Betel nut, one of the important commercial crops of Noakhali, is now being exported to different countries in the Middle East.
Last year 270 tonnes of betel nut were exported from the district. This year, the export target has been set at 300 tonnes.
The Noakhaki office of Department of Agricultural Extension confirmed this to The Business Standard.
Many wholesalers at Datterhat, a famous wholesale and retail market in the district, said exporters collect nuts from Noakhali and then export them to different Middle Eastern countries.
One wholesaler Monir Hossain said, "This year, the growers in the district have managed bumper production of betel nut.
"Different types of ripe betel nuts are available in the market. Wholesalers buy each "pon" (80 nuts) at a price ranging between Tk85 and Tk140, depending on their size. After sorting, they sell those to exporters at Tk150."
During offseason, each pon of betel nut is sold at Tk400-Tk500, he added.
Farmer Henju Miah said, "Betel nut production is not as costly. I spend around Tk4,500 on producing betel nut in my four-hectare orchard every year. I have sold betel nut worth Tk1.5 lakh so far this year."
Usually, betel nut is harvested during the months of October and November, he added.
Dr Abul Hossain, deputy director at the agricultural extension department, Noakhali, said, "The soil and weather of Noakhali are suitable for betel nut production. As betel nut farming is profitable, more than 400 farmers from Binodpur and Jamalpur areas in the district have engaged in commercial farming of the crop."
He added that over 456 hectares of land have been brought under betel nut cultivation this year.
The wholesalers, who collect betel nut from Sitakunda, Cumilla, and Dhaka aim to export 300 tonnes of betel nut this year, he added.