RAJSHAHI, July 1: For the first time in the region, the growers have started using fruit bagging technology in guava orchards in Rajshahi and Chapainawabgonj commercially during the current pre-harvest season to protect the cash crop from pest attack besides getting quality yield.
Earlier, they have used the modern technology in some of the mango orchards attaining significant success in this regard.
According to the sources of Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), there are huge guava trees of different ages and varieties on some two lakh hectares in the region with creation of many more new more orchards and increased guava farming in the homesteads in recent years.
If the bags were used substantially, use of harmful chemical insecticides and pesticides could be reduced to a greater extent on the huge trees. Thereby, the technology will open up a new door of exporting mango of the two districts, famous for the fruit, to various foreign markets.
Scientists of Regional Horticulture Research Center (RHRC) in Chapainawabgonj have released the technology among the growers this year after attaining a remarkable success in mango this year.
Already, a private organization procured the specialized bags from China for supplying to the farmers at a cost of Tk 3-4 per bag.
Referring to his research findings Dr Saraf Uddin, Senior Scientific Officer of RHRC, told the local journalists that bagged fruits had high recovery of marketable fruits over the non-bagged ones.
Imported newspaper, thin waxy magazines and thick waxy magazines resulted in fruits having the highest marketable yields in different seasons.
Brown paper bags and local newspaper with lorsban-impregnated plastic strips were also found promising. However, results showed that the highest material and labor cost per 100 fruits was recorded on brown bag materials.
Besides, the materials can help reduce insect and disease damage and minimize quality defects of mango fruits. However, source and availability of these materials need to be considered. Brown paper bags and local newspapers are recommended only during dry season since these materials are easily destroyed during rainy days.
Dr Safar says pre-harvest fruit bagging is a useful approach for plant protection and improved post-harvest fruit quality as bagging of guava fruits for lower insect and disease damage in fruits
This is a well-known practice in many of the fruit-producing countries but information is lacking on its effects on the external and internal characteristics of the fruits, the appropriate bagging materials and the economics of its adoption.
Bagging with different paper materials resulted in fruits with lower insect and disease damage and minimized fruits quality defects. Thick waxy magazine significantly prevented fruit fly damage with infestation ranging from zero to less than one percent.
Dr Alim Uddin, Principal Scientific Officer of Fruit Research Station in Rajshahi, says guava is one of the commercially important fruit crops in the region but the important cash crop is prone to attacks of insect pests and diseases in all stages of development. In this field, the technology has created a high hope among the growers and traders towards removing the menace.
One management practice which can help address these problems is fruit bagging because it is another way of preventing contact between the host and insects and diseases as well as minimize mechanical injuries thus improving quality.
The initiative aimed to determine which of the bagging materials and forms gave the best quality of fruits, determine the effect of the bagging materials and forms on pest incidence and find out which of the bagging materials and forms gave the highest yield and net income.
If the technology was used, there will be no spot on guava in the bagged ones. Besides, the fruit could be protected from all kinds of diseases and pests that will boost the volume of exportable guava.
Apart from this, as the market price of the bagged guava is lucrative the growers can sell their produce in high price of at least Taka 600 per mounds. ?BSS