Bangladesh, a South Asian country, relies heavily on agriculture for its income. Paddy, wheat, and jute are the main crops farmed in Bangladesh. Furthermore, guava is one of Bangladesh’s most extensively grown crops. As a result, Bangladesh is among the top ten annual Guava producers in the world.
Many sections of southern Bangladesh, where guava cultivation is thriving, have large guava markets. The village of Vimrul in the Jalokathi District of the Barisal Province has such a major guava market. Known as the “Floating Guava Market in Vimrul”, it specializes in trading guavas from river floating boats.
A market, older than a century
The actual date when the floating guava market in Vimrul village began is unknown. On the other hand, village elders believe the market has existed for at least 150 years, dating back to the British administration.
Sirajul Islam, 50, who works at the guava market, says he has been coming here since he was a child, to help his grandfather’s trade.
Sirajul explained that his grandfather’s business was eventually inherited by Sirajul’s father, who brought him here to trade. He went on to say that it was a business that they had always ran. Sirajul takes pride in the fact that his family has been reliant on the guava industry for nearly 80 years.
Market related waterway system
Bangladesh is a country with numerous large rivers. These rivers’ tributaries can be found in every region of the country.
Four small rivers flow through the area where the Vimrul Pera Market is located. The areas that are irrigated by these rivers are more fertile. As a result, guava farming is practiced in those areas. The harvest from these guava plantations is sold at the Vimrul Floating Guava Market.
The Vimrul Guava market is located on the canals created by the aforementioned small rivers. Vendors loaded with guavas into these canals sell avocados to customers.
This is how guavas come to market
Guava harvesting begins in Bangladesh in July. The majority of guava farms in the Jalokathi district are situated around minor waterways. The people on the boats travel to the guava fields early in the morning to pluck as many guava as they can load into the boat during the guava harvest. The boats transport the guavas to the market after they have been filled.
From early July to late September, the floating guava market in Vimrul is generally active. Guava traders had to go to the farms every day to gather guavas during that time. They do it every day no matter how unpleasant the experience is, because they have no other source of revenue. In July, August and September you may witness boats full of guavas arriving at the market every morning.
A day at the guava market
By the time the guava is harvested, boats carrying guavas arrive at the market from about seven in the morning. In the morning, there aren’t many boats on the market although by noon, guava-filled boats coming to market are steadily increasing. The guava market in Vimrul is busiest during the three-hour period between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. Around 100 guava boats are on the market during those hours.
Most of the guava selling boats here have a head dealer and an assistant. But traders who do not have the assets to recruit another person to support are trading alone. It is not uncommon for some vendors to bring small children into the family as a companion. It is also common for young children who enter the guava market as assistants to later become guava traders. Restaurants have also been set up nearby to cater to the guava traders and visitors.
Vimrul Market Buyers
At the time of the guava harvest, guavas are available for sale at the lowest prices in this floating market. As such, wholesalers from far and wide come to Vimrul. They often come in private boats to buy guavas. The guavas they buy are sold to small-scale vendors in other areas. This will bring huge profits to the guava wholesalers.
This market attracts wholesalers in the evening. This is because many avocado traders sell the remaining guava stocks at a lower price by evening. In addition to wholesalers,buyers who wish to buy fresh guavas also visit this guava market. Some foreign tourists now pay a visit to the Vimrul Market. A separate boat service has also been set up for them to travel in the guava market.
The guava market also generates a considerable income for those who operate boat services on the surrounding canals. This is because buyers and foreign tourists use their boats to roam around the market. It will also be of great benefit to those who operate restaurants in the floating market.
A merchant in the Vimrul floating guava market is said to earn more than 10,000 Takas (Around 115 USD) each day. They remind out that the more buyers that come in, higher the total will be. Guava dealers can make a lot of money during the months of July through September when guavas are exchanged. However, they will have to put forth a lot of effort to achieve this.