Adharsha Gram, a remote village in Bandarban's Naikhongchhari upazila is gradually becoming a centre of attraction for people of surrounding areas after a youth has successfully cultivated dragon fruit for the first time in the hill upazila.
Seeing the success of Yusuf Azad Munna, who started the exotic fruit cultivation at his own initiative, gradually many people in the area have been showing interest in dragon fruit farming.
Naikhongchhari Upazila Agriculture Department and Naikhongchhari Horticulture Centre have jointly provided assistance to Munna whose success has encouraged many.
Following Munna's footsteps, acting Chairman of Naikhongchhari Upazila Parishad Kamal Uddin, Palak Barua and many others have come forward and started dragon fruit farming.
The pink colour fruit hangs from a cactus like plant and contains many vitamins and mineral salt, people concerned said.
During a recent visit to Adarsha Gram this correspondent saw dragon fruit plants on Munna's 40-decimal orchard creeping over a five-foot pole and many ripe and unripe fruit hanging from the trees.
Munna said he planted 160 saplings of the fruit which he collected from Naikhongchhari Horticulture Centre free of cost in 2016, and later added 30 more saplings.
All the 190 plants bore fruits for the first time this year and each plant has five to six fruits, Munna said, adding that he has earned Tk 50,000 by selling some of the fruits and hope to sell the remaining fruits in the next two weeks.
Munna said he made the orchard by spending Tk 80,000.
The dragon fruit plants bear fruit in three to four years and a mature tree bears 25 to 30 fruits, Munna said, adding that one kilogram of dragon fruit is selling for Tk 600 in the local markets.
After seeing success on experimental basis, Munna now plans to expand his farm.
Upazila Sub-Assistant Agriculture Officer Mohammad Muhibul Islam Rajib said dragon is an exotic fruit and the plant is evergreen cactus.
The flower of the fruit is white and almost looks like night-queen, and it contains good amounts of vitamins and has good taste, he said.
Dr Ranjan Chowdhury, a physician at Naikhongchhari Upazila Health Complex, said dragon fruit builds resistance against diseases and the fruit is beneficial for diabetes patients.
The fruit also reduces cholesterol level and keeps the blood pressure under control, the doctor said.
Naikhongchhari Press Club President Shamim Iqbal Chowdhury said many people in the upazila are now showing interest to follow Munna's example.