Through the innovation of newer technology and improved varieties of almond and coffee and by expanding their cultivation, it is possible to change the economic state of the people living in the Chattogram Hill Tracts, said Minister of Agriculture Dr Md Abdur Razzak.
Exporting these non-traditional crops can also improve the country's economy, the minister added after inspecting almond, coffee, and mango orchards in Bandarban's Ruma Upazila on Saturday.
"Almond and coffee are being produced on a very small scale in the hilly regions of the country at the moment. But these crops can be cultivated even in the plains and we have recently undertaken a project titled "Research, Development, and Expansion of Almond and Coffee" worth Tk211 crore regarding that," said the minister.
The agriculture minister added that all kinds of assistance would be provided for the cultivation of non-traditional crops.
Improved varieties of saplings, technological assistance, and expert advice are already being provided, he said.
"Last year, more than one and a half lakh almond saplings were distributed among the farmers and this year we will provide at least three lakh free saplings," he continued.
Besides, to alleviate the problem of processing almonds in the country and to encourage the establishment of processing facilities, the tariff rate on raw almond imports has been reduced to 5% from 90%, the minister added.