Naogaon: Mango reigns in the kingdom of paddy

Naogaon, a district in the Barendra region, stands next to an area known for its paddy and rice cultivation. However, Naogaon has emerged as a prominent hub for mango production, gaining nationwide recognition and an esteemed reputation in the local area.

Furthermore, foreign funds are in transit to the region, heralding a sudden shift in farmers’ fortunes. Amchachi and the authorities from the Agriculture Department are optimistic about the current season, projecting that it will surpass all previous records.

However, due to inadequate storage capacity, the district faces a significant challenge, resulting in the annual wastage of mangoes worth hundreds of millions of rupees.

To address this issue and unlock the region’s full potential, there is a pressing need to establish a food processing enterprise equipped with cold storage facilities in Naogaon. Such an initiative will contribute to substantial economic growth and create numerous job opportunities.

Establishing a mango processing company, storage facility, and research center, as suggested by the farmers, can enhance the profit margin by expanding the export of goods to international markets.

The mango orchard supply is continuously increasing. We plan to plant an additional 300 hectares of mango trees by 2024, bringing the total area to approximately 30,300 hectares. In 2022, the total area reached 29,475 hectares, and in 2021, it was 25,850 hectares.

The area in 2020 was 24,775 hectares, and in 2019, it was 18,527 hectares. In 2018, there were 16,000 hectares, and in 2017, there were 14,670 hectares. In 2021, the harbour sent the first shipment of Amrapali mangoes from this region.

Between 2023 and 2024, seven growers shipped 221 metric tonnes of mangoes and bananas to various countries, including Italy, Switzerland, London, and Qatar. This amount is significantly higher than the 78 metric tonnes shipped in 2022. Farmers believe that streamlining the mango export procedure can increase the quantity of mangoes transported from their district. The district’s annual mango trade generates around 2,500 crore taka in value and employs over fifteen thousand people. Additionally, the area’s population almost doubles during the mango harvesting season.

Every year there are storms and ripe mangoes are destroyed. We cannot use these. Its amount is about 30 percent. Its market value is about 500 crores. Because there is no system of mango storage, this loss is happening every year. If storage and processing can be done, annual production of thousands of crores of rupees is possible. But we small entrepreneurs will take an initiative to start small scale mango processing activities this year.

Fertilizers, pesticides, water and labor cost about 25-30 thousand taka for mango cultivation per bigha land. From which it is possible to earn about lakhs of rupees. However, those who cultivate mangoes on land lease have an additional cost of about 25 thousand taka. As mango cultivation is profitable, the orchards are increasing every year. Those who own land leased it as a yearly contract. A mango garden has been developed there. Varendra Bhami has now turned green. The number of mango orchards is increasing year by year. As a result, the land owners, farmers and workers are all benefiting.

The upazilas of Sapahar, Porsha, Niamatpur, and Patnitala, which are adjacent to the district, have been cultivating Aman paddy and wheat as their primary cash crops. Aman paddy, the only crop suitable for cultivation with rainwater, was originally the only viable option in these areas due to the limited water resources.

Over the past century, the fields in the Barendra region have undergone significant transformation into lush and green landscapes. As farmers are gradually moving away from cultivating paddy, there is a notable shift towards mango cultivation, indicating a positive trend.

With the successful initiation of mango cultivation, farmers have steered away from reverting to their previous practices. Each year, the region witnesses a growing number of mango plants due to the promising returns from mango agriculture.

The mangoes cultivated in this region are known for their excellent flavour and succulence, stemming from the Barendra region. The district has been actively involved in cultivating and harvesting a total of eight distinct varieties of mangoes, namely Amr Pali, Gopalbhog, Fazli, Khirsapat, Langra, Himsagar, Handibhanga, Ashwina, Bari-4, and Guti.

Amrapali’s exceptional flavor has positioned it as a dominant variety, accounting for sixty percent of the orchards in the area. Dhaka and other districts confidently import mangoes from this region, contributing to its positive reputation both within the country and globally.

Insufficient cold storage facilities lead to the annual discard of mangoes worth an estimated TK 500 crore. The urgent construction of a cold storage facility will be a catalyst for driving significant economic expansion in the area.

The region comprises a total of 30,300 hectares of mango orchards, with a production target of approximately 431,000 metric tonnes. Because of the highly profitable nature of mango plantations, their quantity consistently increases each year.

The increasing quantity of banana, amrapali, and bari plantations is fueled by their enhanced taste and affordability. Amer actively encourages farmers to diversify their export range by vigorously implementing effective farming methods. Furthermore, Amer resolutely dedicates himself to fostering a robust business-oriented atmosphere through food processing.

We have unequivocally informed key stakeholders in Naogaon, including the supportive Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, about the urgent need to establish mango research institutes, reserves, and processing firms to significantly enhance global market exports.

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