Article by: MS Hossain- Astute Horse
The southern region of Bangladesh is famous for guavas, more popularly known in Bangladesh as ‘Bengal’s Apple’. Especially in Jhalakathi Sadar Upazila and at Swarupkathi and Banaripara Upazila in Pirozpur, farmers heavily rely on guava farming. Such diversity of life is hardly to be found in other places of the country. Loss in guava farming in one season usually leads to extreme distress for the farmers throughout the year. The current year is one of those.
The eye-soothing guava orchards on canals over Jhalakathi’s Sugandha, Bishkhali, Gabkhan and Sandhya River are Southern region’s main places of guava farming. Every day, thousands of tons of guavas are supplied all across the country. Boats are the main transportation for supplying. Farmers carry the guavas onto the boats from the river-adjacent orchards. There are hundreds of boats filled with guava and all the trades occur on boats.
The floating market appears as the centre of Barisal’s (aka The Venice of Bengal) beauty. Nobody knows when the idea of this floating market began, but it’s a hundred-year old tradition. Development and modernization are taking over the country but it’s surprising to see them not reaching to this river-oriented life yet. For more than 100 years, the local farmers have been experiencing the ups and downs of life along with the ebb and flow of the river. Many farmers and wholesalers gather here every day. Not only guava, there are other fruits sold in this market.
Boat makers at the weekly “Noukar Haat” (boat market) in Kuriana (কুড়িয়ানা) under the Swarupkathi upazila of Pirojpur district are doing brisk business during this monsoon season. The two-kilometre-long marketplace is noted for the trade in different varieties of boats during the monsoon season. The market runs every Friday from May to November. “Panis” or “Pinis”, “Dingi” and “Naak Golui” are the types of boats available for sale, built by local craftsmen from the Muktahar, Chami, Boldia, Inderhaat, Boitha Kata, Dubi and Kathali villages.