Dhaka, Bangladesh
Summer fruits show up in mkts

Summer fruits show up in mkts

Govt gives subsidised marketing facilities, free storage

Mazharul Islam Mitchel: A well-knit marketing chain is being built for summer fruits with subsidised freight and free storage in Dhaka, as food and nutrition are seen vital amid the corona crisis.
Production and export of merchandise and services have virtually stalled for worldwide lockdown, signalling economic recession, and production and marketing of items from agriculture and its subsectors like horticulture, pisciculture and poultry-dairy in a safe ambiance bear high importance for averting any domestic supply-side crunch and supplying necessary food and immunity-boosting proteins.
Meanwhile, with the advent of Bangla month of Jyestha, commonly known as 'Modhumash', juicy fruits like litchi, mango and jackfruits have started appearing in the capital's markets and across the country on a limited scale amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
But, due to less quantities, the present prices are beyond the purchasing capacity of the commoners, who are hard on the pocket being virtually laid off for over two months of loose lockdown that just begins to ease despite high contagion risks.
The fruit shops in the city are now brimming with the delicious summer fruits to some extent.
The prices of litchi and mango are, however, within the grasp of customers for bumper production, with high demand in the city markets, a market survey shows. Agriculture Minister Dr. Abdur Razzak told The

News Today on Wednesday that the ministry has taken various steps for summer-fruit marketing so that the farmers get the real price and profit.
"Even the farmers will get residential facilities as well as free freight transportation from their farmland to Dhaka city," Razzak said.
The minister mentioned that the agriculture ministry has sent letter to rail ministry, roads and highways, Bangladesh Post Office, ICT division and other officials to help in the marketing of summer fruits.
As a result, Bangladesh Post Office (BPO) has started transporting mango, litchi and other seasonal fruits of marginal farmers of Rajshahi region to Dhaka free of cost through its fleet.
Department of Agricultural Marketing Director-General Mohammad Yousuf said to The News Today that they are getting online facilities from 'Food for Nation' programme of Idea project under the ICT division for marketing management.
He said the department has available lorries and trucks so they will give the free transportation amid coronavirus.
The fruits, come hugely from Rajshahi-Chapainawabganj hub, will be stocked at Gabtali central agro market and initially will be distributed among 12 government-managed selling spots, he added.
"If the demand increases in the city, then the department will increase the spots and transportation facility.
"Government has arranged the transportation so why won't improve our supply chain?" he questioned.
The DG informed that summer fruits' entry into Dhaka city began on June 1 and at least 35 thousand tonnes of mango were stored under government management.
This amount will be increasing gradually from next week, he said, as live reports are showing huge arrivals of mangoes in Rajshahi-Nawabganj markets and growers-sellers saying prices are low as traders are not coming, as they used to, in countable numbers from other parts of the country for low mobility amid corona scare.
Bangladesh Mango Producers and Merchants Association (BMPMA) president Abdul Wahed told The News Today that this time, however, there is no smile on the faces of mango growers and traders because of corona situation.
The number of consumers at this time is so poor and they may not get their expected price and profit, Bangladesh Fresh Fruits Importers Association (BFFIA) president Salimul Haque Essa said, adding that they are now worried about making profit.
Agriculture Minister Dr Razzak told this correspondent as answer to all growers' association members' question that they are very positive towards fruit growers so they can get various favours as well as the consumer can buy the fruits at actual price.
The ministry has taken various steps including huge facilities for the famers, he added.
Rajshahi Deputy Commissioner Hamidul Haque said mangoes have been cultivated in 26,150 hectares of areas in Rajshahi and Chapainawabganj districts where it's expected to yield 244,000 tonnes of mangoes this year.
Mango groves were also nurtured on 12,671 hectares of land in Naogaon district where target was fixed to produce 161,242 tonnes of mangoes while in Natore district it is expected to produce 56,021 tonnes on 4,823 hectares of land.
He assured that they are transporting mango from Rajshahi to Dhaka free of cost by Bangladesh Post Office (BPO) under its 'farmers-friendly postal services'.
Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar said Postal Department will bring mango and other fruits produced by the farmers of Rajshahi and other areas "to the doorsteps of the customers free of charge by using our vast transport network".
The 'Farmers-friendly postal services' programme of BPO will deliver this service, he added.
During a visit to several fruit retailers in the city on Wednesday, this correspondent found different varieties of mangoes like Himsagar selling at Tk 50 to Tk 80 per kg and Amrupali and Langra selling at Tk 60 to Tk 70 a kg.
People are seen purchasing mango and litchi in different makeshift markets maintaining social distance and health guidelines.
Meanwhile, varieties of litchi, including Bombai, Bedana and China-3, were seen selling at various prices. Litchi sellers said every bunch of 100 Bombai litchis is being sold from Tk 400 to Tk 450, Bedana from Tk 300 to Tk 350, and China-3 is being sold from Tk 250 to Tk 350, "based on quality and size."
The sellers said the price is high as the supply is scanty but will be reduced to some extent when the supply will be enhanced within the next couple of days.
Customers expressed their dissatisfaction over the litchi prices.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Railway will launch tomorrow (Friday) two special cargo trains known as 'Mango special' for carrying mango between Chapainawabganj and Dhaka via Rajshahi.
The west division of the Bangladesh Railway has taken the initiative to transport mangoes at a lower cost. It will cost Tk1.17 per kilogram to send mangoes to Dhaka by train.
The train will start its journey at 4:00pm every day from Chapainawabganj via Rajshahi to Dhaka.
According to a notice issued by BR's Chief Operating Superintendent (west) office, Rajshahi, special trains named Mango Special-1 and Mango Special -2 will be operating every day from Chapainawabganj and Rajshahi.
The Mango Special-2 train will be running through Amnura Bypass, Kakonhat, Rajshahi, Sardah Road, Arani, Abdulpur, Tangail, Mirzapur, Hitech City, Joydevpur, Tongi, Dhaka Bimanbandar, Dhaka Cantonement and Tejgaon.
The Mango Special-1 will have stoppages at Tejgaon, Tongi, Tangail, S M M Ali, Chatmohor and Rajshahi.
However, the parcel trains may have stoppages at other stations based on parcel booking and unloading.
"Parcel fair has been reduced 25 percent since May 18 so that farmers can transport mangoes," said Mohammad Ahsan Ullah, chief regional commercial manager of railway.
Not only mangoes, the traders can transport vegetables and other fruits as well, he said.
"Every day, a cargo train will carry 270 tonnes of goods in six wagons. So, farmers and traders can transport goods at their will. It will cost Tk1.30 to carry a kilogram of goods to Dhaka from Chapainawabganj. And it is Tk1.17 from Rajshahi to Dhaka," he added.
Although the parcel trains did not get response from traders and business community initially, the BR has made the service acceptable by changing routes.

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