Date juice brings smile to many Rajshahi people
Date juice appeared as blessing for many people in Rajshahi during the winter season as it changes lots of juice collectors by making them solvent, bringing smiles on their faces.
With the advent of winter, a large number of date juice extractors begin collecting delicious juice from the date trees this year. They are earning money by selling date juice and molasses.
Date juice and molasses are one of the best delicious food items in winter. So, many people cultivate date trees commercially.
There are many date trees in the fields and roadsides in the region including its vast Barind tract. Local villagers said three Upazilas like Charghat, Bagha and Puthiya in the district are famous for date-molasses.
Every winter, gachhis (date juice extractors) collect date juice, condense the juice by heating it and make date jaggery. Later, they sell the jaggery in Baneswar haat (weekly market) located on the premises of Baneswar union land office and Jholmolia haat in Rajshahi.
Some molasses markets like Baneshwar, Puthia, Jhalmalia, Charghat and Bagha are very famous in the region. Scores of people are engaged in molasses business.
Abdur Rashid, an extractor of Salua village under Charghat Upazila, said he has 210 trees on six and a half bigha land and earns around Tk two lakh every year.
A date tree gives juice, cooking materials, molasses and other products, he said. He said molasses produced by the farmers in the three Upazilas are being exported to many foreign countries escalating the rural economy.
Muhammad Moniruzzaman, another date juice harvester of the same village, said he has no date tree for his own. Every season, he manages permission of collecting juice from 120 trees of others at a cost of Tk 175.
One Ali processed around 25 kilograms of molasses from the collected juice every day. He meets his annual family needs with getting profit doing the seasonal molasses business.
Faruque Hossain of Jaigirpara village under Puthiya Upazila, a molasses wholesaler at Jhalmalia Hat in the same Upazila, said the sale volume of molasses on every hat-day is more than Taka one crore.
Potters are struggling to supply specially designed small earthen pots for collection of juice and big ones for boiling the juice to produce molasses, which are sold in markets all over the country through traders.
Hossain hoped that the business will play a vital role in changing the socio-economic picture of the whole region if everybody comes forward to plant the trees in fallow lands.
Trader Anwar Hossain, who comes to Bagha Bazar from Barisal every year to purchase molasses, told the journalists he purchased 40 mounds of molasses at Tk 60 per kilogram.
Mohsin Ali, a retailer at the same market, said he sold molasses at Tk 65 per kilogram last week and the retail price is now on downtrend with rising production.
Shamsul Haque, Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), said there are more than eight lakh date trees in the district producing around 8,000 tonnes of molasses valued at around Tk 60 crore every season.
There are also many other date trees on the side of roads, railway tracks and on fallow lands and homesteads while date-molasses are produced commercially here.
He added that regular in-taking of sugar or molasses with rice and other nutritious foods is very essential for humans, especially children for brain development. - BSS