Traders and agriculture officers say mangoes are likely to sell out early this season in the district
Mango trading has peaked in the local markets of Rajshahi, with traders selling off 74% of total mango production amounting to Tk525 crore amid obstacles caused by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Meanwhile, the remaining 26% of mangoes will be sold in the next 20 to 25 days, confirmed Shamsul Haque, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture Extension in Rajshahi.
He said: “Mangoes had been cultivated on 17,686 hectares with a production target of 210,000 tons. However, with 15% of the total cultivation lost to cyclone Amphan, we now hope to achieve a target of 180,000 tons.
“Mangoes worth Tk700 crore are estimated to be sold across the district this season and traders will likely achieve this target provided the current market price remains unchanged.”
This has been made largely possible due to online mango trading, which has gained popularity among buyers and sellers amid the pandemic situation. As a result, employment opportunities have been created and mango growers have received fair prices.
On a visit to Baneshwar Bazar, the biggest mango market in the district, this correspondent found it to be nearly empty.
When asked, Shimul Hossain, a mango trader, said: “With the mango season nearing the end most of the mangoes have been sold off. Now, the only mango varieties available in the market are Langra, Lakshmanbhog, Fazli and Amrapali; while the most popular varieties—Himsagar and Gopalbhog—have all been sold.”
Nasir Uddin, another mango trader, said he was selling per ton Langra at Tk3,000-3200, Amrapali at Tk2100-2300, Fazli at Tk1,000-1300, and Lakshmanbhog at Tk1,000-1200.
Bagha Upazila Agriculture Officer Shafiullah Sultan said: “As per government records, 800 to 1,000 tons of mangoes are shipped out of the upazila every day, which is worth about Tk4 crore.”
For the first time, the West Zone of Bangladesh Railway has launched a special parcel train on the Chapainawabganj-Dhaka route via Rajshahi for transporting mangoes to Dhaka at a lower cost in the interest of the welfare of the mango traders and farmers amid the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
The cargo train transports a maximum of 225 tons of mangoes in six wagons every day. It costs Tk1.17 to carry a kilo of mangoes to Dhaka from Rajshahi and Tk1.30 from Chapainawabganj to Dhaka.
The post and telecommunication ministry has also arranged a truck of the postal department to transport mangoes to Dhaka free of cost.
The Bangladesh Postal Department under its ‘farmers-friendly postal services’ program transports the mangoes of marginal and small farmers and traders.