Bangladesh’s mango export volume, 791 tons, nearly tripled in 2020-21 financial year from 279 tons in the previous fiscal.
This growth reflects one thing for sure that the country’s regulators, mango producers and exporters must have taken some steps in the right direction, which resulted in a significant increase.
But if one put the $1.5 billion global mango trade into perspective, Bangladesh’s export growth is still very insignificant when the country holds enormous potential as the 7th biggest producer of the juicy edible stone fruit.
For many years, Bangladesh’s potential, however, remained largely untapped as the regulator wasn’t mindful of implementing good agricultural practices (GAP), a prerequisite for exporting mango to foreign markets.
Bangladesh’s South Asian and Southeast Asian neighbours such as India, Pakistan and Thailand have well captured many key export markets and mango has long been fetching hefty export earnings for these economies. Bangladesh’s export earning from mango in last financial year was only $50,000 whereas, the figure is as high as $101 million for Pakistan (world’s 5th biggest mango producer) and $137 million for India (ranked first in mango production in the world).
Now, Bangladesh doesn’t want to remain content with such low export volume of the fruit as some of its sweetest and delicious varieties have long been grown in this country with its annual national output reaching nearly 1.5 million tons this year.
The Ministry of Agriculture yesterday held a stakeholders meeting – with some of the representatives of the exporting firms of fresh mango and mango drinks joining it – to discuss how Bangladesh can further increase its mango exports in coming years.
Joining the virtual discussion, Agriculture Ministry Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque said his ministry stands ready to provide the exporters all supports and soon buying three machines, which exporters will be able to use for ‘vapour heat’ treatment (a prerequisite for mango export). Besides, he also promised to look into the challenges the mango exporters face at the airport cargo village.
The minister and the ministry secretary both said they would soon roll out GAP at all stages of farm production so that mangoes produced, processed and packaged maintaining all sanitary, phytosanitary and quarantine protocols.
Mamunur Rashid, a British-Bangladesh Chamber leader, who is exploring prospect of more mango export from Bangladesh to the United Kingdom, told the meeting that India and Pakistan have placed them strongly in UK market as key mango exporting nations but, “still, in my estimation – we can have potentially a demand for 1,000 tons of mango from Bangladesh in the United Kingdom.”
The ministry officials said each year Japan sources over 7,000 tons of mango – some of it from South Asian countries but not from Bangladesh. They said, the Japanese envoy in Dhaka has recently expressed his keen interest in good mango varieties of Bangladesh and had said those can be exported to his country provided quality isn’t compromised.
Ashoke Madhab Roy, a former government secretary who is now involved in mango trade, said they’ve organized mango fairs in Manchester and Londo recently and got very encouraging spot orders for the fruit.
What are the impediments?
Bangladesh Fruits, Vegetables & Allied Product Exporter’s Association President SM Jahangir Hossain was joined by some of his fellow exporter colleagues, explaining what are the key roadblocks in increasing the volume of mango export.
They said, Dhaka airport’s cargo village is in a mess where perishable products like mango and vegetables are not treated well. In air cargos, ready-made garments get priority while perishable product exporters have to count losses owing to incidents of consignment offloading.
They said in some countries i.e., India, it’s mandatory for air cargoes to keep at least a fourth of the space available for perishable export goods but in Bangladesh mango and other perishable items get little priority.
SM Jahangir Hossain said, with proper policy support and facilities at airport and cargo they will be able to export 5,000 tons of mango next year.
Though official figure show Bangladesh exported nearly 800 tons of mango in 2020-21, he said it’s so far 1,240 tons till date and is expected to hit the2,000-ton mark in the current mango season.
Traditional export destinations (Middle Easters countries, UK, Canada etc.), mangoes from Bangladesh are now also being exported to Scandinavian countries and also a first shipment of mango was exported to Switzerland last week.
MD. Towhidul Islam
Content Writing Department, Intern