Bangladesh: Project aims to have locally grown fruits available year-round

The goal of the Year-Round Fruit Production for Nutrition Improvement project is to make fruits available all over the year and meet the nutrition demand of the population. The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) has been implementing it since 2014-15.

An adult is supposed to consume 250 grams of fruit daily, but per capita intake is 80 grams in Bangladesh at present, according to the agriculture ministry.

Even a decade ago, local fruits were limited to Bangladesh’s hot and humid summer. People keenly waited for May, June and July when mango, litchi, jackfruit and most other fruits would make their way to the market.

However, the scenario has changed now. Several fruits are found almost all the time.

Mehedi Masood, the project director, said earlier fruits would be available during the three summer months, but the government is focusing on year-round production. “Now you will find guava, papaya, pineapple and some other fruits almost round the year. We are also expanding the production tenure of mango.”

In 2006-07, 474,000 hectares were under fruit cultivation yielding 8,786,000 tonnes, according to DAE. The acreage has since jumped to 724,000 hectares, with an output of 12,100,000 tonnes in 2017-18. In these 11 years, fruit production went up by 3,326,000 tonnes.

Bangladesh has also been among the top 10 countries in the production of significant fruits -- second in jackfruit, seventh in mango, and eighth in guava, according to FAO.

According to¸ the cultivation of nutritious varieties like dragon fruit, avocado, pomelo, watermelon, muskmelon, Burmese grapes or lotkon, jujube, hog plum, and Indian gooseberry or amlaki has largely increased over the last 4-5 years.

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