The Ministry of Agriculture is adopting a new marketing strategy for seasonal fruits like mangoes, litchis and watermelons so that they are not wasted and the fruits reach the consumers quickly.
Local haats (markets) will be the primary selling point for connecting consumers and farmers. At the same time, online platforms and super shops will be used to sell the fruits at the consumer level.
The ministry organised an online meeting on Saturday over this joint initiative. The meeting was attended by four government ministers, 17 MPs, former agriculture minister Matia Chowdhury, the country's top fruit processing companies, transport owners and labour leaders.
At the meeting everyone emphasised the need to use online platforms and marketing initiatives created by young entrepreneurs to connect farmers and consumers.
Agriculture minister Abdur Razzak said the current global pandemic is affecting the transportation and marketing of agricultural products, including vegetables and seasonal fruits in Bangladesh.
Adding that the demand for agricultural products has declined in the market due to declining income level and less consumers in bigger cities, he said, online platforms and super shops such as Chaldal, Swapno and Agora will be used to meet the marketing challenge of agricultural products.
Former agriculture minister Matia Chowdhury said initiatives should be taken to make the movement of trucks and other transports uninterrupted. Fuels can be subsidised to reduce truck fares.
She also said, there would be no problem in marketing mangoes if mangoes were bought and stored in various government offices including police barracks, army barracks, hospitals and prisons from farmers directly.
Food minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder said imports of foreign fruits such as apples and grapes can be reduced for the time being.
State minister for foreign affairs, ShahriarAlam said mango cultivation is declining in Rajshahi due to lack of good prices over the last few years.
Identity cards should be issued to reduce harassment in transporting and extension of bank transaction deadlines will be required to facilitate the traders and hawkers, he added.
It was said at the meeting that mangoes have been cultivated on 189,000 hectares of land this year and the expected production has been 2,232,000 tonnes. Litchis have been planted on about 32,000 hectares of land and the expected production is 232,000 tonnes.
The meeting was attended by senior officials of the agriculture ministry, deputy heads of Chapainawabganj, Rajshahi, Dinajpur and Satkhira and deputy directors of the Department of Agricultural Extension, Vegetable and Fruit Exporters Association, Supershop Owners Association, mango and litchi farmers, traders and storekeepers.