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Fruits consumption increases despite higher price

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Staff Reporter :
The fruits consumption increased in the country in last eight years despite higher price.
With the rise of local demand, import of fruits increased by 70 per cent as people in general are keeping fruits as food menu daily, said Serajul Islam, General Secretary of Bangladesh Fresh Fruits Importers Association.
He said, traders fail to sell fruits at affordable price due to higher import duty on it.
The grapes importers pay the highest 70.7 per cent import duty per kilogram for red grapes and 59.5 per cent for the green ones, while for one kilogram apple, it is 37.20 per cent and for one kilogram malta it is 29.80 per cent, he added.
The association has been urging the government to cut down the import duty considering public health and demand, but there is no initiative, alleged the general secretary.
Fruit traders suggested slapping higher taxes on import of fruits, which grow in the country, to encourage the local production, and to reduce the tax on import of fruits, which are not grown in the country.
According to official records, during the financial year 2016-17, the country witnessed the highest quantities of fruit import of 6.12 lakh tons, which included, among others, apple, orange, grapes, dates, malta, almond, tamarind and pear.
The import of fresh and dried fruits increased to 6.10 lakh tons from 3.6 lakh tons in 2009-10 over the past eight years.
The first four months of the current fiscal (2017-18) saw 1.55 lakh tons of fruits entering into the country from different countries with apple on top of the import volume.
Professor Dr Md Iqbal Rouf Mamun, member of Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) told journalists that the demand for the local and the imported fruits has   
been increasing day by day.
As the imported fruits mostly come from European and other developed countries, there is an assurance that the importer would maintain the proper safety tests, he added.
According to official record, local fruits meet 35percent of demand while the rest of the 65 percent demand is fulfilled by the fruits imported from Middle East, Europe, Asia, America, Africa and Australia.
Agriculturalist Ruhul Amin said, people in Bangladesh are still having less than required daily intake of fruits, as supply is not sufficient to meet the full demand. He is, however, hopeful that growers will give utmost efforts in growing more fruits in the country.

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