Satkhira district is set to export about 500 tonnes of mangoes to four European countries – England, France, Germany and Italy.
Four varieties – Himsagar, Langra, Amrapali, and Gobindobhog – will be exported this year.
Usually, Himsagar is the variety of top choice for export, but Gobindobhog has topped the list of varieties to be exported this year and it will be exported to Germany.
On 8 May, Satkhira Agriculture Department started processing Gobindobhog mangoes from the garden of Daud Mollah of Putuni area of Kalaroa upazila, Satkhira.
Uttaron, a non-government organisation, is involved in exporting mangoes with funding from the Solidaridad Network, a Netherland-based aid agency under its Sustainable Agriculture, Food Security, and Linkages (Safal) project.
Mostafizur Rahman, programme officer of Safal at Solidaridad, said nearly 350 farmers in Satkhira had been trained to export mangoes. Another 150 farmers of Sharsha upazila of Jashore are also working under the project.
"We exported 239 kilograms of mangoes to Germany on 8 May. We are hoping to export about 200 tonnes of Langa, Amrapali, Gobindobhog, and Himsagar mangoes this year," Mostafizur said.
Rafiqul Islam, agriculture officer of Kalaora upazila, said that due to soil and weather conditions, mangoes in Satkhira mature at least 15-20 days earlier than those in other districts of the country, which is why, when it comes to exporting mangoes, Satkhira's Langra, Himsagar, and Amrapali are ahead in the race, leaving mangoes grown in Rajshahi and Chapainawabganj behind.
Claiming that exported mangoes are completely toxic-free, Mostafizur said the Agriculture Department had closely monitored the mango orchards selected for export of the summer fruit to make sure farmers did not apply pesticides in the gardens.
Nurul Islam, deputy director of Khamarbari, Satkhira's Agriculture Extension Department, said Satkhira's mangoes would be exported this year through 14 companies, including Bashar Agro, Islam Group, Globe Food and Beverage, and RR Enterprise.
According to the Agriculture Extension Department, more than 13,000 farmers have grown mangoes in 5,299 orchards in the district this year. The production target was 40,000 tonnes. Around 10-11 tonnes of mangoes have grown per hectare of land.
"If the situation remains favourable, we will export 500 tonnes of the produce. The rest will go to the domestic market," Nurul said.
About the size of mangoes, Gofur Sheikh, a mango trader of Majhiara village of Satkhira, said that due to the lack of rain, mangoes had not grown too big.
But the good thing is mangoes have been less damaged because there has not been any natural calamity this year, he added.
Gofur expressed the hope that traders would be able to take home handsome profits.
Mango farmer Daud Mollah said buyers were purchasing exportable mangoes at Tk2,700 from farmers and selling those at Tk3,000.
"I think farmers will get a fair price this time," he said.
Satkhira's Department of Agriculture started an initiative to export mangoes in 2015, and a year later, mangoes from Satkhira were exported for the first time to Italy. Since then, every year mangoes from the district have been routinely exported to several countries around the world. Last year, mango export was disrupted due to cyclone Amphan.
The district administration fixed dates for harvests. Gobindobhog, Gopalbhog and Agamjat were scheduled to be harvested from 1 May, Himsagar from 21 May, Langra from 27 May, and Amrapali from 4 June.
"We have set particular dates for harvesting mangoes, and if anyone attempts to sell mangoes earlier using calcium carbide (a ripening agent harmful for health), we will take actions against him," said S M Mostafa Kamal, deputy commissioner of Satkhira.
Several mobile courts have been monitoring markets in Kaliganj and Kalaroa and will continue doing so throughout the season, he added.