Mangoes started arriving in markets of Rajshahi yesterday. Prices are high due to low production this season, farmers and agriculturists said.
With official commencing of harvest yesterday, a small number of farmers brought Guti variety of mangoes to local markets. They said these mangoes are an early variety and it will take more than a week to witness a full-blown supply of mangoes in the markets.
Mangoes were being sold at Tk 1200-1800 per maund, nearly double of last year’s prices.
Farmers claimed a fall in production this season by more than 50 percent compared to that of last year. Agriculturists, however, said, the decline would not be over 10 percent.
“Unexpected rainfall damaged most mango buds in February,” Md Shamsul Haque, deputy director of Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), said.
Other than the untimely rainfall, mango trees did not witness calamities this season.
“Mangoes dropping during storms and hailstorms are considered normal. Every tree has its own capacity of bearing fruits,” he said.
He said the DAE would count a 12-tonne production per hectare of land this season; it was 12.5 tonnes last year. The district has mango trees on 17,500 hectares of land, he added.
The district administration at a meeting on May 12 had set seven stages of harvest, beginning from May 15.
Since 2015, the district administration has been setting mango harvest dates in order to prevent harvesting of unripe mangoes and marketing of chemically ripened ones.
Harvest of Guti variety was scheduled to begin on May 15 while Gopalbhog mangoes on May 20; Ranipasand, Laukhna or Laxmanbhog on May 25; Khirsapat or Himsagar on May 28; Langra on June 6; Amrapali, Fazli and Surma Fazli on June 16; and Ashwina on July 1.
Visiting Baneswar -- the largest mango market in Rajshahi -- yesterday morning, this correspondent saw some ten farmers bringing mangoes on a few rickshaw-vans. Mango traders said hundreds of farmers bring hundreds of tons of mangoes to the market when the season begins in full swing.
“Harvest is yet to begin fully. The mangoes still need a week to ripen,” farmer Abdur Razzak said. He said his mango orchards are bearing some 60 percent less fruits than last year’s.
Razzak said the farmers have not been getting fair price of mangoes for the last three years. “If we don’t get fair price this year, we cannot sustain ourselves,” he said.
Shahidul Islam, another mango trader, said he procures 50 to 100 maunds daily from the market and supplies those to other districts.
“Farmers are demanding high prices as production is low this year,” he said.
Visiting Shaheb Bazar and Shalbagan markets, this correspondent saw a few fruit traders selling mangoes. Their shops were still stocked with watermelons, pineapples and other summer fruits and only a few baskets of mangoes.
Akbar Ali, owner of Phal Bhandar at Shaheb Bazar, said, they would stock the shops with mangoes in two weeks.