Uninterrupted supply chain must be ensured for growers of high-value exotic fruits16 December 2022
The production of some high-value exotic fruits in Bangladesh has increased significantly in the past several years as many farmers have jumped on the bandwagon of growing them commercially since they fetch higher profits. Expanding the cultivation of fruits may cut the import of exotic fruits, which may go on to save foreign currencies.
Currently, Bangladesh depends on external sources to meet 60 per cent of its fruit demand, costing it around Tk 2,500 crore annually. The high-value exotic fruits that are largely being grown in the country include dragon fruits, sweet oranges, oranges, strawberries, avocadoes, persimmons, rambutans, longans, and net melons, with their combined production standing at around 2.06 lakh tonnes in the last financial year.
The agency also says there is a huge growth in the cultivation of fruits across the country. The annual total production of sweet oranges, also known as malta, was 3,916 tonnes from 555 hectares of land in the fiscal year of 2014-15. Eight years later, it surged to 54,399 tonnes and the land under coverage was 6,848 hectares. The interest in agriculture is increasing among highly educated youth. They are keen to cultivate exotic agricultural products breaking conventional trends. Agriculturists said there is a bright prospect for high-value fruit production in Bangladesh. But the problems related to cultivation and marketing should be resolved immediately. Bangladesh imported 3.56 lakh tonnes of fruits in FY18 and it went down to around 3 lakh tonnes in FY19. In FY21, 6.16 lakh tonnes of fruit were purchased from the international markets. Of them, 77 percent were apples and sweet oranges.
During the coronavirus pandemic when people were grappling with reduced incomes and job losses, the agriculture sector witnessed a spurt in investments. Many new entrepreneurs enter the agriculture sector each year. The government should ensure an uninterrupted supply chain and market linkage of the new farmers and provide proper training to increase growth.