Watermelon enters export basket
In a first for Bangladesh, a consignment of watermelon has been shipped to Malaysia through Chattogram port by Sattar International, a vegetable exporter based in the port city.
The consignment of more than 13 tonnes of watermelon and 5 tonnes of tomato had reached a private inland container depot last week. The goods were then packed into a 40-feet refrigerated container after customs and quarantine tests.
The container, which was loaded onto the MV Integra, left the seaport last Friday.
Abdul Kaiyum, proprietor of Sattar International, said the value of the 5 tonnes of tomato alone is worth $3,000.
The firm has been exporting various vegetables, including potato, tomato, cabbage and cauliflower to different Malaysian buyers for the last three years. Kaiyum informed that one of his Malaysian buyers previously expressed interest in importing watermelon from Bangladesh.
Since then, he started exploring the opportunity and searched for good quality fruit and also contacting officials of the Plant Quarantine Station at Chattogram port to pave the way for a shipment.
The watermelons were collected from farmers in Shibganj upazila of Bogura.
"If the buyer gives a positive vibe upon receiving the shipment, it will widen the country's export basket," he said.
When contacted, Nasir Uddin, deputy director of the Plant Quarantine Station, said they tested the watermelons to fulfil the requirements for export.
"The quality and taste of the watermelons were good," he added.
Nasir then mentioned that there is risk in exporting vegetables or fruit as quality needs to be ensured.
He also said they were extending all-out support for easing the export of new items.