Fruit orchard is a growing trend in the agricultural landscape in Bangladesh. Remarkably, our fruit production increased from 87.86 lakh tons in 2006-07, to 1.21 crore tons in 2017-18 attaining 37.71% growth (Source: The Daily Star, 21 May 2019). However, the interaction of plant, soil, and environment is complex in nature and the profitability of the orchards mainly depends on the productivity as well as the quality of the fruit. An innovation-led approach can make the orchard profitable. It involves adoption of innovative techniques and technologies at local levels.
The transformation should begin with the development of genetics. As our farmers depend on import for non-traditional fruits, the issues of quality and genetic mutation affect commercial fruit production. Therefore adoption of innovative practices can bring better results. Additionally irrigation can be increasingly technology-driven with models like drip irrigation. While we should surely go for intercropping in our orchards, we need to ensure enough sunlight for proper photosynthesis for our fruits. Prudent practices like pruning and weeding through customized machineries as well as early or late season cultivation can ensure profitability. To maintain and improve fruit taste, uniformity of the size, storability and growth, Fertilization including micro and foliar application is vital. Pest control in orchard is challenging therefore it requires proper management. Finally, post-harvest management for fruit orchards need modernization to achieve efficiency in picking, sorting, handling, packaging, and transporting these fruits commercially.
Adoption of innovative approaches in the fruit orchards will eventually increase production and create more value for our farmers and our agro-processing value chain.
Dr. F H Ansarey
Managing Director & CEO