Traditional date molasses has created income opportunities for marginal farmers in date-tree producing areas during the lean period of agriculture in the country.
Producing molasses with date juice has become a fortune changer for many farmers. It is also significantly infusing dynamism into the rural economy.
During the past couple of years, many farmers, scores of amateurs, educated youths are seen humming towards the processing and marketing of date molasses.
Dr Mehedi Masood, project director of Year-Round Fruit Production for Nutrition Improvement under Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), told the Daily Sun that farmers have made good profits from date molasses during a lean period.
“Due to its great taste and sweetness, the date molasses has huge demand for making winter cake and different food among the people living in both village and urban area,” he said.
“It can be an alternative of sugar as most of the sweet food is being made with it during winter season. Planting of date tree in the coastal region can increase the production of molasses and reduce sugar import, added he.
Date juice collection along with processing of molasses has become vibrant in the juice producing region in the country with the advent of winter season.
The date-tree farmers are passing busy times in collecting date-juice and processing molasses in the region.
Rajshahi, Natore, Ishwardi, Chuadanga, Kushtia, Jhenaidah, Satkhira, Jessore, Khulna and some other neighboring districts are famous for date molasses.
Oyen Uddin, a date molasses producer from Kushtia said, “We collect the juice accumulated in the clay pot over night from the date tree. We then evaporate the juice by heating next morning to make solid or thick-slurry of molasses.” Making of date molasses give them an extra profit with other works round the year, he said.
“Farmer can produce 20 to 25 kg of molasses from a single date tree in a season and they can earn Tk 2,000-3,000 from a tree. There is no need of extra care of the trees for this it is a very profitable business,” said Mehedi Masood.
“Bangladesh produces around 20,000 tonnes of date molasses in each year,” he said, adding that it is being exported to many countries.
Many locals are involved in molasses production. Date growers in the area are also gaining significant benefits through this large-scale economic activity centered on date molasses production.
Production of date palm juice was 152,747 tonnes in FY 2019-20, 165,651 tonnes in FY 2018-19 and 180,865 tonnes in FY 2017-18, according to BBS.