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POST TIME: 24 June, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 23 June, 2019 08:52:47 PM
Jhenidah’s chemical-free mangoes a big hit with vendors, consumers
OUR CORRESPONDENT, Jhenidah

Jhenidah’s chemical-free mangoes a big hit with vendors, consumers

This recent photo shows mangoes displayed for sale at Kotchandpur mango market in Jhenidah. Independent photo

Jhenidah district has gained popularity as the hub of fruit production and marketing in the country, especially of the juicy local mangoes.

Kotchandpur has played a significant role in this regard after the biggest mango market was set up on Diversion Road at the entry point of the town. The mango market here is famous for its varieties including Goplabhog, Lengra, Mohanbhog, Himsagar, Bomabi and Amrapalli, which come free of hazardous and poisonous chemicals and preservatives.

Despite the growing mango trade, orchard owners and farmers complain that the lack of cold storage facilities in the area was a big let-down. They said farmers had to bear huge losses due to rotting mangoes, even as the market registered daily sales of around Tk 2.5 crore during peak season.

According to traders, fruit producers from Kotchandpur, Jhenidah Sadar, Moheshpur, Chuadanga, Jibannagar, Hasadh, Damurhuda and Meherpur areas reach the market early in the morning with their supplies.

This is followed by a rush of vendors from Shailkupa, Harinakundu, Kaliganj, from Jhenidah, Kushtia, Faridpur, Jashore and some other districts to purchase fruits. Representatives of some juice producing companies also come to the market as well as visit the local orchards and market there.

The traders said better road communication and railway services at Kotchandpur would help attract more customers to buy mangoes that are free of formalin and other harmful chemicals.  Abdul Latif, president of KotchandpurAam Babsayee Samity, said each maund of Lengra was being sold at Tk 1,300 to Tk 1,500, Himsagar at Tk 1,050 to Tk 1,300, Bomabi at Tk 1,500 to Tk 11,600, and Amrapali at Tk 1,200 to Tk 1,300 these days.

Latif informed that every vendor preferred buying mature and chemical-free mangoes from the market as the local administration had warned orchard owners and farmers against applying harmful chemicals and pesticides on their fruits.

Latif admitted that the farmers suffered losses because huge quantities of fruits rot because of lack of proper storage facilities. “If the government builds a cold storage here, it might help the farmers to preserve their fruits. It would improve the economic status of the producers as well as ensure mango supply for few months more,” he added.

Fruit vendor Alal Uddin, who had come to Kotchandpur market from Bhanga Upazila in Faridpur, said they were pleased to see the mature and chemical-free fruits this season as “these will ensure better prices for us”.

Upazila irbahi Officer (UNO) Nazneen Sultana said since the beginning of the flowering of mangoes in the orchards, she had been warning the owners against using hazardous chemicals like formalin.

“The producers have also followed this instruction to ensure supply of chemical-free and matured fruits to the consumers.

It will ensure better prices for them,” the UNO added.

Saroj Kumar Nath, deputy commissioner in Jhenidah, said the local administration has zero tolerance towards the application of hazardous chemicals on fruits. “Consumers can enjoy pure mangoes this season. Mass awareness among the people might remove the hazard of harmul chemicals like carbide and formalin in fruits,” he added.