It was an unforgettable day for Suddhi Blazy Gomes. Until yesterday, the second grader never saw such extravaganza of fruits grown locally.
Suddhi, born and raised in the capital, came to the National Fruit Festival at Dhaka’s Farmgate area with her grandfather and happily browsed out the varieties of seasonal fruits.
She got slightly confused seeing “Chapalish” – a variety of forest jackfruit – and assumed it a banana burning in fire. However, her grandfather Bijoy Gomes explained it and introduced her to other seasonal fruits of the country.
Like the little one, many Dhakaites got familiar with the mouthwatering and juicy fruits for the first time at the three-day-long fruit fiesta.
Beginning on Sunday, the fair ends on Tuesday. It hosts 84 stalls, displaying more than 50 types of fruits with 143 varieties.
For example, one can easily mention five to ten types of mangos. But it is quite tough to name 20 types of the fruit – even for a fruit fanatic.
The fair, organised by the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), showcases 75 mango varieties mesmerising the visitors.
There were also Deuwa (Monkey Jack), Daophal (Egg Fruit), Toikar, Gab (River Ebony), Arboroi (Star Gooseberry), Longan, Kawfal (Cowa), Bethfol (Rattan Palm), Luk luki (Flacourtia), Gajari Fruit, Boichi (Madagascar Plum) and Shantol.
Elaborating the purpose of the fair, DAE official Dr Bhoboshindhu Roy said their aim was to familiarise the local varieties so that people could collect fruit bearing saplings from the horticulture centres.
Apart from this, the DAE put agro-products like jackfruit kebab, jackfruit shashlik, coconut pudding, mango pudding and jackfruit cutlet on display.
The display also allowed the visitors to buy fresh fruits and processed fruit items directly from the farmers at the stalls.
“We are planning to widen the market of processed fruit items through training the farmers and the youths,” another DAE official Mahmuda Akhter said.
Fruit growers in Bangladesh find preservation, processing and marketing of their yield difficult. They often do not get even 50 percent of the prices paid by the consumers, according to Banglapedia.
If the processed fruit items get popularity, the marginal growers would be benefitted, hoped Mahmuda.