The malta, though only introduced several years ago, is winning the hearts of Rangamati growers as the fruit is continuing to bring in profits. The malta is very similar to the orange; it is a good source of vitamin C.
This year, an abundance of malta fruits grew on the slopes and hills of Rangamati. The growers are happy because of the good price they are getting from wholesale buyers. The wholesalers in turn are also happy, as demands for the fruit is high at local retail shops and markets where one kilogram of the fruit is selling for at least Tk 80 (€0.80). The best quality of the produce is even selling for as high as Tk 100 there.
In 2014, Hemo Kumar Chakma planted 150 malta saplings at his village in Bodhipur. Just a few years later, he was able to harvest the fruit from about 100 of the trees and earn Tk 30,000 (€300) from their sales. His earnings continued to grow and last year's sales reached Tk 70,000.
Fruit trader Muhammad Rubel, who gets maltas from Rangamati and ships it out to large cities such as Chattogram and Dhaka, said most of his clients require fresh and seasonal organic fruits grown in the hills, because "fruits grown in the hills are the best".