Following tentative export of the country’s quality mangos in the past years, except in the pandemic years, the government appears to have refocused on the fruit’s export. The initiative follows this year’s bumper yields of mango in its traditional production pockets. Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque has expressed his high optimism about earning foreign exchange by exporting mangos to potential markets. It is because the country has adopted advanced ways and followed better agricultural practices to grow safe mangoes.
In recent years, surplus mangoes after meeting the domestic needs have emerged as a common feature. That the government was working to construct mango storage houses will be a step in the right direction. The minister’s assurance that mango farmers will be provided with low-interest loans will further expedite the process. Mango export, as the minister refers to, can add to the diversification of the country’s export basket. The fledgling mango export can gain in strength provided it receives the patronage it needs. Right from the management of mango orchards to transport to storage facilities to shipment of this perishable fruit must have to be efficient and smooth.
Notwithstanding the popularity of mango being confined to the overseas South Asians in the main, local people in Germany, France, Italy, UK, Switzerland and Netherlands have developed a strong liking for it. Besides, the Bangladeshi mangos also go to the UAE, Bhutan, India, Kuwait, Nepal and Singapore. In place of only 2-3 countries just five years ago, the Bangladeshi mango is presently exported to a total of 15 countries. Mango exports from the country have reportedly more than doubled to 4,000 tonnes this year. The export of the fruit in large volumes, however, may have to face many challenges. The preliminary ones comprise the task of facing up to the rival countries in the South Asian region. The most formidable of these countries is India, the largest producer of quality mangos. Apart from Alfonso, reputably the most sought-after variety in the world, India grows scores of others – many in the districts bordering south-western Bangladesh. The country has a long tradition of growing sweet and aromatic mangos. Mango being one of its cash crops in South India, the country boasts a number of mango research facilities.
Mango enjoys a special status as an agro-product in China and Southeast Asian countries of Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia. What makes these countries stand out in their cultivation of mangos is the financial and infrastructural support they receive from their governments. It’s nearly four decades ago when Bangladesh mango farmers started receiving modern knowhow on producing quality mangos at an institute – the Mango Research Station set up in Chapainawabganj in 1985. However, in reality it’s the local offices of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) which have long been playing the critical role of guiding mango cultivators. One of the export criteria for export of fruits is sanitary and phytosanitary consideration. A point-of-origin phytosanitary certificate ensures that fruits and vegetables are safe. Mangos must comply with such regulations. Unless they pass the test, customs would not allow those to enter countries in the developed world.