Super Cyclone Amphan Damage to Mangoes and Litchis worth more BDT.6.00 b in Bangladesh
By Adnan Mahfuz Tazvir
Although Amphan’s losses could not be calculated at an early stage, all the losses are slowly coming out. The amount of damage to the Amphan is not a little. The damage to Bangladesh is less than to India, but farmers and coastal residents have suffered huge losses.
According to estimates, the loss of mango and litchi in Amphan was BDT 6.00 billion. On the other hand, this year’s Bangladesh has faced a lot of damage due to coronavirus pandemic. However, the number of losses in Corona is increasing.
Litchi, banana, and papaya were ripe; the mango was being nourished. Amphan has ruined all. The amount of loss as a government stands at BDT.6.0 billion. Earlier, farmers had counted the loss of watermelon and jackfruit. But this time, Amphan has already ruined the last hope of the farmers.
The Ministry of Agriculture had expected yield of 22.32 lacs ( 1 million = 10 lacs) tons of mangos in this favorable weather.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Bangladesh has risen from eighth to sixth place in mango production in the last three years, surpassing Vietnam and the Philippines. Jackfruit is in the second position.
Fruit production has been increasing at the highest rate in the world for a decade in Bangladesh. This time the production target was a quarter of a million tons.
During the mango, litchi, banana, and papaya seasons, orchards in different areas had about 4 million tons of fruit. At least 5 percent of fruits have been completely destroyed due to super cyclone Amphan.
Fruit growers were already worried about marketing.
Now the orchards of 12 districts from Satkhira to Rajshahi have been destroyed. Although, the worth of BDT.3.0 billion mangoes is wasted due to Cyclone Amphan.
Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzak told Prothom Alo that the ministry was calculating the loss of paddy and vegetables in Amphan as well as the loss of fruit growers.
Plans to cooperate with them are almost finalized. Besides, the government has facilitated online fruit marketing. Bangladesh Railway arranged a train service from Rajshahi, the mango capital of Bangladesh, to the capital Dhaka to transport mangoes and litchis at a low cost.
30 to 40 percent of the farmers in Satkhira and Jessore districts have lost their mangoes and litchis. The damage was not less in Rajshahi, Naogaon, Bogra, and Chapainawabganj.
In the north, there is a lot of damage to Kallar, Pabna, and Sirajganj, and in the south-west, there is a lot of damage to papaya.
However, the mango farmers of Rajshahi have suffered the most in terms of money. They have lost about BDT.12000.00 lacs.
They have sold the raw and semi-ripe mangoes at BDT 2 to 10 per kg. Many mangoes could not be sold as they fell and burst.
Director of the Horticulture Section of the Department of Agricultural Extension, Mr. Kabir Hossain, told Prothom Alo, “We have made arrangements to sell a large portion of the fallen mangoes to various fruit processing companies and individuals in the country.”
And I am listing the affected farmers.’ He said, if the government gives any help or incentive, the farmers will get it.
Most of the mango farmers have started gardening with loans from banks, NGOs, or various financial institutions. Besides, they are investing a large part of their personal and family savings and expatriate income in the garden. Mango is now being cultivated on a commercial basis in 25 districts.
As it is profitable, litchi orchards are now being developed extensively in Naogaon beyond the borders of Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj, and Bogra. Commercial farms meet about 60 percent of the country’s total fruit demand.
Farmers have been affected in Amphan as well as Corona.
Nazneen Ahmed, a senior research fellow at the Bangladesh Development Research Institute (BIDS), says fruit farming has become a lucrative sector for Bangladeshi farmers over the past decade. He said profit is not so much in paddy and jute cultivation. The resulting price is better compared to it.
He also said that the urgent task is to make a proper list of the affected farmers and waive the interest on their loans and renew them. It is equally essential to arrange loans for investment in the coming season and to provide government incentives to affected people.
The crowds in the markets and shops have decreased a lot since last April. The inter-district communication system was not fully operational.
Fruits are mostly cultivated in the most remote and border areas of the country. And their market is mainly in big cities and districts like Dhaka-Chittagong and Sylhet.
Patuakhali Sadar Upazila mango farmer Rafiqul Islam told Prothom Alo that many mangoes fell to the ground and were destroyed in the storm.
There is no buyer on it. Last time, he sold 1 kg of mango from the garden, not less than BDT.70-80. This time no one wants to take even 50 Taka.
These fruits have to be quickly picked from the orchards and transported from one end of the country to the other. Farmers have not been able to reach jackfruit and watermelon consumers this summer due to corona.
In many areas, the watermelons have been damaged in the field or on in the trees. Farmers did not get good prices. They were looking for a good profit from mango and litchi and in return, they got nothing but a huge loss.