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24 August, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Chemicals ruining pineapples

OUR CORRESPONDENT, Tangail
Chemicals ruining pineapples

Among all the fruits produced in the country, pineapple ranks 4th in terms of total cropping area and production.

 Pineapple is grown in about 90 countries of the world. But those produced in Bangladesh are said to be more juicy, succulent and appetizing.

 About 2 lakh metric tonnes of pineapples have been grown in Madhupur this year, accounting for 42 per cent of the country’s total production, according to the Department of Agriculture Extension.

 Madhupur pineapples have a bright prospect in domestic and foreign markets. But chemicals are ruining this legendary fruit.

 According to DAE source, in the current season, an estimated 18,800 acres of land have been brought under pineapple farming in Tangail district, of which 16,676 acres are in Madhupur Upazila alone.

It has been learnt from the UAO that 1,43,937 mt of pineapple was harvested up to July. Pineapples on about 5,550 acres of land are yet to be harvested. It has been learnt that some greedy farmers and traders, with a view to earning extraordinary profits, are using harmful chemicals that pose a health hazard.

 Pineapple trader Habibur Rahman said, “Pineapples harvested early is highly priced. Mofiz Uddin of village Idilpur has cultivated 60,000 pieces of Jaldigi pineapples this year. They will be harvested during July-August. It is the peak pineapple season now and prices are low.”

He had sold his pineapples to Abdus Samad and Abdul Aziz at Tk 11 per piece in March. They used chemicals such as Ripen, Harvest, Promot, and others to quickly ripen the fruits and sold them at Tk 25 per unit in April and May.

 Farmer Sabur Uddin of village Chunia said, “We did not use chemicals 10 years ago. Pineapples of Madhupur used to have a good taste and flavour. Wild beasts and birds including jackals ate pineapples. Now, no animal eats pineapples. Adulterated pineapple is not juicy but full of water.”

 Nayeb Ali, a pineapple farmer of Mohishmara village said, “First, chemical is used before flowering. Then, after 20–22 days, chemicals are sprayed for the second time. Carbide is sprayed after that to aid ripening.”

 He added, “The chemicals help the fruits become big in size and acquire a yellowish colour, features that attract buyers. But the use of chemicals poses a health hazard and robs the fruits of their good taste. Yet, I apply the chemicals to earn good profits.”

 Babul Mia from Pirojpur village said, “The chemicals help to ripen the fruits simultaneously. So, all the fruits can be harvested at a time for marketing. Without the chemicals, pineapples ripen slowly, making marketing difficult.”

 At present, farmers use Pronofix, Superfix, Crops Care, and Adur to make the fruits big, and chemicals like Ripen, Harvest, Promot, Saragold, Itiplus and Alpen to hasten the ripening               process.

 ‘Gorvoboti’ is now a new ingredient. It makes even immature plants yield fruits. The chemicals are available in every haat and bazaars of the pineapple growing areas. The representatives of the manufacturing companies even sell their chemicals on credit.

 Sanower Hossain, a pineapple trader, said, “The size of pineapples remains small and lacks bright colour unless chemicals are used. Such pineapples are not liked by the consumers. So, farmers are forced to use chemicals to attract buyers.”

 He said that the administration took no step to stop the sale and use of harmful chemicals, adding that the sale of the fruit ultimately declines, as buyers, disappointed with the taste, chose not to buy again.

 Mohammad Mustafa, a chemical-seller, said, “Farmers use excessive doses of chemicals. Two millilitres of chemicals should be mixed in 16 litres of water before spraying, but farmers use 100ml to get big fruits.”

Farmers said the life cycle of a pineapple was determined by hormone for bigger size, carbide for quick ripening and formalin for preservation.

 Dr Abdus Samad, a kidney specialist, said, “An excessive use of excess chemicals can affect the lever, kidney, vocal cord and other limbs. It can cause cancer and other fatal diseases, too.”

 Mahmudul Hasan, Madhupur’s agriculture officer, said, “The chemical companies sell one type of hormone under different names. A pineapple plant naturally matures when it attains 60 leaves. But farmers are using the hormone, Gorvoboti, as soon as the plant gets 28 leaves. Hormone for growth is not harmful. But its excessive use and ripening hormones are harmful.”

 In reply of a question, the AO said that the government had not banned the chemicals. The companies sell them with valid licenses. He says he tells farmers to use chemicals judicially to avoid health hazards.

 Dr Nazim Uddin and Dr Abul Kashem of BARC, Gazipur, conducted a research on the use of hormone technology on the pineapples of Madhupur in 1990-1995. The research revealed that the adoption of hormone technology enabled pineapple production round the year or during off-peak seasons to suit growers’ wishes. But consumers were being cheated, as harmful insecticide, hormones, carbide, formalin and various chemicals were applied to the pineapples.

Taslima Khatun Poly, UNO of Madhupur, told The Independent that traders and farmers openly spray the chemicals.

The upazila administration conducted several drives and seized the spray machines and fined the farmers.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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