Nearly 25 percent of the produced fruits in the country is wasted every year for the lack of modern storage system, proper transportation, and inefficiency and lack of knowledge of the farmers. That is, the producers of the country are incurring a loss worth Tk 15,000 crore on account of wastage of fruits every year which greatly affect the producers, farmer, gardeners and traders.
Experts said that the production of fruit in the country is gradually increasing. The amount of fruit cultivating land is also increasing. Besides, the planting of fruit trees along the courtyard and roadside of the house is increasing day by day. According to the Department of Agriculture Extension, 1 crore 30 lakh 96 thousand tons of fruits was produced during the last ffiscal year and 1 crore 21 lakh 13 thousand tons in the FY 2017-2018.
During the last six years, fruit production has increased by about 22 million tons. Meanwhile, the amount of waste is also increasing with the production. In 2017-18, there was a waste of 30 million 28 thousand tons. At current market prices, its financial value is around Tk15,000 crore.
Traders saying that if farmers and gardeners benefit from a large amount of fruit, the consumers will be able to eat the fruit at a lower cost. Not only that, the import of fruits from abroad will also be reduced. Bangladesh Bank sources said during the FY 2017-18, fruits worth Tk 1,641crore were imported.
In the last five fiscal years, import of apples, oranges, malta and grapes were Tk 7,959 crore. According to a report of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization FAO, fruit production in Bangladesh is increasing every year. However, due to lack of proper rules, a large part of the produce is lost during harvest.
Sources in the Department of Agriculture Extension said that it is possible to reduce the amount of damage by collecting fruits according to the rules. In addition, agronomists have advised people and businessmen to adopt a healthier approach to ripening fruit. In this regard, former agriculture secretary Anwar Farooq said, "Our harvesting technology is very weak. Besides, a lot of fruits is wasted in transport and storage. Production of all types of fruits is increasing every year in the country.”
We need to invest in surplus management now. Farmers should be trained in various fields, including harvesting and preserving fruit. Separate transport system and storage system should be developed for the fruit, he added. In response to a question he explained that a maximum of 10 percent of the fruits produced could be wasted. There can be no more than that. It's time to look into this.
More than 70 varieties of fruits are currently being cultivated in the country. Of them, 45 are produced commercially. 53 percent of the total produced fruit comes from commercial gardens. The remaining 47 percent comes from the building/homes and adjoining areas.