The mangoes of Satkhira are famous across the country. The district also exports the variety Himsagar to different countries of Europe, and the USA. However, cyclone Amphan destroyed much of the mangoes in Satkhira this season.
Mango traders have lost their investments, while some of them are living the life of fugitives because of the burden of debt.
Although local mangoes are unavailable in Satkhira at present, the traders are bringing the fruits from Rajshahi, Rangpur and Thakurgaon district to meet the local demand.
Jayanta Kumar, owner of Mitra Traders - a wholesale seasonal fruit trader in Satkhira Boro Bazar, said that there was no mango trade this year.
"Almost 100 per cent of mango traders have lost everything. Cyclone Amphan damaged the mango orchards and mangoes even before plucking began," he said.
The trees were broken in some places, while in some other places all the mangoes have fallen from the trees, he added.
"This year I lost Tk40 lakh in mango business. The situation is almost the same for all the traders in the district," said Jayanta Kumar.
He said that he was importing and selling mangoes from Rajshahi, Rangpur and Thakurgaon to meet the local demand with a minimum profit.
"Mango varieties including Amropali, Lota, Fazli and Hybrid are available in the market. Amropali is sold at Tk60-65 per kilogram, Lota at Tk55-60 per kilogram, Fazli is sold at Tk50-55 a kilogram, while the Hybrid variety is sold at Tk45-50 a kilogram," added Jayanta.
Idris Ali Moral, a mango trader from Khorerdanga village in Tala Sadar upazila said that he was dependent on mango trading. He makes a profit up to Tk5 lakh each year. But this year, he incurred a loss of around Tk4 lakh.
"All my mangoes have been damaged in the storm. I could not sell the fallen mangoes in the market due to the holidays over the Covid-19 outbreak. Even the villagers did not buy the mangoes. I have suffered a serious overall loss this year," he said.
According to the Agriculture Extension Department's Khamarbari office in Satkhira, there are 13,100 mango farmers in the district.
In the current season, mangos were cultivated on 4,110 hectares of land in 5,299 orchards.
Of this, Himsagar has been cultivated in 1,550 hectares of land, Lengra in 564 hectares and Amropali in 899 hectares.
Besides, Gobindabhog, Gopalbhog, Lota and other local mango varieties were farmed in the rest of the land.
On May 20, cyclone Amphan damaged 16,296 tonnes of mangoes in the district. All the mangoes fell from the trees.
Ayub Ali, a mango trader in Satkhira's Boro Bazar area, trades in various seasonal fruits. But he has no business this season.
"There is no mango business this year. I am buying mangoes from wholesale shops and selling them at a profit of Tk4-5 per kilogram. If the mangoes of Satkhira were in the market, I could have made a profit of around Tk1.5-2 lakh this season," he said.
He, however, said that there was no possibility of profit. He was selling to keep the business afloat, he added.
Zakir Hossain and Touhid Hossain, sons of Jamat Ali of Kumira village under Patkelghata police station, are prominent mango traders in the area, and have bought 12 mango orchards for Tk20 lakh.
Touhid Hossain said that he made a loss of Tk15 lakh this year. He took a loan of Tk18 lakh from Moti Khan, the owner of Khan Enterprise in the Badamtali area in the capital on condition that he would sell all the mangoes of his orchard to him (Moti Khan).
"Almost all of the mangoes were destroyed by cyclone Amphan. I gave him mangoes worth Tk3 lakh. But now he wants the rest of the money back. But I am unable to pay him right now. So, I have to run away with the burden of debt,"he added.
Nurul Islam, deputy director of the Satkhira Department of Agricultural Extension (Khamarbari), said that the cyclone has damaged almost all the mangoes in Satkhira.
"The mangoes available in the market at present are from different areas including Rangpur, Meherpur, Rajshahi and Thakurgaon. Satkhira mangoes are not in the market this year. Traders import mangoes from other districts to meet the local demand," he said.
Regarding mango export to other countries, he said that the outbreak of Covid-19 began at the onset of mango season. "So, mango traders did not visit the garden. Besides, all the mangoes have been destroyed by the storm. The mangoes of Satkhira have not been exported this year because of the coronavirus outbreak and damage by the storm," he added.