The name of the village is Paragaon. It is located in Bhalukar Habirbari Union of Mymensingh. Its nature is like the name. However, Md. Has made that Paragaon a ‘role model’ of Bangladesh. Abdul Motaleb. Once a laughing stock, he was nicknamed “Crazy” and is now better known as “Khejur Motaleb”. He has shown that it is possible to cultivate Saudi dates in Bangladesh.
When we set foot in his garden on Monday (November 15) morning, something was going on inside. Going ahead, it was seen that a man dressed in ragged clothes was digging a few feet of soil and picking up a huge palm tree. There are some employees working there.
Later it was found out that the person in the dirty clothes was Motaleb. He greeted with a smile. Asked why he was picking trees at the beginning, he said, “These two trees have been sold.” The truck is standing outside. Go to Jaflong in Sylhet. The price of two trees is four lakh rupees. And the price of the two trees with dates would be six lakhs! Hearing the high price of date palm, it is almost eye-catching. The two trees were azalea dates.
He started gardening in 2001. But before that he went to Saudi Arabia in 1997. While working there, he got a job in a date orchard. In two years the salary increased to six hundred riyals. He used to get tagada to return home from home. At one point he decided to return to the country, never to go to Saudi again. The Saudi employer withdrew his six-month salary, fearing that he would not return when he returned from vacation. Motaleb left the country without that salary and brought with him 35 kg of seed dates.
“I understand that those who can work can work everywhere,” he said. You don’t have to go abroad. If you can keep money, you can keep it in the country. In 1995, I lost 96,000 rupees by cultivating foreign Magur. I have 10-12 bighas of land. I was beaten with money in Malaysia for going abroad. Later I went to Saudi Arabia after spending 90 thousand rupees. There was a debt of over one lakh rupees. ‘
‘One day while working in the garden, I picked dates from a tree. I ate and saw that there is no fruit in the world. Tastes so good. It was ajwa and sukkari varieties of dates. From that day on, my target was to take these dates to the country. I planted a cut tree and saw that it bears fruit. Then I think six seasons in Bangladesh, two seasons here, then how to survive? Then I experiment in various ways. I saw that the tree can survive. I am bringing 35 kg of seeds and dates. ‘
“People bring suitcase-filled things when they go abroad, and I used to bring dates,” said Motaleb. The people of the country used to laugh and say crazy. From the seeds I gave, 265 saplings came out. The seedlings were not sized. Not more than three years, I will plant the seedlings when the buds come. I started in 2001. One day after 18 months, my wife came and said: Your tree has buds. I did not believe. After betting, I saw that the buds really came out, but the male. Then a courage came. When the male buds are coming, so will the girl. It was the 18th day of the month of Chaitra. A man also came in Boishakh. The next year five, the next year seven, the next nine of them buds, all male. Still not disappointed. But tensions were rising. “
‘I wasn’t giving up. The following year, at 11 o’clock, a girl bud appeared on one of the trees. I picked it up and put it separately. I named this tree after Sheikh Siraj. Ajoya tree. This is the first Saudi date palm tree in Bangladesh. He came once every year. I put it in his name because he has a lot of debt. ‘
‘Now I know cutting. The seedlings grown from female trees are female. They can be cut and planted in male trees. No one in the whole of Bangladesh can do it like me. I made a girl by cutting down all my trees. ‘
This person, who loves to introduce himself as Khejur Motaleb, said that usually the buds come in February every year. Fruits come in June, July, August. Sells more raw dates. When it comes to drying pakata, the cost and weather are also a barrier. When the raw material becomes sweet, it starts selling. The minimum price of dates in his garden is one thousand rupees per kg. Maximum three thousand rupees. In his garden there are dates of Azwa, Sukkari, Maryam, Amber, Goat and Flute varieties. Ajoya runs the most. Amber is the most expensive. Ajoa is sold at two and a half thousand rupees per kg.
One of the virtues of Motaleb is to know how to cut down trees. “If I cut, 95 out of 100 will survive,” he said. I have made all the trees in the garden of five bighas with seven trees. I have to sell. It takes one male tree for every four or five trees. My garden currently has over six hundred trees. There is another five bigha garden with only male and seed trees. ‘
According to him, Saudi dates must be planted on any soil anywhere in Bangladesh. But the girl must be a tree. Almost all the six hundred trees in his garden are yielding. A tree lives one and a half to two hundred years. Trees do not die easily without lightning. Trees are not so beautiful in Saudi.
Large trees, that is, for all 15-20 year old trees, have made iron cages in the shape of a ladder around them. It is useful to take care of date palms and trees. It costs 20-30 thousand rupees to make. And it takes regular care. Urea, phosphate, dung fertilizer is to be given. Sometimes it takes water. It needs to be cleaned regularly. Besides, now it has no cost.
Asked how many dates are available from one tree per year, he said, “On an average, one tree produces 50-60 kg of dates per year. Some trees give 100 kg of dates. Profit is also available from selling seedlings. It would cost me 50,000 rupees to buy a female seedling here. I guarantee it will bear fruit by writing it on the stamp. Besides, there are seedlings of seeds from 200 to 10 thousand, 15 thousand rupees. However, it cannot be guaranteed. Some people sell it by bargaining. ‘