From Rajshahi to Europe

Mangoes produced in Bagha Upazila areas nationwide famous for the delicious seasonal fruit are going to be exported to six European countries like England, Sweden, France, Norway, Portugal and Russia this year, reports BSS.

The venture has been started since last year. Hortex Foundation and Department of Upazila Agriculture Extension jointly launched the mango exporting works through Food and Agriculture Organization.

Upazila Agriculture Officer Sabina Begum said 50 big orchard owners were given certificate after listing them for mango export.
Prior to this, they were imparted training on production of safe and poison-free mango through agriculture management.

Last year, Dhaka BSTI Laboratory tested mangoes from 200 to 300 grams each produced in lead farmers’ orchards through best practices. A team of commerce ministry also visited the orchards and adjudged the mangoes as exportable. Subsequently, the export starts and will continue this year. The superior varieties mangoes will be exported after ten days next.

Around 100 tonnes of mango are likely to be exported from Rajshahi to the foreign markets this year creating high hope among farmers, traders and others concerned.

Deb Dulal Dhali, Deputy Director of Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), here said the mangoes were produced through adopting fruit bagging technology. Last year, 30 tonnes of mangoes produced through fruit bagging technology were exported to different European markets.

The success has been achieved by dint of promoting hygiene practice and other modern technologies in some mango orchards commercially in the district last year for the first time yielding more than 50 tonnes of exportable safe and disease-free mango.

Agriculturist Dhali said mango farming in fruit-bagging method has gradually been rising here for the last couple of years. If the mango was cultivated through this method there is no need of pesticide use. As a result, mango remained in poison-free condition.

Mango farming was started through this system experimentally after importing a special type of bag from China in 2015. Fruit bag can be initiated when age of mango is 40 to 45 days. Since then there is no need of spraying any pesticide or insecticide on mango.

Ashrafuddola, a mango farmer of Kaligram village under Bagha upazila, said he started using fruit-bagging technology since last year and got better yield and market price than conventional system. Bagged mangoes are protected from storm like natural disaster.

Upazila Nirbahi Officer Hamidul Islam said: “I’m really excited a lot to say that mangoes from Bagha have access to European chain shops meaning to open a gateway for other supermarkets in Europe. Besides, mango exports will ensure better livelihood of the farmers for receiving high prices.”

Dr Alim Uddin, principal scientific officer of Regional Fruit Research Station, said many farmers and value chain actors got the necessary training on best agricultural practices and with that they started exploring the high value export markets.

There is no alternative to use fruit-bagging technology to earn foreign currency through mango exporting, he said.

Md Muniruzzaman, President of Rajshahi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “It is not a charity and even it is not a donation…. It is fully a commercial issue.”

He said all stakeholders including farmers must have to produce good quality mangoes maintaining its highest value, if they want to continue mango exports to Europe’s chain shops. “An additional advantage is that some Bangladeshi mango varieties mature early in the season and therefore could be sold to European consumers before other varieties from competitor countries are made available,” the chamber leader said.