This year, a litchi orchard in Biral upazila of Dinajpur, Bangladesh, has taken a significant step by directly shipping 300 kilograms of litchis to France, indicating the growing agricultural exports from the country. This marks the first time that a single orchard has been able to directly export its litchi fruits, which have been traditionally exported from Bangladesh since 1999.
The litchi orchards in Dinajpur are renowned for producing exceptional quality litchis due to the ideal soil and climate conditions in the region. The local administration of Dinajpur, with the support of Md Habibur Rahman, the divisional commissioner of Rangpur, facilitated the export of litchis after consulting relevant parties.
The first consignment of 300 kilograms of litchis, consisting of approximately 16,000 pieces of the Bedana variety, was brought to Dhaka for shipping earlier this week. The deputy commissioner’s office and the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in Dinajpur confirmed this development.
Shakil Ahmed, the deputy commissioner of Dinajpur, inaugurated the shipment at his office on Tuesday and emphasized that the litchis met the required export standards throughout the production process. Adequate packaging was employed to ensure the fruits remained undamaged during transportation. Litchis is expected to reach France in 72 hours. The shipment of litchis is expected to boost the economy of Dinajpur and create more job opportunities for locals. The demand for litchis in international markets is steadily increasing, and this successful export could lead to more opportunities for farmers in the region.
The fulfillment of this demand for direct export from the orchard is a long-awaited achievement for the growers who have been advocating for such opportunities. Afzal Hossain, the owner of the exporting orchard, expressed his pride in directly exporting fruits to a European country.
Additionally, another consignment of 0.5 million pieces (9,500 kilograms) of the China-3 variety will soon be exported to France. These litchis will be directly sourced from different litchi orchards.
Bangladesh produces around 2 lakh tonnes of litchis annually across 26,000 hectares of land, encompassing various varieties. Litchis from Pabna have also been exported to several Middle Eastern countries. However, the demand for litchis from Dinajpur is particularly high due to their exceptional quality, taste, color, and size.
Until June 7 of the current fiscal year, 112 tonnes of litchis have been exported, and officials expect the volume of litchi exports to exceed last year’s figures. Mohammad Monsur, the general secretary of the Bangladesh Fruits, Vegetables, and Allied Product Exporter’s Association, mentioned that around 30 exporters are currently shipping litchis to different countries, with orders amounting to 2.5 tonnes from various nations.
Bangladesh exported 149 metric tons of litchis in 2021–22, marking the largest shipment to date. This increase in demand for litchis is due to their unique flavor and high nutritional value. The government of Bangladesh has also taken steps to improve the quality of litchis and ensure timely delivery to meet international standards.
China, India, and Vietnam are major producers and exporters of litchis, with China leading the pack, followed by Vietnam and India.
The United States, Canada, and countries in the European Union are major importers of litchis from different countries, with China accounting for approximately 80% of the total demand. The remaining 20% is supplied by other South Asian countries, as stated by the ISHS.
In 2021, China exported litchis worth $63.2 million to various countries, including Canada and those in the European Union. The demand for litchis is expected to continue growing due to their increasing popularity as a healthy snack and ingredient in various cuisines around the world.