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Govt looking to export surplus potato: Minister

FE Report | May 04, 2018 00:00:00

Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury said the government has taken an initiative to export surplus potato for the benefits of farmers.

"We are trying to export the surplus production of potato so that the growers can earn a good profit," she said while inaugurating the 'DCCI Agro Tech 2018' at the International Convention City Bashundhara in the capital on Thursday.

The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) in association with USAID's Agriculture Value Chain (AVC) Project organised the two-day fair.

The agriculture minister said that about 12 million (1.2 crore) tonnes of potatoes were produced this year against the demand for six million tonnes in the country.

The agro-based economy has made great strides recently, she added.

The minister also said that steps have been taken to cultivate saline-tolerant jute in the country soon.

She urged the private sector to diversify agro-processing activity. "We have no other options but to diversify our agro-products to boost export in this sector," she said.

The minister said the country has regained its past glory of jute since the scientists of Bangladesh have decoded the genome sequence of jute and now the IPR of jute belongs to Bangladesh.

"From jute we will not only be able to get traditional sacks and pulp, we can also get more through extensive research by BCSIR and Jute Research Institute so that jute can be used for textile sector as well," she added.

In his welcome address, DCCI president Abul Kasem Khan said that the agriculture sector has made significant contributions to poverty alleviation, employment generation and supply of raw materials to the industry.

He also stressed the need for use of modern technology, quality seeds and fertiliser and the diversification of agricultural production.

He urged the government to provide subsidy for the agricultural sector.

"We have to develop skills of farmers, agro entrepreneurs, producers, importers, exporters and researchers for achieving the export target of US$ 1.0 billion by the year 2021 form this sector," he said.

He also urged the government to formulate 'Jute Pulp Paper Act'.

Contribution of agro-processing industry to our GDP (gross domestic product) was only 2.0 per cent and investment in agro-based industry in the export processing zones (EPZs) was only $4.09 million in 2017, according to DCCI.

Secretary of the ministry of science and technology Md Anwar Hossain, senior vice-president of DCCI Kamrul Islam, vice-president Riyadh Hossain, and DCCI directors Akber Hakim, Andaleeb Hasan, Hossain A Sikder, Humayun Rashid, Imran Ahmed, Kh. Rashedul Ahsan, Mamun Akbar, Mohammad Bashir Uddin, SM Zillur Rahman, Waqar Ahmad Chowdhury and former presidents of the trade body Asif Ibrahim and Md Sabur Khan were also present at the


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