Farmers and garden owners in Rajshahi have started harvesting mangoes on a small scale, adhering to the schedule set by the administration.
However, the harvest has yet to start in full swing as the mango fruit-bearing phase started late this year.
On the first day, farmers harvested tender mangoes that are primarily used for pickles and juice. They were sold for Tk700-800 per maund.
Mango farmer Abdur Razzak from Rajshahi's Katakhali, who has 1,200 mango trees, said, "I collected nine maunds of mangoes on the first day and sold them at Tk700 per maund. Harvesting will start in full swing from Joishtho 10 [May 24]."
Mahtab Uddin Badshah, from Arani, said he will harvest green mango within a couple of days.
Rajshahi's administration set May 15 as the start of tender mango harvest to ensure mangoes are free of insecticide and not immature.
Other varieties of mangoes – such as Gopalbhog – can be harvested from May 20. Ranipasondo, Lakhsmanbhog or Lakhna can be harvested from May 25, Himsagor or Khirsapat from May 28, Langra from June 6, Amropali from June 15, Fazli from June 15, plus Ashshina and Bari 4 mangoes from July 10.
Agriculture Extension Department deputy director Shamsul Haque said, "There are not many tender mangoes in Rajshahi. Mango farmers in Rajshahi mainly produce Gopalbhog, Khirshapat, Lakhna, Langra, and Amropali commercially. The harvest will begin in full swing from May 20."
Though there are fewer mangoes at the fruit-bearing phase, the yield will be better this year, because mangoes grow bigger when there is a smaller number of the fruit on a tree. This year, the mango production target is 2,10,000 tonnes from 17,686 hectares of land, whose market price is almost Tk800 crore at Tk35,000 per tonne, he added.
However, 55,000 farmers in Rajshahi district are anxious about transporting mangoes this year due to the situation caused by Covid-19.
Moreover, many crops have remained unsold this year. For example, Rois Uddin from Charghat said all of his gardens are unsold. He is taking care of them himself.
"Most of the trees are indeed unsold this year, however, this will benefit the farmers because they will get the proper price. In the past, the middlemen used to take the majority of the profits," said Shamsul Haque.