Fruit shops in the capital have filled their shelves with a variety of local seasonal fruits including mango, lychee, pineapple, watermelon, and java apple (jamrul). Street vendors are also selling these fruits.
Fruit sellers say the demand for local fruits is high now and the market for seasonal fruits will be more vibrant within 10 days when mango arrives from Rajshahi.
Customers are flocking to the wholesale fruit markets of Dhaka including Badamtoli, Wise Ghat, Sadar Ghat, Hatirpul Bazar, and to retail shops to buy local seasonal fruits.
However, wholesale buyers are drawn more to the warehouses of lychees and mangoes than other fruits.
Rabiul Hawladar bought 4,000 litchis for Tk8,000. He said, "I will sell these fruits sitting on the sidewalk in Sadarghat. There is a huge demand for mangoes and litchis in the market now."
Traders in the Badamtali and Wise Ghat wholesale fruit markets said mangoes are coming mostly from Satkhira now and litchi is coming from Kapasia and Magura. More mangoes, including the Himsagar, Gopalbhog and Langra varieties have been arriving for the last 10 days.
They are selling Himsagar for Tk60-80 per kg, Govindbhog at Tk60-70 per kg, and Langra for Tk70-90 per kg. The price of litchi varies from Tk1,700 to Tk4,000 per thousand, depending on the quality.
Moktar Hossain, owner of a warehouse in Badamtali, said that mangoes from Rajshahi will start arriving on 25 May and the local fruit market will pick up even more.
Sirajul Islam Asadullah, president of Dhaka Metropolitan Fruit Importer-Exporter and Warehouse Traders Multipurpose Cooperative Society, told The Business Standard, "The mangoes that are coming now are from the Satkhira region. These mangoes are not fully mature. Mature mango will come after 10 to 15 days. Now about 20 tons of mangoes and 20 to 25 trucks of litchis come to Badamtali every day."
He said most of the litchis are now coming from Gurudaspur in Natore. Some litchis are also coming from Pabna and Ishwardi, and litchis from Dinajpur will arrive in another 10 days or so.
Md Asadullah, director-general of the Agricultural Department, said, "We expect to have 25 lakh 50 thousand tons of mango this year. Litchi production was 4 lakh 50 thousand tons last year, but this year we expect to have 3 lakh 50 thousand tons of litchi."
He said that although mango production is good, there will be fewer litchis because of insufficient rain.
Md Asadullah said the Rajshahi district administration has set deadlines for mango harvesting this season so that buyers can get ripe mangoes.
The collection of Guti varieties of mangoes started on 15 May, Gopalbhog from 20 May. The harvesting of Lakshanbhog, Lakhna and Ranipachand will start from 25 May, Himsagar, Khirsapat from 26 May, Langra from 6 June, Amrapali and Fazli Mango from 15 June, and Ashwina and Bari-4 mango, starting 10 July.
KJM Abdul Awal, deputy director of the Rajshahi Agriculture Extension Department, told The Business Standard that district authorities have set a target of 215,000 tons of mango this year where farmers have grown mangoes on 17,943 hectares of land in the district.
Meanwhile, the government has launched a Mango Special Train like last year to make it easier to transport mangoes in the country.
Retail price is double the wholesale price
The price of mango is almost double in the retail market than in the wholesale market. Customers in the wholesale market are buying mangoes at Tk80 to 90 per kg and retails for Tk140-150 per kg.
In Hatirpul Bazar, Himsagar mango is selling for Tk140 to 150 per kg.
The price of other fruits is also high in the retail market with litchi selling for Tk450 to 550 per hundred, java apple for Tk100 per kg, guava at Tk120 per kg, and watermelon for Tk50 per kg.
Aslam Hawladar, buying mangoes and lychees from Hatirpul Bazar said seasonal fruits are more nutritious. Mango and litchi do not last long, so we buy and eat these fruits from the outset.
In the Badamtoli wholesale market, 100 pineapples from Madhupur are going for Tk1,500 to 2,500. A 100 medium sized watermelons is Tk6,000, and larger watermelons are going for TK15,000 per 100.
Delwar, the owner of the New City Farm warehouse, said watermelon season will end in 15 days and litchis from Dinajpur and Rajshahi will come to market in 15 days or so.