© Andreas Häuslbetz

Bangladesh air cargo carriers are likely to see a rush this mango season, as traders want to double exports of the fruit this year.

Last year, Bangladesh exported 1,757 tonnes of mangos, and this year plans to export 4,000 tonnes to earn some $600,000 of foreign currency.

Traders last year received $234,027, by exporting seven mango varieties to 15 countries, including the UK, UAE, Kuwait, Switzerland, Swaziland, India, the Netherlands, Singapore, Nepal and Sweden.

The government provides 20% cash incentives to mango exporters to encourage foreign currency earnings and this year the target is to produce 2.335m tonnes of the fruit, but the final crop may exceed this.

However, SM Jahangir Hossain, president of the Bangladesh Fruits, Vegetables and Allied Product Exporter’s Association, has reservations over the “ill-equipped” cold chain system at the Central Packing House in Dhaka.

Emirates is the main carrier of Bangladeshi fruits and vegetables, but Biman Bangladesh, Qatar, Saudia, Malaysia Airlines, Fly Dubai and Air Asia also carry the perishables in increasing volumes, said Mr Hossain.

Nasir Ahmed Khan, director of Bangladesh Freight Forwarders Association, said the Middle East was a key market for the mangos, as a huge number of Bangladesh nationals live there.

“The airfreight cost to the Middle East is comparatively low, so Bangladesh can compete with other countries,” he said.

Mr Khan said the fruit normally travelled bellyhold, as there were more flights and the goods move faster, thus avoiding damage at warehouses. No freighters carry perishables from Bangladesh, he added.

According to officials, Bangladesh is also completing procedures to start exporting mangos to Japan, while early this month some 300 kg was airfreighted to Italy. Meanwhile, Bangladesh also exports other fruit, including jackfruits, licchi, guavas, olives and pineapples.

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