However, the district agriculture department assures that it will stand by mango farmers this season and help them market their produce
Mango farmers in Chapainawabganj are becoming increasingly worried over the uncertainties this year’s production and distribution face due to the countrywide restrictions imposed to curb coronavirus transmissions.
Local farmers said there were relatively fewer mango trees in bloom this year compared to previous years in the district. And if the situation does not improve they will have to count financial losses this season.
Mangoes are a speciality and of course the main cash crop of Chapainawabganj, which is also known as the mango capital of Bangladesh. Hundreds of delicious varieties of mangoes, including Gopalbhog, Khirsapat, Langra and Fazli, are produced in the district.
Mangoes produced here are supplied to different parts of the country and after meeting local demand they are also exported to other countries.
Dr Nazrul Islam of the Regional Horticulture Research Centre said this season the yield had not been as good as in previous years. “At the beginning of the season, there were huge buds in mango orchards, most of which were destroyed by the inclement weather in mid-March.”
According to growers, they could not take proper care of their gardens due to the coronavirus situation and now they were worried about the marketing of the seasonal fruit amid a suspension of transport and restrictions on the free movement of people.
“Normally, seasonal fruit traders come to buy mango orchards. But this time, there is no orchard buyer due to the coronavirus restrictions. In such conditions, we fear we will incur huge losses,” as mango growers in Shibganj upazila, the largest producer of the fruit in the district, put it.
According to the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), this year mangoes were cultivated on 33,035 hectares in the district with a target of producing 250,000 tons.
Nazrul Islam, Deputy Director of the DAE, said mango growers were now spending their days in serious anxiety due to the coronavirus restrictions.
“There's no reason to worry; initiatives will be taken by the administration so that mango-laden trucks are able to move to different areas across the country,” he said.
Nazrul Islam said it would take 20-25 days for the mangoes to hit the market. By then Ramadan will be over. "After the Ramadan, there'll be no problem in marketing mangoes hopefully with an improvement in the coronavirus situation," he stated.