BD Post Desk
Chemical-free mangoes produced in Rajshahi have started making inroad into Europe’s chain shops with 25.23 metric tonnes of the fruit have so far been exported to eight countries from Bagha upazila during the current harvesting season.
The mangoes were exported from June 6 to July 11 last with joint initiative of Hortex Foundation and Bagha Upazila Agriculture Office through World Food Organization.
Upazila Agriculture Officer Sabina Begum told BSS that 50 owners of mango orchards were imparted training on safe and chemical-free mango production through best agriculture management.
In the current season, 25.23 metric tons of mangoes were collected from 11 of the trained growers and those were exported to England, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, France, Russia and Italy.
Through the agriculture management, the growers produced mango free from harmful chemical ranging from 200 to 300 grams weight each and exported for the third consecutive time.
Ashrafuddowla of village Kaligram and Mohsin Ali of Arpara village, two leading mango growers, said they exported mango this year like the previous two years with close supervision of Upazila Agriculture Office.
Agriculturist Sabina Begum says soil texture of Bagha upazila is suitable for mango production. Test and quality of the upazila’s mango is unprecedented. That’s why mango is exported from here after meeting local demands.
Besides, employment opportunities were created for more than one lakh people centering the mango production and its transportation and marketing in the upazila this season.
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 best hygiene practice and other modern technologies in some mango orchards commercially in the district last year yielding more than 50 tonnes of exportable safe and disease-free mango.
Agriculturist Sabina 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, mangoes remained in a poison-free condition.
Fruit bagging mango farming was started through applying this method 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.
Mango farmer Ashrafuddola said he started using fruit-bagging technology since last year and got a better yield and market price than conventional system. Bagged mangoes are protected from storm like natural disaster.
Deputy Commissioner SM Abdul Kader said: “I’m really excited that mangoes from Bagha have access to European chain shops opening a gateway for other supermarkets.
Mango exports will ensure better livelihood of the farmers.” 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.
Md Muniruzzaman, president of Rajshahi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said all stakeholders including farmers must have to produce best 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.