City markets countrywide are once again witnessing the arrival of litchi, the succulent summer fruit loved for its unique taste, flavour and colour.
The litchi farmers are optimistic about earning good profits this year due to the higher prices they are receiving compared to the past few years.
However, the current price is beyond the purchasing capacity of the average consumer, primarily due to the limited supply of the summer fruit in the market.
Prolonged heat waves have negatively affected litchi production, leading to fewer fruits on the trees in orchards nationwide, pushing prices up.
While the summer will bring other juicy fruits like mango and jackfruit, the demand for fresh litchis remains high, allowing roadside fruit sellers to ask for higher prices.
Currently, litchi is being sold for Tk 400 to 500 per 100 pieces in the city.
Aminul, a litchi seller at Mirpur 12, explains that early variety litchis are in the market now, contributing to the higher prices. He expects the price to decrease when the supply increases in the next few days.
Rofiqul Islam, a litchi farmer from Magura, cited this season’s intense heat wave and irregular rainfall as reasons for smaller litchis this year.
Nevertheless, he reported a higher yield and an encouraging market price, stating, “Last year, the plant had 10 counts of litchi, but this year 17 counts of litchis have been produced on that tree.”
KJM Abdul Awal, director (in charge) Horticulture Wing of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), noted that despite their smaller size, the abundance of litchis this year may lead to extra profits for farmers.
“There was no significant rainfall in spring, which resulted in low humidity that helped litchis ward off diseases and insects,” he said, optimistically forecasting an increase in production from last year’s 225,896 tonnes.
Different litchi varieties have started appearing in the market, including China-1, Bari-1, and Mangalbari, with others like Bombai and China-3 expected in about two weeks.
With the fruit’s commercial value recognized, many are reaping benefits by cultivating litchi, with high-yielding varieties like China-3, Bombay, and Madrazi also grown on homestead lands.
The taste of Ishwardi litchis is renowned nationwide, and they have flourished in Rajshahi and Dinajpur districts.
Litchi hubs include Jessore, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Khulna, Dhaka, Kushtia, Sylhet, and Chittagong districts, where popular varieties such as China-3, Bombay, and Madras are prevalent.
Government horticulture centres in three hill districts- Rangamati, Khagrachari, and Bandarban, and Jamalpur, Rajbari, Meherpur, Chapainawabgonj, and Comilla also report promising growth in litchi production.