Fruit production in the country has seen a boom recently as farmers are taking more interest in growing fruit encouraged by a key government project to support it.
The government introduced support of Year-Round Fruit Production for Nutrition Improvement project in 2014 to increase supply of fruit round the year to close nutrition gap.
Consumers are now getting different kind of fruit at the fruit shops as farmers are producing local and foreign varieties fruits across the country.
A total of 70 different types of fruit are being produced in the country with mango remanning at the top of fruit production followed by banana.
The project director of Year-Round Fruit Production for Nutrition Improvement under Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) Mehedi Masood told the Daily Sun, “Fruit production has increased manifolds in the country in the last 10 years and the country’s current fruit production is now 12.2 million metric tonnes.”
Many educated people, especially the youth, have set up commercial fruit orchards because of good financial benefit, he said.
Many fallow lands have been turned into fruit orchards due to good return, he said adding that malta, orange, dragon, fig, avocado, rambutan, strawberry, persimmon and many other foreign varieties are also being produced on commercial basis.
Good production of some foreign fruits also is also helping reduce import of foreign fruit and save foreign currency, said Masood.
Bangladesh marks the highest rate of increase in fruit production among the world’s fruit producing countries last year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Country’s fruit production has increased by 11.5 percent on average in the last 18 years, FAO estimates.
The project is giving support to the farmers with providing plants, fertiliser, irrigation, insecticides and different inputs to grow fruit round the year, said the project director.
Most of the land used in fruit farming is for mango and then banana, jackfruit, papaya, guava and Litchi.
Mango production was 1.97 million tonnes in FY 2014-15, 2.02 million tonnes in FY 2015-16, 2.14 million tonnes in FY 2016-17, 2.37 million metric tonnes in FY 2017-18 and it was 2.2million metric tonnes in FY 2018-19.
Banana production was 1.6 million metric tonnes in FY 2014-15, while it was 2.1 million metric tonnes in FY 2018-19.
Jackfruit production was 1.6 million metric tonnes in FY 2014-15, while it was 1.8 million metric tonnes in FY 2018-19.
Litchi production was 0.21 million metric tonnes in FY 2014-15, while it was 0.23 million metric tonnes in FY 2018-19.
Papaya production was 0.49 million metric tonnes in FY 2014-15, while it was 0.88 million metric tonnes in FY 2018-19.
Guava production was 0.32 million metric tonnes in FY 2014-15, while it was 0.52 million metric tonnes in FY 2018-19.
In 2006-07, 4.74 lakh hectares of land was under fruit cultivation while the production was 8.79 million metric tonnes, according to DAE.
The acreage has since jumped to 7.27 lakh hectares, with a production of 12.152 million tonnes in 2018-19. Fruit production went up by 3.366 million tonnes in these 12 years, according to DAE statistics.