৪০ বিঘা জমিতে মাল্টা চাষ করে সাড়া ফেলেছেন শাখাওয়াত

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কৃষি ও প্রকৃতি : দেশের প্রতিকূল আবহাওয়াতে মিষ্টি মাল্টার বিশাল বাগান গড়ে তুলেছেন চুয়াডাঙ্গার কৃষি উদ্যোক্তা শাখাওয়াত হোসেন বাবুল। ৪০ বিঘা আয়তনের ওই বাগানে এবার ফলনও হয়েছে ভালো।

উদ্যোক্তা ও বিশেষজ্ঞের দাবি, এখন পর্যন্ত ওই বাগানটিই দেশের সবচেয়ে বড় বাগান। ফল ফসলের সমৃদ্ধ ক্ষেত্র চুয়াডাঙ্গা এখনো জানান দেয় আবহমান বাংলার ভূ-প্রকৃতি আর অপরূপ সৌন্দর্যের। দামুড়হুদা উপজেলার হোগলডাঙ্গার মরাগাঁঙ যেন পটে আঁকা ছবি। তার তীর ঘেঁষেই দেশের সবচেয়ে বড় মাল্টা বাগান।

৪০ বিঘা জায়গার ওপর চার হাজার মাল্টা গাছের পাতার ঘনত্বকে হার মানিয়েছে ফলের ঐশ্বর্য। যত পাতা, ফল যেন তারও বেশি। সুমিষ্ট মাল্টার এই বিশাল রাজ্যের রাজা শাখাওয়াত হোসেন বাবুল। গত বছর এই বাগান দিয়েছিল দেড়শ মন মালটা। এবারও পাচ্ছেন আরও বেশি।

গাছ থেকে পাতাসহ সবুজ মাল্টা পাঠানো হচ্ছে বাজারে। উদ্যোক্তার আগ্রহে মানুষ পাচ্ছে সম্পূর্ণ রাসায়নিকমুক্ত দেশি ফলের স্বাদ। বারি-১ জাতের মিষ্টি মাল্টার সবচেয়ে বড় বাগানে কারিগরী সহায়তা দিচ্ছে সরকারের বছরব্যাপী ফল উৎপাদনের মাধ্যমে পুষ্টি উন্নয়ন প্রকল্প। ইতোমধ্যেই তিনি তার বাগানের ফল বিক্রি করতে শুরু করেছেন। বাগানের মাল্টা ঢাকা হয়ে চলে যাচ্ছে দেশের বিভিন্ন জেলায়।

শাখাওয়াত হোসেন বাবুল জানান, ইতোমধ্যেই তিনি মাল্টা বাগানে প্রায় ২৫ থেকে ৩০ লাখ টাকা খরচ করেছেন। গত বছর থেকে শুরু হয়েছে মাল্টার উৎপাদন। এ বছর তা পুরো মাত্রায়। ভালো ফলন হলে তার এ বাগান থেকে বছরে কোটি টাকার ফল বিক্রি করা সম্ভব।

মাল্টা চাষী বাবলু আরও জানান, যোগাযোগ ব্যবস্থা খারাপ হওয়ায় ইচ্ছে থাকলেও অনেকেই এ বাগান থেকে মাল্টা কিনতে পারছেন না। তবে তিনি ব্যক্তি উদ্যোগে বাগান সংলগ্ন বিল পাড়ি দিয়ে মাল্টা নিয়ে যাচ্ছেন ঢাকার বাজারে। তার সফলতা দেখে জেলার অনেকেই মাল্টা চাষে উদ্যোগী হচ্ছেন বলেও জানান তিনি।

কৈশোর থেকেই গাছ লাগানোর নেশা শাখাওয়াতের। অপ্রচলিত বা নতুন কোনো ফল, ফুল বা ঔষধি গাছের সন্ধান পেলেই সংগ্রহ করে লাগাতেন। পরিত্যক্ত জমিতে এবং সরকারি রাস্তার দুই পাশে গাছ লাগিয়েছেন বছরের পর বছর। গাছ লাগানোর নেশা পিছু ছাড়েনি তার। বৈচিত্র্যপূর্ণ গাছের সন্ধান পেলে এখনো ছুটে যান এবং চারা সংগ্রহ করে লাগিয়ে থাকেন।

পাবনার ঈশ্বরদীতে অবস্থিত রূপপুর পারমাণবিক বিদ্যুৎকেন্দ্রের কর্মচারী শাখাওয়াত হোসেন ২০১৩ সালে খুলনায় পরমাণু চিকিৎসা কেন্দ্রে চাকরি করার সময় কৃষি গবেষণা ইনস্টিটিউটে বেড়াতে যান। টসটসে রসাল মাল্টার স্বাদে মুগ্ধ হন শাখাওয়াত। এরপর সেখান থেকে বারি-১ জাতের ২০টি মাল্টার চারা সংগ্রহ করে গ্রামের বাড়ি চুয়াডাঙ্গার ভগিরথপুরে নিয়ে লাগান। ২০১৫ সালে সব কটি গাছে ফল ধরলে তা দেখতে আশপাশের লোকজন ভিড় করতে থাকেন। এরপর এসব গাছ থেকে ডাল কলম তৈরির পর পরিকল্পিতভাবে মাল্টা চাষে নামেন শাখাওয়াত। প্রথমেই ২০ বিঘা জমি বন্দোবস্ত করে মাল্টার বাগান তৈরি করেন। পরের বছর ৪০ বিঘা জমিতে চাষ করেন।

চুয়াডাঙ্গা কৃষি সম্প্রসারণ অধিদপ্তরের অতিরিক্ত উপপরিচালক সুফি মো. রফিকুজ্জামান জানান, দামুড়হুদা উপজেলাতে প্রায় ৪০ বিঘা জমিতে বারি-১ জাতের মাল্টা চাষ হয়েছে। এবার ফলনও হয়েছে বেশ ভালো। এ ফল উত্তোলন করে বাজারে বিক্রিও শুরু হয়েছে। এই ফল বিদেশি মাল্টার তুলনায় টক কম ও বেশ সুস্বাদু। আশা করা যায় বারি মাল্টা-১ এর সম্প্রসারণ যদি আমরা করতে পারি এবং বাজারে এ মাল্টার যে চাহিদা তাতে করে কৃষকরা বারি মাল্টা-১ চাষ করে লাভবান হবে।

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