The Ministry of Agriculture organized the expo, which began on Saturday
A wide array of fruits are currently on display at the three-day fruit exhibition at AKM Giasuddin Milky Auditorium at Khamarbari in Dhaka.
The Ministry of Agriculture organized the expo, which began on Saturday. The exhibition, which will continue till Monday, consists of 84 stalls from 64 organizations including seven government organizations.
To meet the demand through domestic production, experts suggested to cultivate different types of high yielding foreign variety fruits such as dragon fruit. To prevent damages after production, experts suggested to build multi chamber storage facilities as well.
After inaugurating the exhibition, Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzak said at a seminar: “To meet the nutrition demand this exhibition is important. In Awami League’s election manifesto, commitment number 4 was to ensure safe food, and nutrition for all. To fulfill the commitment, fruits will play a significant role.”
Abdul Mannan, MP, member of the standing committee on ministry of agriculture said: “Due to shortage of storage facility, availability of fruits decreasing off-season, and post-yield damage has become high. To get rid of this situation we need to construct multi chamber warehouses.”
Fruit production and demand
According to Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (Bari), 5.07 million tons of fruits of 70 types are produced at 0.16 million hectares of land, which is less than 1% of the total cultivable land in the country.
Nevertheless, the country has a demand of 11.68 million tons of fruits, putting the deficit at 6.6 million tons.
To ensure proper nutrition, a person needs 200 gm fruits per day, but currently the average fruit intake is only 82 grams. In 2030, the country's population will reach 211 million, when fruit demand will rise to 154 lakh tons. In fiscal year 2017-18, in addition to local production, a total of 356778.36 tons of fruits get imported.
In four months, from May to August, the country produces 54% of the total fruit production, while the remaining 46% is cultivated throughout the remainder of the year.
Mango, banana, and jackfruit are the three prime fruits that accounts for 63% of the country's total fruit production. After harvest, 25-41% fruits get damaged due to lack of proper storage and maintenance. Among nationally produced fruits, 2.18 million tons come from gardening, and 2.89 million tons are grown at homesteads.
While visitors are coming to see and buy fruits, participants are also selling at attractive prices, to promote their sales.
Md Khokon, proprietor of Samia Fruits said: “We are selling at 20% less than our usual price in this exhibition, and it will continue.”
Department of Agricultural Marketing is exhibiting different types of food products made from fruits, food preservation technology, and various types of fruits as well in their stalls. But they are not selling. A representative from the department said, “Our main goal is to promote preservation technology, and to show the work we are doing.”