Agartala: Tripura Chief Minister Dr Manik Saha on Thursday sent 750 kilograms of Kew Pineapple for Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, keeping the spirit of fruit diplomacy alive with the neighbouring country.
This is the second time in four years that the Tripura government sent the state’s widely popular crop to Bangladesh as a goodwill gesture. This is, however, the first time such a big quantity of pineapple was gifted to Bangladesh after Dr Saha assumed charge of the top office.
Horticulture department of Tripura, the nodal department for research and promotion of Pineapple and other key fruit crops of the state, facilitated the handing over ceremony at Integrated Check Post (ICP) in Akhaura.
The Kew variety of pineapple is very popular in the domestic market and it was officially exported to Bangladesh previously but due to Bangladesh’s push for pineapple cultivation, some restrictions were capped after 2018.
Speaking on the issue, Assistant Director Tripura Horticulture Department Dr Dipak Baidya said, “We are sending 100 caches of Kew Pineapple weighing 750 kilograms net. The gross weight is around 900 kilograms. Each pineapple filled in the boxes weighs 1.25 kgs and is the best harvest we have tried so far. It’s our CM’s wish to send the pineapple to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.”
On the quality, he said, the Kew Pineapple is among the two best pineapples grown in Tripura. It is heavier than the “Queen Variety” but tastes similar.
“We have been exporting this to countries like Dubai and Qatar and get a very good response. It has great demand in local markets. After the state government took the initiative to promote the crop, the farmer’s share in producers’ rupee increased significantly, which indicates farmers are fetching higher prices,” he added.
On being asked whether steps are being taken to export pineapple to Bangladesh commercially, Dr Baidya said, “Certainly, such a gesture will earn the crop extra popularity. Commercially, we are not sending it right now. Till 2018, pineapple used to be exported to Bangladesh but from 2019 onwards it has been restricted because Bangladesh is growing its own pineapple. However, we are trying and whenever we get a chance we shall explore the resumption of the trade”.
Officials of Bangladesh High Commission, Integrated Check Post and Horticulture Department were also present during the event. It is also worthy to be mentioned here that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gifted 800 kgs of “Amrapali” Mango filled in 160 cartons to Chief Minister Dr Manik Saha and other dignitaries of the state on June 20. The unique way of sharing greetings between the regions could be seen as a step forward in the longstanding camaraderie between the countries.
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