Export of mangoes to the UK from Rajshahi started today with the first consignment of three tonnes of the sweet summer fruit sent to Dhaka for packaging.

A group of mango producers in the district’s Bagha upazila sent the mangoes to Dhaka in the afternoon for due procedures, said Shafiullah Sultan, an agriculture officer of the upazila.

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The group contacted exporters who are likely to buy some 300 tonnes of mangoes, he said.

“There is a plan to export around 300 tonnes of mangoes from Bagha this year. No mango was exported from here last year. But 35 tonnes of mangoes were exported from Bagha two years back,” said Shafiullah Sultan.

He said half of the total mango production in Rajshahi district is produced in Bagha upazila. About one lakh metric tonnes of mango are produced here every year.

The officer also said export company “Karita KIFC” bought three tonnes of mango from the group for export to UK.

“We produce mango through contract farming with 20 farmers in Bagha upazila. This mango is produced for export to the European market,” said Shafiqul Islam, a mango farmer in Bagha.

The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) supervises the overall production of the mango, he said.

There is no packaging house in Bagha for mango exports and so the mango will go to a packaging house in Dhaka, he said. As a result, some mangoes get damaged before reaching Dhaka.

Karita KIFC Managing Director Surjit Barua told The Daily Star that there is a demand for mango in the international market, but Bangladesh’s mango has very little access to the UK or USA markets.

“Hot water treatment is an important issue for mango export to protect [the fruits] from insects. But Bangladesh’s mangoes are not given this treatment after harvesting. Bangladesh lags behind in mango export due to the presence of insects in mangoes,” he said.

“If we can take more care in mango preservation and marketing, Bangladesh will be able to go ahead more in mango export,” he added.

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