For the last couple of years, fruit-bagging technology has been promoted in mango orchards in the region, including its vast Barind tract, commercially to protect mango from pest attacks besides facilitating the farmers to get quality yield.
Mango is the leading seasonal cash crop of the country’s northwest region and dominates the economy in the region, particularly in Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabganj districts.
Farmers said the method can be applied in growing all mango varieties like Khirshapat, Gopalbhog, Langra, Amrapali, Gauromati, Fazli and Himsagar.
“Fruit bagging method keeps fruits fresh and spot-free”, said Abul Hossain of Premtali village under Godagari upazila. He said he spent Tk 1,24,800 to purchase the bag for 32,000 mangoes.
At present, only medium and large farms are using fruit bags as small farms remain unable to fund such an expense.
Fruit bags are used during the months of April and May, just ahead of the paddy harvest.
According to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) sources, there are about 31 lakh mango trees of different ages and varieties on some 34,500 hectares in the region with the creation of many more new mango orchards and increased mango farming in the homesteads in recent years.
If the bags are used substantially, the use of harmful chemical insecticides and pesticides can be reduced to a greater extent on the huge trees. Thus the technology will open up a new door for exporting mangoes of the three districts famous for the delicious fruit to various foreign markets.
In addition, the bags help keep the mangoes dry at a controlled temperature, which extends the fruit’s longevity so that farmers can take them to the market at will.
Monzurul Huda, former director of DAE, said the demand for fruit bags in mango farming has been increasing by about 1 crore to 1.5 crore pieces per year.
Scientists of the Regional Horticulture Research Center (RHRC) in Chapainawabganj released the technology among the growers around seven to eight years back after attaining remarkable success in farm research fields.