300 metric tons of mangoes from 220 farmers of Bagha upazila of Rajshahi are likely to be exported to various European and the Middle eastern countries this year.
The Department of Agriculture earlier signed a deal with the concerned farmers to produce export quality mangoes in their orchards.
According to the directives, 220 mango farmers produced those export quality mango varieties known as Laxman Bhog or Lakhna, Himsagar or Khirsapat and Langra. According to a directive of the Deputy Commissioner, Rajshahi, plucking of Laxman Bhog or Lakhna mango had started from May-25, Himsagar is being plucked from May-28 and the Langra will start to be plucked from June-6. These 220 mango farmers of Bagha expect to earn Tk three crore (Tk 30 million) by exporting the 300 metric tonnes of mangoes.
Shafiqul Islam, a mango farmer of Bagha upazila informed, he has been sending mango to various Eurpean and the Middle Eastern countries by producing mangoes through using fruit bagging process. He has started to pluck export quality mango from his orchard from June-1. He further said,' farmers of Bagha can produce more export quality mangoes but often they fail to export sufficient mangoes. But, he opined, the mango export is likely to increase this year.
However, mango farmer Anowarul Islam of Jinnanagar area of Rajshahi and President of Rajshahi Agro Food Society informed, he has already exported 500 kgs of Gopal Bhog mango to Sweden through the exporters.
He further mentioned, he did not strike any prior deal with the department of Agriculture to export mango. He further mentioned, department of Agriculture brought some mango farmers of Bagha only under contract farming system but export quality mangoes are produced everywhere in Rajshahi and the surrounding districts.
That is why, it is necessary to bring mango farmers of other upazilas under a contract farming system. He added, he has been exporting the mangoes from his orchard through Syed N Hossain Sajal, Managing Director of Angel Group.
Anowarul claimed that the mango processed through fruit bagging is very fresh and luscious. Due to protecting the mangoes through bags, no insecticide is needed to spray in the mango orchard and even an ant cannot enter into the bag. As a result, the mango he produces has a tremendous demand abroad. These mangoes are being exported under the initiatives of the farmers and the exporters. The government has no role or co-operation in this connection.
Sources from the Department of Agriculture Extension in Bagha informed, 220 mango growers from the upazila have struck a deal to export 300 metric tons of mango through Hotex Foundation and they cannot inform further details of the deal.
Bagha Upazila Agriculture Officer Shafiullah Sultan informed, the department of Agriculture arranged training for the contract farmers. They are trained on using fertiliser and irrigation systems as well as producing fresh mango through using the bagging process. Such training for mango farmers is conducted only in Bagha upazila, he added.
He mentioned, the export quality mangoes are sent first to Central Packaging House in Dhaka. The quality of mango is tested and packaged there so that the mango remains fresh for a long time, and then the mango gets clearance or permission for export.
According to the DAE, Rajshahi, there are mango orchards on 18,515 hectares of land in Rajshahi district and around 215,000 (214,676) metric tons of mango amounting Tk 900 crore may be produced in the orchards.
Uttam Kumar Kabiraj, Additional Director of Rajshahi district Agriculture Extension department informed, last year mango farmers sold export quality mango at Tk 90 per kilogramme on an average. This year, the mango production has decreased a bit in the district and at present quality mango is being sold at Tk 60 per kg. As a result, farmers are expecting to get a good price of mango this year even if they sell the mango in the local markets. However, he added, the price of fresh 'bagged mango' is always more than that of normally produced mango. He hoped, the Covid pandemic panic being over, more mangoes will be exported abroad from Rajshahi this year.