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The government has taken significant initiatives to boost the country’s agro- economy and bring efficiency in the firm sector by enhancing export of processed agro-food. There is high demand for processed food products in different countries of the world. Even in China and Japan, the demand is increasing rapidly. But it is discomforting to note that we do not have adequate infrastructure facility to process our agro produce, hence, the food processing industry has not been able to harness its full potential. Therefore, it is high time for the authorities concerned to focus on the food processing sector and build necessary infrastructure to get the most from the sector.
Reportedly, the Ministry of Commerce has already started working to develop a roadmap to enhance the growth of this sector. It may be mentioned that last year the government formed a National Task Force to counter the challenges of the food processing industry. We believe that by providing required facilities to entrepreneurs, we can help enhance this emerging sector within a short time.
It is possible to export all types of agro-food products through processing and by increasing the investment in the agricultural sector. Under the ‘Ready to Eat’ category, export of processed foods from winter vegetables to the country’s seasonal fruits like mango and jackfruit will be exported abroad. Also, to identify and overcome the challenges in food processing, the government has taken various initiatives. At present, under ready-to-eat category, processed foods are exported to 140 countries. It is known that international market of ready-to-eat products is about 70 billion dollars.
In contrast, the export revenues from ready- to-eat products are very small in Bangladesh.
Therefore, it is good news that in order to grab the export market, the government has encouraged private sectors to invest further. Also, to boost the agricultural economy, the government has planned to double the production of agro-food by 2030. On the other hand, besides importing processed agro-food, foreign entrepreneurs have shown their interest to invest in this sector. Already, Investors from Poland have expressed their interest in investing in agricultural food processing industries.
We believe that by ensuring proper use of seasonal agricultural produce, we can increase the export earnings from this emerging sector. In this regard, we urge the government to give emphasis on the investors’ policy support and transfer of technology. Also authorities concerned should extend necessary cooperation to the entrepreneurs involved with food processing industry.