Abounding with varieties of seasonal fruits, Bangladesh has achieved a remarkable growth in fruit production in past few years. According to Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of United Nations, the fruit production has increased by 11 per cent on an average annually for the last 18 consecutive years.
Bangladesh ranks second in jackfruit production, seventh in mango production, eighth in guava production and 14th in papaya production now. The consumption of fruits has increased twice in the past 10 years in the country as well.
Plenty of fruits of all seasons are available in the markets round the year now. Increasing use of lands for producing fruits commercially, planting fruit trees on house compounds, managing and nurturing fruit trees and orchards, study and research, people’s growing interest in local variety of fruits and domestic production of foreign fruits have great impacts on the total production of fruits, according to experts.
Country of 100 types of fruits
There are nearly hundred varieties of fruits in Bangladesh. It is said that, as many as 70 types of fruits are cultivated in this country. There are another 60 types of wild fruits available that are not cultivated. In total, the number of edible fruit types is 130.
Of them 10-12 fruits including mango, jackfruit, banana, guava, pineapple, papaya, water melon, litchi, coconut and various types of limes are grown commercially.
About 5 million tonnes fruits are grown in less than 1 per cent of total crop lands in the country. Almost 63 per cent of the total production is mango, jackfruits and banana. Of them, 25 per cent is mango.
The estimated fruit consumption in Bangladesh is 82 grams per capita at present. An adult is supposed to intake 200 grams of fruits every day which means we only meet 43 per cent of our total need now. We have to increase the production more to meet the demand.
We have to produce 15 million tonnes of fruits to meet the demand of the total population by 2030.
Foreign fruits in the country
Litchi, currently considered as a local fruit, was once imported from China. Its name litchi also is a Chinese word.
Popularity of a number of foreign fruits, being imported to Bangladesh every year, is on the rise. More than 20 types of fruits such as strawberry, dragon fruit, malta, soursop, mangosteen, Rambutan, persimmon, canistel, avocado, peach, cherry and so on were introduced in local market in the past decade.
Research on fruits
Various research institutes and educational institutions have innovated 177 varieties of 40 types of fruits. Of them, Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) has innovated 84 varieties of 35 fruits while Bangladesh Agriculture University (BAU) has created 84 varieties of 24 fruits.
Fruit import reduced
Fruit imports have been reduced in the country recently due to growing production and people’s interests in local fruits. The import was 356,000 tonnes in 2017-18 fiscal that came down to 300,000 tonnes in 2018-19.
*The report, originally published in print edition of Prothom Alo, has been rewritten into English by Farjana Liakat