Mango prices have plummeted by Tk150-200 per maund in the last few days
Mango farmers and traders are facing a major inconvenience in marketing their seasonal fruits owing to the movement restrictions in place to curb the transmission of Covid cases in the region.
“Wholesalers from outside the district aren't coming here because of the lockdown and the fear of Covid-19 infection,” said Suman Hossain, a mango trader at Shaheb Bazar, adding that the unfavourable circumstance has forced them to lose money.
Mango prices have plummeted by Tk150-200 per maund in the last few days.
“We have no choice but to sell the mangoes because the majority of them have already ripened in the trees. Those will drop naturally if we don't harvest,” he said.
The orchard owners are in a difficult situation as a result of the abrupt market drop and many owners are seen refraining from harvesting mangoes, according to Suman.
Currently, many local varieties including Langra, Himsagar, Lakhna and Ranipachhand are being sold in the markets.
Due to the restrictions, the price of most of them is lower than in previous years, according to another trader, Sabuj Islam.
Ismail Hossain, a resident of Kukhundi village under Paba upazila, said: “There are many varieties of mangoes available in the markets but the price is low. Langra mango is being sold at Tk1,200-1,600 per maund.”
“We’ve plenty of mangoes in the markets but the presence of traders is very limited,” said Osman Ali, lease-holder of Baneswar Hat, one of the famous mango markets in the region, adding that the odd situation has started frustrating all farmers, traders and others concerned.
He said farmers and traders have started harvesting mangoes after getting instruction from the district administration this year. That’s why mangoes are appearing in the markets as Gopalbhog, Himsagar and Langra, Lakhna and some other indigenous varieties have ripened naturally.
Sirajul Islam, additional director of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), said there are more than 260,000 mango growers and orchard owners in the region comprising Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj, Natore and Naogaon districts.
Around 130,000 people are engaged in various activities related to mango harvesting, segregating, packaging, transporting and marketing.
The DAE has set a target of harvesting around 1 million tons of mangoes from 80,360 hectares of land in the region this season while last year’s production was 8,31,940 tons from 72,909 hectares of land, Sirajul Islam added.
Officials said mangoes have been cultivated on 26,150 hectares of areas in Rajshahi and Chapainawabganj districts where it is expected to yield 2.44 million tons of mangoes this year.
Mango groves were also nurtured on 12,671 hectares of land in Naogaon district where the target was fixed to produce 1,61,242 tons of mangoes while Natore district is expected to produce 56,021 tons of mangoes from 4,823 hectares of land.