Forgotten delights

Ahmed Shatil Alam visits the Fruits Fair that was organised in Dhaka, last week

pe01When Nabil, a student of class seven from a private school in Dhaka saw Cherimoyas (locally known as Ata) on a tree, he was a bit confused as this was the first time he had come across this fruit. Later, he learnt about the fruit from his mother.
Nabil’s mother tells New Age Xtra that most children and even youngsters do not know many local fruits other than apples, oranges and bananas. In order to get my son to see more fruits of the country, I have brought him to this fair, says Nabil’s mother.
The mother and son duo were one of the many visitors at the Annual Fruits Fair, last Thursday. The fair was held at Khamarbari over three days showcasing over 100 variety of local and foreign fruits. Visitors also had the opportunity to buy these fruits.
The fair, organised by Department of Agricultural Extension for the last few years, was launched on June 16 and ended on June 18.
pe02During these three days, the sweet smell of fruits struck the nostrils of all visitors who walked through the entrance of the fair. A fruit pyramid, that included coconut, mango, date palm, banana, jackfruit, pineapple and more, was on display.
Right by the pyramid, there were different trees in tubs from which fruits were hanging. A five to six feet tall mango tree was the highlight of the spot as hundreds of visitors were seen taking selfies with the tree.
Other visitors were found busily purchasing fruits from the 75 stalls of the fair as the ‘quality of the fruits were better than local market although the price is the same’, according to a buyer. Visitor AKM Shafiul Islam Sohel shares with New Age Xtra that he has bought more than a few kilograms of mangoes and pineapple as the quality of products at the fair were absolutely outstanding if compared to fruits found in local kitchen markets. ‘As it is a government initiative, I trust I will not be cheated,’ he says. ‘Besides, at the fair, there are more options for fruits than local markets,’ he adds.
pe03In this regard, DAE sub-assistant agricultural officer Mofazzal Hossain says, for the last 10 years DAE has been organising the fair with an aim to provide the people with a platform to buy fresh fruits and know the fruits directly. ‘In Dhaka, people are relatively familiar with foreign fruits like apple and orange, than local fruits like Chapalish and Palm. However, these two fruits are almost equal in providing minerals and vitamins than former two. We are organising this fair to create a connection between consumers and local fruits,’ he says. He also shares that currently, a total of 130 types of fruits are available in Bangladesh, although some of them had originated from outside the country.
At the fair, there were some foreign fruits as well. These included strawberry, Chinese dragon fruit, Malay-Indonesian Rambutan and more.
There were around 80 types of mangoes displayed at the fair by different organizations. Some of the popular types include Haribhanga, Gopalbhogh, Mallika, Langra etc. Some hybrid and large mangoes were also found which were named Brunei King, Howalok, Banana Mango etc.
The Brunei King created a buzz at the fair for being gigantic in size. One of these hybrid mangoes is usually two to three kilograms in weight, and can go up to five kilograms. This mango is currently cultivated only in Magura district and in the fair it was sold at Tk 80 per kg.
The visitors at the fair were also amazed with the Banana Mango, which was almost shaped like a banana. Meanwhile, a 12-inch size banana named as Amrito Shagor and Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute’s Citron, also known as Jamalebu (a kind of lemon), also attracted the attention of visitors at the fair.

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