown.
Prof Aminul Haque of Agronomy and Agriculture Extension Department of
Rajshahi University said betel leaf farming is profitable than many
other crops.
He mentioned Taka two to three lakh could be cashed from one bigha of
land if the farming was modernized.
In this context, he said acreage of betel leaf farming is around 2,000
hectares in the district producing around 35,000 metric tons of crops
valued at around Taka 90 crore annually and over 25,000 farmers are
involved in its farming directly.
Betel-leaf grown in the district has tremendous demand at home and
abroad for its quality and flavour.
As there is no Betel-Leaf Research Institute in the country, the
farmers have no room to seek advice for increasing quantity and
improving quality of the cash crop further.
Quite frequently, he said, betel-leaf production in
Mohanpur, Bagmara and Paba upazilas faces setback because of virus attack.
So farmers always remain worried about getting back their investment.
Even after washing and refining the betel-leaf stems with pesticides
and chemicals as recommended by the DAE, the shoots emerging from the
transplanted stem are not healthy and many of them are also attacked
by virus.
In view of this, Prof Haque said, establishment of such institute in
Rajshahi will be highly helpful to the growers.  Besides farmers,
students of agriculture department would also be benefited from the
institute, he added.
Mohanpur agriculture office sources said that farmers are now
preparing their lands measuring 552 hectares to transplant betel-leaf
plants, while officials are giving proper advices to them to have good
yield.
But the farmers are not happy with the advice of agriculture officials.
Unknown virus is attacking their betel-leaf stems and leaves.
They do not know how to get rid of this problem.
Of the three upazilas, Mohanpur is the largest betel leaf producing
area. Betel- leaf of Mohanpur is sold all over the country.
Ansar Ali, a farmer of Soipara village, said that farmers suffer loss
due to frequent virus attack and other natural calamities including
cold bite and storm.
Rejaul Haque from Bargachhi village under Paba upazila, held the same view.
Though the market price of betel leaves is high, the farmers are not
happy with the crop loss. They demand immediate measures by the
authority against the virus. Otherwise, they fear, loss from the
‘boroj’ will discourage farmers from growing betel leaves.

“We extend necessary farming tactics to the growers of betel leaf
together with disease control measures,” said Nurul Amin, Deputy
Director of DAE. –BSS, Rajshahi

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