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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Impressive as well as tasty, ripe haribhanga mangoes adorn a tree in Rangpur.Photo: STAR
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A recently developed variety of high quality mango, locally called haribhanga, has appeared as more appetizing than traditional popular varieties like langra, fazli and amropali in the markets in Rangpur.

Introduced about 12 years ago by Abdus Salam Sarkar, a retired government official, at Podaganj village under Mithapukur upazila of Rangpur district, haribhnaga now sees large-scale cultivation in Mithapukur, Badarganj, Pirganj and Sadar upazilas in Rangpur district as well as other areas of the northern region, the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) sources said.

Around 30 thousand people of Badarganj and Mithapukur upazilas are directly dependent on the cultivation and trading of the highly fleshy, fibreless and tasty variety mango.

Traders from Dhaka, Rajshahi, Barisal, Khulna and Sylhet are thronging the local markets to buy haribhanga from here.

This season this variety of mango is selling at wholesale market at Tk 1800-2000 per maund and about 20-30 truckloads of mangoes are being sent to different places of the country from here daily.

"Over 5,500 people are now cultivating the mango on 5,000 hectares of land comprising over 3,500 small, medium and big orchards as well as homesteads in the district. Last year around 20,000 tonnes of haribhanga mango worth about Tk 150 crore was produced in the district. This year the yield is likely to be much higher as the variety sees bumper production, said Khandaker Md Mesbahul Islam, horticulture specialist of the DAE.

Local farmers said only a decade ago large areas of land remained uncultivated year after year but now cultivation of haribhanga mango has added to the value of these lands.

Some people are buying land there to cultivate profitable harivanga.

Agriculture Minister Motia Chowdhury inaugurated an exhibition of haribhanga mango at Podaganj School and College ground on last June 23 for encouraging its cultivation in the region, said Md Feroz Ahmed, acting additional director of DAE.

In 2007Abdus Salam Sarkar, 'developer' of haribhanga mango, made an orchard at Barogharia Sardarpara village of Khoragachh union under Badarganj upazila in Rangpur district, and began commercial farming of the variety on eight acres of land.

In 2010 he got Tk 3 lakh by selling produces in his garden while he had to spend Tk 1 lakh for paying his staff and meeting other expenditures.

This year he sold mangoes from his gardens for Tk 13 lakh.

"I am buying lands to set up more gardens. Many farmers of the district come to me to take advices about haribhanga mango cultivation, he said.

Usually round-sized, a haribhnaga mango weighs 200gm to 400gm.

Harvest of haribhanga began in the second week of June and will continue till end of July.

Joynal Mian and Khogen Kunda of Podaganj village said they have gained solvency through farming haribhanga in recent years.

Masud Rana, owner of Rana Nursery in Rangpur, said, "Many farmers are buying saplings of haribhanga for its commercial production in their orchards. One can get its yield within 2-3 years after plantation."

Several growers have urged arrangement of monitoring by the agriculture department, especially when germ and pest attack their orchards.

They have also demanded bank loans facilities so that they do not have to sell their produces for cheap prices to the middlemen early in the season.

Zinnat Mahamood Rusell, an organiser of haribhanga mango growers, demanded that authorities develop a national orchard for the variety of mango at Mithapukur, establish a research centre, set up cold storages, and take steps for exploring its market abroad.

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