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Govt 'focuses' on agro processing

Small entrepreneurs not getting fair price, says DCCI chief

FE REPORT | November 09, 2020 00:00:00

The government is laying emphasis on agro processing industries to boost commercial agriculture aiming to make farming profitable, agriculture minister Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque told a webinar on Sunday.

The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) organised the webinar styled 'Value Chain: In the time of Covid-19'. Dr Razzaque joined the event as the chief guest and DCCI president Shams Mahmud delivered the welcome speech.

The DCCI president said the small entrepreneurs of fish, poultry and dairy sectors could not be engaged largely in the value chain. They are deprived of fair price, he mentioned.

In his speech, Dr Razzaque observed that in the value chain farmers hardly could make any profits. He said, to benefit the farmers, the government has taken multiple key initiatives to make farming more commercial.

Boosting agro processing industries, supplying quality products and raising exports of value added products are some key initiatives to make a modern value chain in a pandemic period, he stated.

He said the government has been assisting the farmers in growing non-traditional but profitable crops like coffee, cashew, dragon fruits, malta, tea, etc.

Many cashew nut processing plants have been set up in the country and the government has reduced its import duty to only 5.9-7.0 per cent from 90 per cent earlier, he mentioned.

The minister informed that an international accredited laboratory for the country's agro processing industry will be set up on 2.0 acres of land at Purbachol in the capital soon.

Mr Mahmud said the country has witnessed a tremendous development in fish, poultry and dairy production.

"But the small entrepreneurs of these sectors could not be engaged largely in the value chain. They are deprived of fair price", he added.

He called for establishing specialised technology-based modern supply chain infrastructure, ensuring Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) in the farms, providing fiscal incentives and adequate policy supports to the farmers and strengthening the state-run regulator, Bangladesh Standardisation and Testing Institute (BSTI).

To survive in the competitive market, the DCCI chief also recommended for market research and capacity building of private sector producers and processors.

Professor Dr M Burhan Uddin of the Department of Food Technology and Rural Industries, Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU), presented the keynote while Monzur Morshed Ahmed, member of Bangladesh Food Safety Authority, Saleh Ahmed, chairman of Kernal Foundation, Md Iqtadul Hoque, general secretary of Bangladesh Agro Processors' Association (BAPA), Uzma Chowdhury, director (Finance) of PRAN-RFL Group, Malik Talha Ismail Bari, director of Unimart-United Group, NKA Mobin, senior vice-president of the DCCI, also addressed the programme.

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