Jashore Correspondent
“The US government has excellent commercial and financial relations with Bangladesh. Now, we want to give more importance to the agricultural sector.”
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller came up with the information after visiting different nurseries to see flower cultivation at Godkhali and Panisara areas under Jhikargachchha upazila in Jashore on Monday morning.
Miller said Bangladesh has a $1.5 billion annual flower market which would expand year by year, creating a golden opportunity of exporting the flowers abroad.
Observing that the country’s women are especially interested in flower cultivation, the US ambassador said, “USAID is working for the development of flower cultivators.” A 20-member US delegation led by the ambassador reached Gadkhali in Jashore around 9:00am Monday.
At first, he visited different flower sheds along with his wife Michelle.
After that he took part in a views-exchange meeting with flower cultivators. The farmers shared various problems they face in flower cultivation and asked for the assistance of the US government in resolving those issues. In response, Miller also assured them of his cooperation standing beside them.
Private sector adviser to USAID Anuruddhya Roy who accompanied Miller during the visit told the Bangladesh Post that USAID is already deeply involved in flower sector of Bangladesh, working on introducing developed agricultural method and production of quality flowers. He said due to our involvement productivity of flowers have increased by 150 percent.
Informing that USAID have contributed to building the first flower store of Bangladesh in Panisara, Anuruddhya said, “In near future, we expect to get involved in other aspects of flower sector like packaging, grading and export potentiality.”
According to experts, there is huge opportunity in the export market as the production cost in Bangladesh is lower compared to other flower-exporting countries. As of now, flowers are being cultivated in nearly 10,000 hectares of land in 23 districts of the country.
Flower and foliage farming has expanded into Jashore, Jhenidah, Magura, Rangpur, Bogra, Dhaka, Gazipur and Manikganj districts.
Currently, more than 25,000 families are engaged in cultivating flowers and 200,000 people are directly and indirectly dependent on this sector.
Due to rise of flower uses, the number of flower shops in the capital also has seen a rise and as of now there are about 500 shops in the capital. Shahbagh is the largest flower market in the capital, which remains very busy every time of the day.
According to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data, in 2016-17 fiscal year, Bangladesh exported cut flowers, leaves, trees, plants, bulbs, roots of $86,000, up 10.26%, which was $78,000 in the previous year.