Bangladesh has shown a surprising performance in mango export by earning $0.66 million in the first three months of FY 2021-22, which is a massive rise from $40,000 in the 12 months of FY 2020-21.
During July-September of the last fiscal, Bangladesh exported mangoes worth only $10,000 to Singapore. However, in the same period this year, mango was exported to more than 14 countries in Asia and Europe.
Although Bangladesh globally ranks seventh in mango production, it was at the bottom in terms of export earnings from this delicious fruit. Many countries are earning huge amounts of foreign exchange from mango export by producing fewer mangoes than Bangladesh.
Bangladesh produces around 1.5 million tonnes of mangoes with a market value of Tk10,000 crore every year. But the amount of export is very little compared to production.
In 2020, Thailand exported mangoes worth $73.40 crore, which was the highest in the world. In the same year, India and Pakistan exported mangoes worth $13.70 crore and $10.10 crore respectively.
According to people concerned, one of the major problems in mango export from Bangladesh is the lack of exportable varieties. Most of the local varieties have a very short shelf life as they rot very fast. Lack of good agricultural practice and packaging of an international standard are also behind the low mango export.
There has been no branding as well of Bangladeshi mangoes in the international market, they say.
Exporters say that in the last season, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sent mangoes to her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan as gifts. This news in the international media has played a major role in creating new branding for Bangladeshi mangoes.
They note that export orders for Bangladeshi mangoes from different countries have been increasing since then.
Manjurul Islam, advisor of Bangladesh Fruits and Vegetable Exporters Association, told The Business Standard, "Only two tonnes of mangoes were exported from Bangladesh last year. This year we have exported 1,800 tonnes, which is a sign of great progress."
"Despite being delicious, Bangladeshi mangoes were not known in the international market. As a result, there were very little export orders. The Prime Minister's step toward making a gift of mangoes to her counterparts in India and Pakistan was a game changer here. It helps a branding of Bangladeshi mangoes. As a result, mango export has increased a lot this year," he added.
Manjurul Islam said the government has set a target of exporting one lakh tonnes of mangoes in the next three years.
Nazmul Haider Bhuiyan has exported mangoes to Italy, Switzerland and London. He has exported Himsagar and Amrapali varieties this year. The highest price he obtained is Tk400 per kg.
"There is a huge demand for Bangladeshi mangoes in European countries. But we could not export much due to problems related to airlines. Pakistan exports more than one lakh tonnes of mangoes. If the problem of airlines is solved, we will be able to export more mangoes than we do now," he said.
In 2020-21 FY, most of the mangoes were exported to Italy ($16,892) and the United Kingdom ($12,105). Besides, in that fiscal year, Bangladesh exported mangoes worth $5,615 to the Netherlands and worth $5,398 to Austria.
However, in the first three months of 2021-22 FY, mangoes worth $5,06,487 were exported to the United Kingdom and worth $71,874 to Kuwait.
Besides, Bangladesh has also exported mangoes to the UAE, Canada, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, India, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Nepal, Sweden and Singapore.
Meanwhile, along with an increase in mango export, the country has started to export lemons to Europe after seven years. These have contributed to the rise in fruit exports from the country.
In July-October 2021-22 FY, export earnings from fruits exceeded $3 million. During the same period in the previous fiscal, it was only $0.58 million.
"Every year we export 150-200 tonnes of jackfruits, but this year the amount is 3,700 tonnes," said Manjurul Islam.
Speaking about the huge potential for export of Jara lemons to Europe, he said that the demand for this lemon is increasing day by day and the prices are also good.
Abul Hossain, a lemon exporter, said, "I am exporting lemons to Finland, Germany and England. Its market is quite promising. Due to good export potential, its production is also increasing in the country."