Mango is the king of fruits of Bangladesh. It will be hard to find a person who would say no to a mango. The best ones are expensive and in high demand. They come from Chapainawabganj, where most of the country's mangoes grow. In the season, the district turns into the epicenter of mango trade. The whole nation loves the mangoes from the district. They are juicy, fleshy and sweet. Traders from all over the nation flock in great numbers to Chapainawabganj to order to collect the best of the king of fruits.
When it comes to the king of fruits, mango, Chapainawabganj can claim to be the capital of the fruit. The sweet and juicy fruit grown in the district is known across the nation. The salivating smell of the fruit and the gathering of buyers and traders of the fruit turn the markets of the district into a fruit festival.
Around 350 kilometers away from the capital is Chapainawabganj, and about 40 kilometers from there is the Shona Masjid town. From the Chapainawabganj to the Shona Masjid town, the highway roadsides are covered with mango trees and all are full of tempting mangoes swinging from them. This scene is not on the highway but is all around the district. One travelling on the highway can see people picking the mangoes into a basket and loading them on to a truck. These trucks deliver mangoes to Dhaka and also to all over the country. And you can also see the mango traders bringing mangoes in sacks by rickshaw van to the markets.
There are many mango markets all over the district. Among them, the old market beside the Mohananda River, Rohonpur bazar of Gomostapur Upazilla and Kanshat bazar from Shibganj Upazilla are the largest mango markets in the district. There are about 250 mango warehouses there. In Kanshat, the ones who sell the fruit beside the streets are small sellers.
According to Krishi Shomprosharon Odhidoptor (Agriculture Development Office), Bangladesh produces more than 800,000 metric tons of mangoes on 51,000 hectors of land. Out of that, only in Chapainawabganj, almost 200,000 tons of mangoes are grown in 23,282 hectors of land. The district has about 50,000 mango groves, and in them various types of mangoes are grown in 18,000 trees. Last year, the district grew 185,000 metric tons of mangoes on 23,070 hectors of land.
Growing mangoes depends mainly on the weather. This year, though the fruit grew on time, the number was not as expected. Bad weather caused the situation. Initially, the Agricultural Department estimated a production of 200,000 metric tons, later they reduced the number to 120,000 metric tons.
Many of the people in the district are somehow connected to the production of mangoes. During mango season, many from the most remote rural areas get themselves involved into the growing and distribution of mangoes. Land owners lease their lands to the mango traders, some get involved in grooming the mango groves, some produce mango baskets, some get involved in delivering the fruits and others are direct sellers. From Dhaka to other parts of the country, mango traders gather in the district to get the best. They send their collection to their respective districts.
TYPES OF MANGOES
There are around 300 types of manoges in Bangladesh. Chapainawabganj grows most of them. Some names are known to some others may sound strange. To name a few:Fazli, Langra, Khirshapat, Ashshina, Bombai, Gopalbhag, Brindaboni, Boglaguti, Lokhna, Bou Vulani, Rani Pasand, Jamai Pasand, Jhujhurki, Baoii, Batasha, Jaoinna, Kumapaharu, Dudhshar, Koiddha, Golap Bash, Ilsyapety, Gorajit, Pipiya, Ariya, Mollika, Amropali, Nokkani, Jilapi Vog, Mohanvog, Khataishsha, Kanchamitha, Vadaira, Kalivog, Shindura, Misrivog, Baromaishsha, Madhuchushki, Surjapuri, Lakkanvog, Komlavog. Daidvog, Jalibandha, Mohananda, Panbota, Delshad, Bornali, Shitavog, Khirpasand, Surma Fazli, Gol Fazli, Kumrajali, Majnu, Darika, Boglaguti, Golapbash, Lubina, Machantangi, Funia, Kalua, Khitmohan, MotiJhuron, Dudhia, Begumbahara, Dudhkomor, Arazna, Misrikon, Ghikkonchon, Lombavadura, Chokchoka, Belua, Kelua, Aklumati, Bodnashonara, Ramposin, Julapi, Kyara, Shouladhukka, Rohimunda, Kalapahar, Munia, Dilbahar, Totamukhi, Shialpakhi, Khutariya, Dhokriya, Nakua, Korladagi, Kishanvog, Talkun, Monikanchon, Rashunpata, Chinichompa, Mohanbanshi, Kaluadagi, Amania, Jamania, Saunia, Kauadimbi, Modania, Korma, Gidhonihagga, Paneltoki, Rakhalvog, Johuriya, Nobabposhin, Kopuriya, Omukvog, Kohitur, Motichur, Rangbahar, Chiravija, Koshakanchan and 8 more types invented by Chapanwabganj regional Research Centre; Bari – 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8.
In one season, a single mango grove can change hands several times. A land is leased for 5 years or more. Grove owners give away the charge of taking care of the garden to the ones who lease them. A grove can be sold from few thousand to 1 crore takas. The largest groves in the district are Kazi Jalal Ahmed's grove from Volahat Upazilla. He has almost 3 bigha land with 3,000 trees and has 15 different types of mangoes. Another grove called the 'Rajar Bagan' is on 100 bigha land, is government owned. It has been under lease to Abu Bakar Siddiquee from Shibganj Upazilla. This grove contains 300 trees and is one of the oldest groves in the district. Sekander Chowdhury of Maharajpur village owns an 80 bigha mango grove. In Chak Alampur village, Biswas Family owns a 150 bigha land of mango grove. In the main town of Chapainawabganj, the groves at Kota Bagan and horticulture center also are large and government owned. Government or privately owned groves are leased for 20 lakhs to 2 crores for one season.
Abdul Wahed of Bangladesh Mango Producers Association said, the district, during the season, trades 800 to 1000 crore taka worth of mango each season.
Translated by Zia Nazmul Islam
Cover Art by Ujjal Ghose
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