Ismail Khan Shamim holding a basket filled with premium quality mangos harvested from his UHD garden

Ismail Khan Shamim, an agricultural entrepreneur and the secretary of Shibganj Mango Association, has garnered significant attention by adopting Ultra High Density (UHD) mango cultivation technique. His mango orchard boasts an impressive sight, with every tree laden with bountiful bunches of mangoes.

The UHD farming model has gained popularity across Shibganj as the mango growers are getting additional income after the best uses of the method. The modern farming system has brought a new dimension to the local economy side by side with diversifying the cropping pattern in the region.

PRABRIDDHI, a local economic development project, supported Shibganj Mango Association to introduce UHD mango gardening in the area. Being an agriculture enthusiast and the secretary of the association, Shamim has been working closely with PRABRIDDHI since 2021 to promote the UHD farming model. “Traditionally, we used to plant 8 to 12 mango trees per bigha of land with an approximate production of 1.3 tons of mango. But, by adopting the UHD method with the project’s support, I planted more than 200 trees at a close distance in the same amount of land and yielded around 4-5 tons of mango per season,” said Shamim. He also said the method enhances fruit quality and ensures that mangoes remain within easy reach for harvesting.

The benefits of UHD technique have already started to manifest, each maund (40-45kg) of mangoes fetches a reasonable price of BDT 8,000 – 10,000 through B2B marketing. Shamim said “we used to sell each maund (nearly 52kgs) of mixed quality mangoes in the local market at a price range of BDT 5,000-6,000 and now we are getting BDT 3,000-4,000 extra in the B2B markets with more accurate measurement of each maund.” He has earned an additional income of BDT 350,000 or CHF 3,300 from his land by adopting the UHD method for the last couple of years. “This farming method is unrivalled in terms of achieving higher yields within a shorter time and maximizing land use efficiency,” he added.

Encouraged by the promising results, the mango association – comprised of some 500 mango growers of the area – developed 10 demo plots within the municipality to showcase the innovative gardening technique.  Around 200 other farmers in and outside of the municipality have already started to convert their traditional gardens to Ultra High-Density gardening. PRABRIDDHI also ensured the sustainability of the practice by capacitating local farmers, nursery owners, and local officials of the UHD gardening techniques.

The project’s assistance extends beyond technical aspects, encompassing online marketing, branding, and forging market linkages with various companies. PRABRIDDHI connected the Mango Association with 57 e-commerce companies, 6 retail sellers, 4 individual sellers, and 16 Facebook sellers for wider promotion of Shibganj mangoes. Since 2022, this initiative led to the procurement of CHF 1.9 million worth of mangoes from Shibganj by 87 national-level and 1,310 individual buyers.  As a result, 400 farmers enjoyed BDT 44.5 million or CHF 400,000 net additional income due to a decrease in costs (12%), a reduction in post-harvest losses (10%), and an increase in price associated with online marketing and branding (33%). “This support has enabled us to not only market and sell mangoes online locally but nationwide as well, resulting in the sale of 270 tons of premium quality mangoes in 2023 alone. Beyond merely creating connections, the mango farmers gained valuable insights into content creation, advertising strategies, and other online marketing techniques,” said Shamim.

With UHD mango production in Shibganj on the rise, competition is becoming fiercer, leading to concerns about potential wastage. “Since there is more competition, we have been looking for alternative options within the mango sector to survive in the market,” added Shamim. The association contacted PRABRIDDHI seeking assistance for product diversification within the mango sector. Later, PRABRIDDHI organised an exposure visit to Thailand, where a group of mango farmers from the association delved into innovative mango processing techniques, continues Shamim. “During our visit to Thailand, we were introduced to methods of utilising surplus mangoes to create diverse products such as dried mangoes, flat-skinned mangoes, and spiced mangoes—a concept entirely new to us.” 

Inspired by the Thailand experiences, Shamim and other mango farmers are now aiming to leverage this newfound knowledge to diversify the product range to cope up with the competitive market. Shamim and other mango farmers have been exploring ways to produce dried mangos. They identified the desired quality of the dried mango could only be achieved through using improved machinery that is designed for producing delicate items. Like every time, he contacted PRABRIDDHI seeking market linkage assistance as the project is being working with the light engineering sector in other municipalities. PRABRIDDHI, then, facilitated synergy between the light engineering factories of Jashore and the mango association to develop a prototype machine for producing high quality dried mango. “We have designed the prototype and got positive results. Based on that, the factory owners developed a full-fledged machine –

which we were able to procure because of the synergy. Now we are thrilled to start making mango products next year,” said Shamim.

“These products will have a huge demand as our consumers are already familiar with such types of processed mangos. At the same time, this new venture will create new employment opportunities and generate more income, especially for women as there are little scope for them to work in the mango gardens”, added a hopeful Shamim with a big smile on his face.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How Does It Work? Play Video

Get Smart, Stay Connected

Your Municipality Digest Awaits!

Unlock the latest in local living—events, updates, and services, all in one sleek newsletter. Subscribe and transform how you engage with your community. Your next local insight is just an email away!

You have been successfully Subscribed! Ops! Something went wrong, please try again.