The government will extend all-out support to growers and traders in selling and marketing easily all the seasonal fruits like mango, litchi, watermelon, jackfruit at this time of coronavirus pandemic, said Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzaque on Saturday.
The minister said this while speaking at an online views-exchange meeting on sales and marketing of seasonal fruits and agriculture products.
The participants at the meeting, including a former minister, incumbent junior ministers and experts, put forward a number of suggestions for saving the fruit growers as well as ensuring the smooth marketing of seasonal fruits.
The Agriculture Minister said coronavirus pandemic has adversely affected the transportation of agricultural produce, including seasonal fruits.
The growers are now unable to sell their produces as wholesale traders have lost interest in buying those while transport costs have doubled by the time, Abdur Razzaque said.
Marketing of farm produces have become a big challenge at this time of unprecedented scale of pandemic, he said adding that the government is working on it.
Attending the online meeting, former Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury said it is necessary to ease the movement of trucks on roads.
If seasonal fruits can be purchased from farmers and provided to police and army barracks, hospitals, prisons, and government offices, then the mango-marketing crisis could be resolved easily, Matia said.
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State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said Commerce Ministry can work for exploring international market to export the seasonal fruits produced in Bangladesh.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam suggested issuing ID cards to mango traders so that they can move easily.
Former Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman recommended working to create a greater demand for mango on the local market. “It’s time to take steps for an additional budget for agricultural sector, if necessary,” he added.
President of Bangladesh Truck-Covered Van Transport Owners-Labouers Oikya Parishad Tajul Islam said they will work together during this crisis.
State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Zunaid Ahmed Palak said his ministry will launch a mobile apps, ‘Ek Shop’, within three to four days where farmers will be able to sell their produces online.
Using this apps, he said, agricultural produces from farmers will reached directly the door steps of people, including mega shops.
The Agriculture Minister said they urged Pran, Acme, Brac and other local organisations for processing mangoes for producing juice, mango bar, and other items. These companies will buy more mangoes this year, he told the meeting.
Dr Abdur Razzaque said his ministry along with district administrations, Department of Agricultural Extension and Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM) will start monitoring activities with highest importance to implement the recommendations.
About 22.32 lakh mts of mangoes are expected to be harvested this year from 1,089 hectares of land in the country.
The ministry expects the production of 2.32 mts of litchi, 18.89lakh mts of jackfruit, 4.97 lakh mts of pineapple this season in the country.