Government likely to relax fixed timeframe for mango harvest

Dhaka,  Sat,  23 September 2017
Published : 18 Apr 2017, 22:29:04

Government likely to relax fixed timeframe for mango harvest

Government likely to relax fixed timeframe for mango harvest
Yasir Wardad

The government is likely to relax the deadline it had fixed for harvesting mangoes amid protests by growers and traders in Chapainawabganj and Rajshahi.

They are allegedly incurring losses for such a  linear timeframe, officials said.

The district administrations of Chapainawabganj and Rajshahi set the deadline in 2015 for harvesting of mangoes by the growers aiming to prevent adulteration.

But the linear timeframe for mango-plucking has dealt a severe blow to the farmers amid an influx of juicy fruits in the market at the same time. This has resulted in a price debacle, said growers and traders.

Offices of the Deputy Commissioners (DCs) of Chapainawabganj and Rajshahi fixed the deadline of May 25 for plucking Gopal Bhog and Guti varieties while June 01 for Himsagar and Khirshapati, June 10 for Lengra, June 25 for Fajli, July 01 for Amrapali, July 15 for Ashwina and gradually for other mango varieties.

Chapainawabganj DC Md Mahmudul Hasan told the FE over cell phone that they are going to relax the time for greater interest of the farmers.

Mangoes, mixed with deadly chemicals such as carbide or formalin, are extremely hazardous for human health.

"To prevent adulteration, we forced growers to follow such a timeframe so that unscrupulous traders could get no opportunity to ripen or preserve fruits artificially", he said.

Growers and traders met the administration four times in the last two months when they said the provision has been hurting them, he added.

He also said, "We have been analysing the matter involving horticulture experts to bring more perfection in the timeframe which could protect interests of both growers and consumers."

"We have called a meeting with the sector insiders to be held between April 23 and 24 next where the deadline would be relaxed," he added.  

"Our mobile court teams will be deployed at every union of the district during mango harvesting season this year to prevent adulteration," he added.

Md Ali Kamal, a gardener at Baneswar in Rajshahi, said they faced huge losses as the same varieties of mangoes flooded the market at the same time last year.

The prices of mangoes declined by 50 per cent last year than those of the year before due to having such criteria of harvesting.

President of Chapainawabganj Mango Traders' Association Md Sirajul Islam said growers and traders incurred more than Tk 2.5 billion losses in Chapainawabganj following the timeframe.

"We want removal of the deadline and the affected farmers should be compensated," he said.  

Chief Scientific Officer (Horticulture) at Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) Md Sharaf Uddin told the FE that fixing the timeframe for plucking mangoes is irrational.

He said mangoes become matured at different times in various villages in Chapainawabganj and Rajshahi and the region is unique for mango diversity.  

"Ripening of mangoes varies from trees to trees. The administration should take this into account", he said.

For example, he said Ashwina variety gets matured in Chapainawabganj Sadar in mid-July while it ripens in August in many unions of Shibganj upazila of the same district.

According to the regional office of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) Rajshahi, mango output was 0.325 million tonnes on 32,816 hectares of land in Chapainawabganj and Rajshahi districts.

According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the country produced 1.018 million tonnes of mangoes last year of which 0.5 million tonnes were on commercial basis in Chapainawabganj, Rajshahi, Natore, Satkhira, Jhenidah, Rangpur and elsewhere in the country.
Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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