Pineapple prices frustrate farmers | The star of the day

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A fruit vendor is seen with a desperate look on his face even though he has an abundance of pineapples to sell as fruit prices are half of what they were last year when Covid-19 hit increase the demand for foods rich in vitamin C. Photo: Mirza Shakil

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A fruit vendor is seen with a desperate look on his face even though he has an abundance of pineapples to sell as fruit prices are half of what they were last year when Covid-19 hit increase the demand for foods rich in vitamin C. Photo: Mirza Shakil

Although pineapple yields at Tangail’s Madhupur upazila have been good this year, growers have been frustrated by a 40-50% drop in prices for the popular fruit, according to local farmers and agriculture officials .

Blaming the availability of other seasonal fruits and falling Covid-19 infections for a drop in demand, they said the lack of proper marketing facilities and food processing industries in the region are two more reasons for the fall in prices.

The Madhupur Garh region is famous for contributing the majority of the roughly two lakh tonnes of pineapples produced annually in Bangladesh.

Pineapples grown in the region, which include Giant Q, Honey Queen, and Ashwina varieties, are famous for their sweet, juicy flesh that carries a distinct aromatic flavor.

About 80% of the pineapples grown in the region are of the Giant Q variety, while the Honey Queen and Ashwina varieties account for 10% each. According to Madhupur Agricultural Extension Department, pineapples have been grown on about 5,800 hectares of land in the upazila this year.

Similarly, more than 3,000 hectares of land in the adjacent upazilas of Ghatail and Fulbaria in Mymensingh are used to grow the fruit.

Local agriculture officials said pineapple growers in the region have been benefiting from high prices over the past two years as people increasingly consume fruits rich in vitamin C to help ward off infections. Covid-19.

However, pineapple prices are low this year due to a drop in demand thanks to the availability of other summer fruits like mango, lychee and jackfruit as the coronavirus situation escalated. practically attenuated, they added.

Several pineapple traders in Jalchhatra market, the biggest pineapple market in Madhupur, said that although Giant Q pineapples sold between 30 and 50 Tk depending on size last year, the same fruit does not now sells no more than 15-30 Tk.

Tariqul Islam, a pineapple grower in the Mote Bazar area, said he grew pineapples on four acres of land this year.

“I harvested 200 naturally ripened pineapples from my orchard a few days ago, but haven’t been able to sell them yet due to lack of buyers,” he added.

Echoing the same, Saiful Islam, a farmer from Beribadh region who grew pineapples on four bighas of land, said that while yields are good, prices are very low this season.

“Wholesalers don’t offer more than Tk 12-15 per piece for pineapples that cost at least Tk 30 last year,” he added.

In this context, several producers insisted on the need to establish food processing or juice industries in the region to help them obtain fair prices for their products.

Another problem, however, is that a section of farmers use excessive amounts of pesticides and chemicals to grow pineapples, causing health-conscious people to lose interest in the fruit, sources said.

However, local farmers insist they have no alternative to using these chemicals as they would otherwise suffer losses if they were forced to wait for the fruit to ripen naturally.

Also, most wholesalers aren’t interested in buying naturally ripened fruit because most of it rots in transit, they said.

Contacted, Al Mamun Russel, Madhupur Upazila Agriculture Officer, said ripening agents are used all over the world and are not harmful to human health if used properly.

Yet, some of the local pineapple growers use the chemical in excessive amounts at will, which reduces the taste and quality of the fruit.

“We always suggest they don’t use more than the recommended dose, but they don’t care,” he added.

Asked about the possibility of establishing food and juice processing industries in the region for pineapples and other locally grown fruits, the agriculture official said he had already asked the Minister of Agriculture to take an initiative in this regard. regard.

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