With the onset of winter, palm molasses and patali production has been in full swing in Jessore, Natore and Chuadanga. However, due to adulterated jaggery, there is not enough profit to be made by selling pure Patali. Arbitrarily felling trees to collect enough sap, the gardeners have to get speed. Still, because of the reputation, the products of these districts are being supplied to different areas.
Milan Hossain of Tejro village in Jessore has been making a living by collecting date juice, making jaggery and patali for the last 15 years. He said that due to the cutting of many trees, there is not enough juice now.
Milan Hossain said, ‘Earlier there were many trees. Some trees do not produce sap because they are big. Some died, some were cut. Now I cut 70 trees. I will take this juice home and burn it. Then I will make jaggery and patali.’
Milon is making molasses at home by collecting many plant juices. However, with the increase in the price of fuel, selling molasses at Tk 450 per kg and patali at Tk 500 per kg is not enough profit.
A gachi who collects juice and makes molasses says, ‘I am burning the molasses now. After a while I will go to cut trees again. The juice is also good in winter. Jaggery is also more. Not getting fair price in the market as hard work. Fuel has to be bought with a lot of money. But the price at which it is being sold does not increase the price of the zone.’
Meanwhile, the Sarojganj jaggery market of Chuadanga Sadar has gathered. Apart from the district, traders from Kushtia, Jhenaidah, Meherpur are also coming to sell jaggery and patali at this hundred-year-old market.
A molasses seller said, ‘Old market for many years. Traders come from all over the country. Dhaka, Sylhet comes from Pabna. We arrange trucks in market. Jaggery here is good. Many demands.’
Jaggery producers of Natore have complained that they are suffering due to a class of unscrupulous traders making adulterated jaggery. However, the administration is talking about surveillance to prevent adulteration.
A producer said, ‘Some adulterated jaggery is available in tin boxes for Tk 50 to Tk 60 per kg. By adding medicine to that jaggery, they make jaggery with attractive colors. Their attractive jaggery fetches high prices in the market and farmers’ jaggery is a little black in color, so their jaggery does not fetch the price.’
Abu Nacher Bhunya, Deputy Commissioner of Natore, said, ‘Sometimes it is seen that some unscrupulous businessmen are making adulterated jaggery by mixing illegal chemicals with date juice. We are conducting regular operations in these matters.’
Gachiras are making molasses and patali by collecting juice from about 1.25 lakh date trees of Jessore, Natore and Chuadanga this season.