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22 July, 2015 00:00 00 AM
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Pineapple growers demand processing centre

Our Correspondent
Pineapple growers demand processing centre
Traders load their vehicles with pineapples at Jalchatra Bazaar, the biggest pineapple market in the country, yesterday. INDEPENDENT PHOTO

There has been a bumper production of pineapple in Madhupur zone, the largest growing area of the country, in the current season.
But the growers are in a difficult situation with such a plentiful of harvest of the short-lived juicy fruit. There is no preservation facility or a processing plant for them.
 According to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), about 28,000 acres of land have been brought under pineapple farming in Madhupur zone.
Abul Hashem Deputy Director of DAE said about 22,500 acres of land have brought under pineapple farming in Tangail district, of which 18,750 acres are in Madhupur upazila alone. Tangail district, part of Mymensingh, Gazipur and Jamalpur districts are included in the zone.  Some 50,000 acres of land have been brought under pineapple farming in three zones - Chittagong, Sylhet and Madhupur.
Agriculture Officer of Madhupur upazila Hazrat Ali said Giant Kew variety grows largely in Madhupur zone. This variety is more delicious, juicy, succulent and appetising and larger in size. It is expected that about 200,000 tonnes of pineapples will be produced in Madhupur zone during the current season. A big size pineapple is being sold at Tk 25, medium at Tk 15 and small at Tk 5.
Anisur Rahman Hira, secretary of Madhupur Truck drivers and covered-van union, said about 200 trucks, mini trucks loaded with pineapples are being transported from Madhupur to other districts every day. About 100 trucks are being loaded from Jalchatra Bazaar, which is the largest pineapple market in the country.
But people are worried about consuming the fruit, often found tainted by chemicals. Use of high dose of hormone, fertiliser, pesticides and carbide is rampant.
 Farmer Golam Mustafa of village Zangalia said wholesellers from different districts like to purchase bright coloured pineapples.
To attract the consumers they use growth hormone, carbide for ripening and formalin to keep those fresh for 10 to15 days after harvesting.
Abdul Aziz of Ghatail upazila, a national award winning farmer, said farmers are not aware of the harmful effect of hormone and formalin. They use excess doses. The chemical companies press the farmers to use the chemicals, which should have been banned, he said.
Chemicals are being used in pineapple in higher doses that damage its taste said agriculture officer. Hazrat Ali. Prof of Mymensingh Agriculture University said hormone and formalin are harmful for human consumption. Tribal leader of Madhupur Ajoy A Mree said due to excess use of chemicals, fertiliser and insecticide, jackals, other animals and insects do not eat even ripe pineapples in the field.
Muktadir Aziz, UNO of Madhupur, said traders and farmers spray chemicals openly. Upazila administration conducted several anti-adulteration drives and seized the spray machine and fined them. Now, chemicals are being sprayed in the field.
Ali Akbor President of Idilpur Pineapple Growers’ Cooperative Society at a workshop recently demanded proper marketing facilities, processing centre and specialised cold storage.
The growers are compelled to sell the pineapple at low prices. The entrepreneurs do not come forward to establish cold storage due to complex bank loan procedures, lack of gas supply and erratic power supply.
Every year, at least 15 per cent of total productions are being damaged for lack of storage facilities. The pineapple growers of Madhupur urged the government to set up pineapple research centre, processing centre and help create marketing facilities.

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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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