Covid-19 creates frustration among Rajshahi mango farmers, traders

279

RAJSHAHI, June 15, 2021 (BSS)- Mango farmers and traders are facing an awkward situation with their seasonal fruits in the region because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Wholesalers from outside of the district aren’t coming here due to the lockdown and fear of Covid-19 infection,” said Suman Hossain, a mango trader at Shaheb Bazar, adding that the adverse situation has started pushing them into loss position.

Price of all varieties of mangoes has dropped to Taka 150 to 200 per mound during the last couple of days.

“We’ve no way but to sell the mangoes because most of those have ripened in trees at present. If we don’t harvest, those will drop naturally,” he said.

Due to the sudden market fall, the orchard owners are facing an awkward situation. In this adverse situation, many of the owners are seen abstaining from harvesting mangoes, Hossain added.

At present, some branded varieties like Langra, Himsagar, Lakhna and Ranipachhand among many other indigenous ones are being sold in the markets. Selling price of most of those is less compared to the previous years due to the pandemic, said another trader Sabuj Islam.

Ismail Hossain, a resident of Kukhundi village under Paba upazila, said there are varieties of mangoes in the markets and price is less. Langra mango is being sold at Taka 1,200 to 1,600 per mound at present.

“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 2.60 lakh mango growers and orchard owners in the region comprising Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj, Natore and Naogaon districts.

Around 1.30 lakh people are engaged in various activities related to mango harvesting, segregating, packaging, transporting and marketing.

The DAE has set a target of harvesting around 10 lakh tonnes of mangoes from 80,360 hectares of land in the region this season while last year’s production was 8,31,940 tonnes 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 2,44,000 tonnes 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 tonnes of mangoes while Natore district is expected to produce 56,021 tonnes of mangoes from 4,823 hectares of land.