There is a saying – ‘Nakshi Kantha Phule Mela, Jessore District of Date Jaggery’. To spread the tradition of palm molasses worldwide, a 3-day molasses fair has started in the ancient historical district of Jessore. And common people flocked to see the fair. This fair started from today Monday and will continue till next Wednesday.
This fair has been organized by the Chowagacha upazila administration of Jessore to deliver unadulterated jaggery to the consumers. There are 13 stalls in the fair. Around 100 juice and molasses sellers along with plants have brought their products to the fair. Various pithas made of jaggery caught the attention of the fair.
Kinu Mandal of Hakimpur, Chougacha, Jessore brought date juice to the fair. Molasses is made by burning the juice in front of the customer.
Jewel Mridha, who came to the fair, collected 5 kg of jaggery for the family after seeing it being prepared in front of them. He said, ‘There is an excess of adulterated jaggery in the market. The responsibility to understand is pure. So I saw jaggery being made in front of my eyes and bought it for home.’
Seller Kinu Mandal said, ‘I brought 10 bottles of juice in the morning. All jaggery was sold within an hour. Got more orders. I will bring it tomorrow.’
The seller Rabiul Islam said that he brought 20 maunds of jaggery to the fair. All jaggery was sold out sometime after the opening of the fair at noon. He also said that molasses is being sold from Tk 400 to Tk 700 depending on the type.
The added attraction of the fair was the variety of pithas made of date jaggery. Students of different schools and colleges of Chougacha have brought their own jaggery cakes to the fair.
Khadija Khatun, a student of class 11, said, ‘I made different types of pithas including patishapta, vapa, raschiti raskuli. Which I brought to the fair. Pithas are in high demand. Sales are going very well. If I had understood earlier, I would have brought more.’
Omedul Islam, teacher of Chougacha’s Mridhapara Women’s College, said that our girls themselves have made jaggery pita at home. They have kept the quality of pita and jaggery intact with their utmost. So that buyers can buy some good products from this fair.
Writer and journalist Shahanur Alam Ujjal said, ‘As many farmers are selling palm trees due to economic stress, kiln owners are also breaking the law and buying those trees. This should be stopped as well as palm trees should be planted and preserved by proper care. Then it will be possible to sustain this tradition. Otherwise, if the trees are reduced, the violence of adulteration will increase. The tradition will face a crisis.’
Researcher Syed Rakib Mahmud said, ‘Yesterday we came to know that date molasses has been approved for GI index. As a result, the process of exporting molasses abroad went one step further from now. Which will play a role in the country’s economy.
Deputy Commissioner of Jessore Mohammad Abraul Hasan Majumdar said, ‘Date molasses has been being exported from Jessore to different countries for a long time. It is officially in the process of exporting. We have already received the GI index letter.’
Jessore Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Abraul Hashan Majumder said, ‘Now we are trying to increase the production of molasses. As the plantation is going on, the trees are being trained. Also we have other projects going on. We continue to make every effort to spread the branding globally.’
According to the Agriculture Department, Jessore has about 1.6 million date trees. Of these, date palm juice is extracted from about 4 lakh trees. From which 3 and a half thousand metric tons of jaggery is produced.