With the country tapping into its rich mango diversity, improving production practices, and expanding its market reach, the future of Bangladesh’s mango exports looks bright as the growth of exportable mango has risen significantly in last few seasons and the trend is expected to continue this season too.
Jackfruit may be the country’s national fruit, but Mango is the undisputed ruler of Bangladesh’s fruit industry. The fruit is deeply rooted in our societies and has many economic, nutritional, cultural, and social value. Bangladeshi mangoes have the potential to become a sought-after fruit in worldwide markets due to their distinctive flavor, variety, extended shelf life, size, and nutritional content.
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Mangoes have been cultivated in South Asia for more than four thousand years. Mangoes are in high demand around the world and are currently grown commercially in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, and Egypt.
Exporting prospect of mango
For mango-producing nations including Bangladesh, exporting mangoes can be a lucrative business opportunity. The country’s advantageous climate, fertile soil, and prolonged hours of sunlight provide ideal growing conditions for mangoes, resulting in superior fruit with a distinct sweetness and depth of flavor. Being a growing market size of multimillion dollar business by 2031, there is huge potential of grabbing the market and export mangoes from Bangladesh. In addition, Bangladesh exports a substantial quantity of mangoes to the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France, Sweden, and Canada.
Last year, mango exports from Bangladesh reached a new peak, surpassing the five-year average. According to data from the Plant Quarantine Wing (PQW) of the Department of Agricultural Extension, exporters had air-shipped 980 tonnes of mango between July and May of 2021-22, an increase of 24% year-over-year.
This season’s mango exporting target
Twenty-five lakh tonnes of mangoes were grown on two lakh hectares of land in Bangladesh in 2021, making it one of the world’s leading mango producers. Last year, Bangladesh exported almost 1738 tonnes of seven mango varieties, including Khirshapat, Gopalbhog, Himsagar, Langra, and Amrapali, earning approximately $236,040. Throughout the entire fiscal year of 2020-21, mango exports totaled 790 tons.
Bangladesh’s mango production goal for the current fiscal year is 23.35 lakh tonnes, the same as last year. The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) expects the actual production to be 28 lakh tonnes, approximately 20% more than the target, due to a bumper yield this season resulting from the timely flowering of mango trees and no incidence of natural disasters that would damage the flowers.
According to mango exporters, commercial mango cultivation in Bangladesh is on the rise, leading to a rise in mango exports. They think exports can be multiplied by a large amount even after meeting the domestic demand.
Although DAE has set a goal of producing approximately 10,000 tonnes of exportable mangoes, fruit exporters intend to export 4,000 tonnes of the country’s national fruit in the closing fiscal year 2022-23, which is more than doubled the amount exported in the previous fiscal year.
Exporters indicate that the mango export season runs from May to July. This year, the export of mangoes will begin by the end of May. According to exporters, the export price per kilogram of mangoes, excluding air freight charges, ranges between Tk150 and Tk160, and the country is anticipated to earn approximately $600,000 or Tk64 crore from mango exports this year. The government offers a financial incentive of 20% on mango exports as an agricultural product.
Bangladeshi mangoes are currently exported to over 15 countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Bhutan, Switzerland, Great Britain, India, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Nepal, Sweden, Singapore, and Swaziland. Five years ago, mangoes were only exported to two or three countries.
Challenges hindering high exports and way forward
Bangladesh is one of the top mango-producing countries, yet it exports less mango than India, Pakistan, Mexico, and Thailand. Last year, the country produced over 25 lac Metric Tons of mango but exported barely 2,000.
There are still major issues to address which could improve mango exporting. These include meeting international food safety and quality requirements, improving packaging and shipping infrastructure, and addressing mango production and export pests and diseases etc.
Fruit flies affect Bangladeshi mango exports as these pests can ruin fruit and transfer diseases to other crops. To comply with The Special Protection Group (SPS) laws, government agencies, producers, and exporters have to control fruit flies. Mango pest-free protocol is needed to address SPS issues.
Mango exporters struggle with pesticide residues. Mango producers and exporters need to employ integrated pest management and less insecticides to solve this problem. Bio-pesticides and other organic pest management strategies can reduce mango pesticide residues and improve compliance. Mango e-traceability is being developed by DAE’s Plant Quarantine Wing, which ensures the safety and quality of mangoes by tracking the entire production process, from orchard to ultimate destination. After the successful completion of the pilot program, this e-traceability system can be expanded.
Mohammad Arifur Rahman, director of the Exportable Mango Production project under the DAE, stated that the quantity of mango exports cannot be increased in various European nations due to the paucity of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certified mango export orchards. He added that the government is creating certified mango gardens in Bangladesh, which will increase mango exports in one or two years.
Mangoes must be properly wrapped and labeled to prevent damage during shipping which the exporters mostly lack. Importing countries may reject fruit if packing and labeling are not maintained. Compliance-related information may be disseminated via a continuous awareness programme for stakeholders.
The Plant Quarantine Wig of Department of Agricultural Extension, the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) of Bangladesh, certifies mangoes for export based on phytosanitary standards. To assure scientific inspections, testing, compliance with international phytosanitary rules, and comprehensive certification before export, this organization needs to grow capacity.
Any exporter entering the global mango industry must search the market for. Exporters can maximize earnings and minimize risks in this lucrative and competitive sector by identifying buyers and markets, understanding regulatory requirements, the competitive landscape, and potential risks and problems. In terms of flavor, quality, size, and packaging, various markets have distinct preferences and requirements for mangoes. By conducting market research, exporters can determine the varieties of mangoes that are in demand, as well as the countries and regions where mangoes are in high demand.
Investing in infrastructure improvements for mango exports, such as upgrading ports and shipping facilities and constructing cold storage facilities to extend mangos’ shelf life, is necessary.
By introducing positive changes to the export scenario, such as enlarging testing facilities, modernizing the packing facility, and establishing facilities for vapour heat treatment, etc., the export potential can be increased. With a commitment to quality, adherence to international standards, and government initiatives, the nation is well-positioned to stake out a substantial portion of the global mango market.