Tommy Adkins Mangoes

The Bangladesh government is working to reduce the hurdles faced by the country’s mango exporters in light of high airfreight costs.

With each kilo of mangoes destined for Europe costing between $4 and $5 to ship (last year just around $2), exporters have found themselves hamstrung.

So Mohammad Arifur Rahman, project director of the Exportable Mango Production Project, said a trial series of shipments would be sent by sea and added: “If the attempt is found to be viable and successful, we will make sea a main medium of transportation for mango exports.”

Pointing to neighbouring India and Pakistan, Mr Rahman noted that some countries had already begun sending mango shipments by ocean for their nearer destinations in an effort to boost competitiveness.

Meanwhile, to check the feasibility of the new arrangement, a consignment of mangoes from Bangladesh will be sent to the Netherlands by ship next week, with a per kg carrying cost estimated to be less than $1.

Last year’s freight cost of around $2 per kg was a big help for growers to export some 3,092 tonnes of mangoes to 38 countries, registering  73% growth. In 2022, some 1,757 tonnes were exported.

However, things have changed. Due to high freight costs and air capacity shortages for perishable items, mango exports have halved.

For the year to date, only 677 tonnes of mango have been exported, according to Mafizul Islam, deputy director of the plant quarantine wing of the Department of Agriculture Extension. Comparatively, by last July, Bangladesh had shifted some 2,123 tonnes of mango.

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