Industry Desk: Regional Horticulture Research Centre (Mango Research Centre) in Chapainawabganj, the country’s only mango research institute, has been doing research for developing new mango varieties for 38 years. But, researchers here failed to develop any new variety to challenge the native ones.
For this reason, native varieties of mangoes still continue their supremacy, by their taste, volume of production, or market demand, mango growers and traders say.
The authorities previously blamed the shortage of scientists for their inability to develop any mentionable variety. However, there is no shortage of manpower since last year. Now, the institute suffers from the lack of modern laboratories.
On the other hand, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) developed 18 mango varieties. But the Mango Research Centre claimed that 14 of the varieties are developed by them. Actually, BARI-13, 16, 17, and 18 mango varieties were developed in 2020 and 2021 on the occasion of Mujib year. Besides, the Rajshahi Fruit Research Centre developed a BARI-14 mango variety while Bangladesh Agricultural University developed some new mango varieties.
Of them, BARI-3 (Amrapali, Naogaon) and BARI-4 mango varieties gained popularity among farmers in Rajshahi, Naogaon, Natore, and Chapainawabganj. Currently, Bari 11 and 12 mango varieties are being offered to the farmers.
“Of them, farmers can harvest BARI-11 mango variety thrice a year from the same tree which is much sweeter. In the first phase, mango production takes place in March-April, then in August-September. After finishing the harvesting, the bud comes again. This variety will be very beneficial for farmers,” said Regional Horticulture Research Centre’s Chief Scientific Officer Mokhlesur Rahman.
However, farmers differed with the innovation of the research centre. Ahsan Habib, member secretary of Chapainawabganj Mango Foundation, said the research institute is busy with BARI varieties. They have no role in the economic development of mangoes or increase in technological skills.
The demand for Bari-16 and 11 is less at the farmer level as they failed to develop quality mangos to beat native ones. They claim to be late mango varieties. “Due to the failure of the institute, foreign variety banana mangoes gained popularity among mango growers. Gaurmati mango is a purely local and late variety. Foreign mango variety Katimon is also a late variety,” he adds.
“So what did the research centre do? They even failed to create a market through seasonal mango production despite 38 years of research,” Ahsan Habib wonders.
“No, we are forced to plan for produce mango-centric bi-products,” he adds
According to the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), Chanpainawabganj, Rajshahi, Natore, and Naogaon usually produce 60% of the total mango production. If the average price is Tk70 per kg, the total sale is more than Tk8,068 crore. This time the government set 1,000 tonnes export target. It was 223 and 92 tonnes in the last two years respectively.
This year, mango was cultivated in Chapainawabganj on 37,588 hectares of land with a target of 435,843 tonnes of production. Besides, mangos are cultivated on 30,670 hectares of land in Naogaon while on 5,747 hectares of land in Natore.
Md Mokhlesur Rahman said “No new mango variety has been developed yet to challenge native varieties. So, Langra, Khirsapat, Fazli, or Laxman Bhog are still ruling the markets. Keeping this in mind, researchers are now conducting research on early or late variety mango production.”
He further said Bari 11 variety has not yet gained much popularity at the farmer level due to its low sweetness. But its demand will increase. And Bari-7 mango variety is expected to be important for export as foreigners prefer less sweet and colorful mango.
Mango Research Centre is doing research with a target of developing at least 60 new mango varieties, including export-oriented ones, he adds.
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