The recent spell of severe cold and fog in the district caused premature betel-nuts to fall off the trees, and the growers are worried they may not get good production.
Many betel-nut trees have been affected by 'cold injuries,' much to the worry of farmers in the district known for extensive betel-nut cultivation.
District Department of Agriculture Extension Deputy Director (DD) Shamsul Haque said betel-nut trees have been planted on 592 hectares of land in the district in the current season, and the expected production is 3,592 tonnes of betel-nuts.
During a recent visit to betel-nut orchards in different villages, this correspondent saw a large number of premature nuts lying on the ground.
Md Bablu, 52, of Moidandighi village in Boda upazila, told this correspondent that he is worried he will not get satisfactory production from his orchard on one bigha of land as premature nuts are falling off.
Mosharaf Hossain, 35, of Bhaularhat village in Debiganj upazila, said he has an orchard of 300 betel-nut trees on one bigha of land. Each tree usually produces two pons to four pons (1pon=80 pieces), he said, adding that production will be less this season as the trees were affected by cold injuries.
Mosharaf said he got around 450 pons last year, and sold them for Tk 80,000. Each pon cost between Tk 150 to Tk 200, depending on size and quality.
Like Bablu and Mosharaf, many betel-nut farmers of the district expressed their worries about reduced production.
DD Shamsul told this correspondent that betel-nuts fall from trees every winter, but the number of fallen premature nuts was higher this season due to severe cold and fog.
The nuts stopped falling after improvement in the weather, and production will not be affected drastically, the DD said.
The soil and climate of the district are favourable for betel-nut cultivation, farmers said.
The people of the district traditionally plant betel-nut trees around their homesteads, and many of them also cultivate it in orchards.
Saplings are usually planted in Baishakh and Jaishtha (mid-April to mid-June) months of Bangla calendar and the yield starts after three to four years, growers said, adding that two to four pons of betel nuts are usually got from each tree.