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Dhaka Tribune

Mango traders incur huge loss due to restriction on harvesting

Update : 22 Jun 2015, 08:14 PM

Mango growers and traders of Chapainawabganj, the major mango producing region of the country, are incurring huge loss in the peak season despite a bumper and chemical-free production.

Many traders, orchard owners and people associated with mango business are not even able to recover the investment let alone make any profit.

They blamed government restriction on harvesting period, weak marketing system and lack of interest from the big buyers as the main reasons for the loss.

To ensure chemical-free mangoes this season, the vigilant Chapainawabganj administration put a ban on harvesting mangoes before June 1. However, because of the heat spells the mangoes began to ripe early this year. But the growers could not harvest them due to the ban. This caused mangoes from others districts, especially Meherpur, Satkhira and Dinajpur, to take over the markets in the big cities of Dhaka, Chittagong and Comilla.

Moreover, due to the heat major varieties of mangoes – Nengra, Gopalbhog and Khirshapat – matured at the same time and had to be harvested quickly causing the supply to be greater than the demand. As such mangoes in the markets of Chapainawabganj are selling at a lower price than that of the previous year.

The price, though appreciated by the customers, has become a headache for the traders.

President of Nobabganj Mango Traders’ Multi-purpose Cooperative Society, Sirajul Islam, said: “Last year we sold Lengra and Khirshapat varieties for Tk2,000 to Tk2,500 per maund. But this year it has come down to Tk1,200 to Tk1,800.”

Claiming that the current price was the lowest in the last couple of years, he said the delayed harvesting due to the government ban had resulted in the loss.

“Besides, the wholesale buyers from Dhaka and other big cities are not coming to our markets because our mangoes are chemical-free. Since these are perishable goods, they need to be sold quickly in bulk and the bumper production is not helping,” he said.

Kazi Emdadul Haque, general secretary of the Kansat Mango Wholesale Traders’ Coordination Committee, said the market in Kansat usually saw mango business worth Tk21 crore a day. But this year the business was very slow.

Nasir Hossain of Sadar upazila said the government put a ban on the harvest but it did not provide adequate support for marketing. “If we are expected to produce chemical-free mangoes, we need support from the administration. More than 20% mangoes of our area was already destroyed by the storms.”

President of Chapainawabganj Chamber of Commerce and Industry Abdul Wahed figured the loss this year to be about Tk500 crore. “Last year we had to struggle because of a smear campaign against us. We were accused of using formalin. But this year we did not use any formalin and now buyers don’t want to buy from us. If such conspiracies are not dealt with by the government, we will go for tougher movement.”

He urged the government to provide interest-free loan to the affected mango traders and growers to recover the loss.

Meanwhile, Chapainawabganj Deputy Commissioner Jahangir Kabir said the decision to ban harvesting till June 1 was a unanimous decision. “Everyone including the farmers and traders agreed to abide by this to ensure fresh and healthy mangoes for the consumers. But we have no control over the weather. We will investigate the reasons behind the loss and take necessary measures.”

He further added that the effort to ensure chemical-free mangoes for the consumers would continue in future keeping in mind the interest of the traders as well.  

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