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Bangladesh agriculture & food industries


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Bangladesh to export cashew nuts to UAE

In 2010, India became the first country to import raw cashew nuts from Bangladesh

Chattogram's GreenGrain Cashew Processing Industry signed a deal for exporting cashew nuts to the UAE.

As Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzak visited GreenGrain Cashew's factory on Sunday, its owner Shakil Ahmed handed over a copy of the agreement paper to him.  
 
The company made a deal of exporting 3,500 kilograms of nuts with SG International, Dubai, on January 24 this year. 

In 2010, India became the first country to import raw cashew nuts from Bangladesh, said Shakil.

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Coca-Cola to invest $200m in Bangladesh over 5 years

Published: 03 Mar 2020 04:44 PM BdST Updated: 03 Mar 2020 04:44 PM BdST

The Coca-Cola system plans to invest $200 million in Bangladesh over the next five years.

James Quincey, chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company, announced the additional investment on Tuesday. He also announced the economic empowerment of 100,000 women by 2020.

“We have an enduring belief that our business is only as sustainable as the communities in which we operate, that means for our business to grow sustainably, our communities must grow also,” Quincey said.

In 2015, Coca-Cola launched the first Women Business Centres, a unique model that supports rural Bangladeshi women entrepreneurs by proving skill development and financial assistance support. Each centre provides training, goods and services to hundreds of women throughout their communities.
As of now, 240 centres or sub-centres are operating and empowering over 70,000 women across Bangladesh. By the end of 2020, over 100,000 Bangladeshi women and their families will benefit from the centres, according to Coca-Cola.

The project is currently active in Jamalpur, Khulna and Bagerhat districts.

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Coca-Cola to invest $200 million in Bangladesh

The investment from Coca-Cola is a recognition of economic growth of Bangladesh, says its CEO

Beverage giant Coca-Cola will invest $200 million in Bangladesh over next five years, said its global Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James Quincey.

The investment from Coca-Cola is recognition of economic growth of Bangladesh, and the company is committed to grow its business here in a sustainable manner, he told a press briefing in the capital during his maiden visit in Bangladesh on Tuesday.

In its long journey in Bangladesh since 1950s, Coca-Cola has invested $100 million that helped directly employing over 1,000 local people and more than 13,000 indirectly.

Alongside two partner bottlers, Coca-Cola itself opened a state of the art bottling plant in Bhaluka, Mymensingh few years ago.

Coco-Cola arranged their Chairman's visit on an occasion to celebrate the milestone of helping 70,000 women grow as small and medium entrepreneurs in Bangladesh.

The company, in partnership with international development charity - United Purpose, began its Women Business Centers (WBC) model for that in 2015 and is looking to see the number of rural women entrepreneurs under the program to cross 1lakh this year.

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07:16 PM, July 13, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 08:23 PM, July 13, 2020

Pineapple chips in Rangamati hills: An experiment with bright prospects

Anvil Chakma

pineapple_chips_factory_photo_1.jpg?itok

Pineapple chips are now being processed experimentally for the first time in Naniarchar upazila of Rangamati, a region famous for cultivation of the juicy fruit. No chemicals are added to the fruit to produce the chips. Photo: Anvil Chakma

Soon it may be time to try pineapple chips, made in Bangladesh!

Pineapple chips are now being processed experimentally for the first time in Naniarchar upazila of Rangamati, a region famous for cultivation of the juicy fruit.

Different varieties of pineapples are cultivated in the local hills. Among those, 'Honey Queen' is a famous one. It looks beautiful and tastes delicious, and has been considered for this experimental project by the Department of Agricultural Extension.

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Soon it may be time to try pineapple chips, made in Bangladesh! Photo: Anvil Chakma

DAE's 'Development of Nutrition through Year-round Fruit Production' project is producing the chips at a fruit processing centre in the upazila's Dak Bungalow area.

Every year, a large quantity of pineapple is cultivated in the district and supplied across the country after meeting the local demand. Still, some fruits rot and are wasted if those are not sold in time, as pineapple has a short shelf life, local cultivators said.

There has long been demand for processing pineapple to produce chips and juice to prevent wastage, promote diversity in the fruit's commercial prospect, and round the year consumption.  

In Rangamati, pineapple is cultivated across 2,130 hectares of land with a production target of 55,835 tonnes. The fruit is cultivated on 1,200 hectares of land in Naniarchar upazila alone. Therefore, Naniarchar Horticulture Centre took the initiative to prevent wastage of the crop and help farmers get better return from their produce, said Mohammad Shafiqul Islam, deputy director of the horticulture centre.

The chips processing factory has been launched on a trial basis with the aim of processing pineapple and selling it all year round and thereby benefiting the farmers, the official said.

No chemicals are added to the fruit to produce the chips, he added.

pineapple_chips_factory_photo_3.jpg?itok

The chips processing factory has been launched on a trial basis with the aim of processing pineapple and selling it all year round and thereby benefiting the farmers. Photo: Anvil Chakma

"Having a pineapple chips factory in our district is good news for farmers like us. Hopefully the concerned authorities will buy pineapple from our gardens to make these chips and ensure fair price for our produce," said Sushanta Chakma, a pineapple farmer in Burighat area of the upazila.

The pineapple factory has been opened in Naniarchar as a pilot project and exhibition centre and not for commercial production. Since there is huge production of pineapple in this area, the government as well as individuals have taken initiative to open such chips factory here, said Mehdi Masud, director of the project.

If successful, the product will be marketed commercially across the country, he added.

 

https://www.thedailystar.net/pineapple-chips-in-rangamati-hills-experiment-bright-prospects-1929753

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12:00 AM, October 01, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:31 AM, October 01, 2020

Delta Agrofood to invest Tk 1,200cr in soy, flour production

Jagaran Chakma

Delta Agrofood Industries, a joint venture of SEACOM and Samuda, is set to invest Tk 1,200 crore in the production of various soy and wheat products with an aim to meet the country's growing demand for healthier consumer goods.

Under the fresh investment, Delta Agrofood will establish a new factory to produce both crude and refined soyabean oil, soybean cake, soya milk and flour.

"SEACOM decided to undertake this initiative as wheat has become the second most important food item in the country after rice," said Mohammed Amirul Haque, managing director of SEACOM.

"Since it is a basic industry for any country, we invested in wheat production with a view to develop the agro sector," he added.

As per a market assessment by Delta Agrofood, the domestic demand for wheat has more than doubled over the past six years due to changing food habits and increased export of baked goods.

This led to a 116 per cent rise in imports as local cultivation fails to meet the country's needs despite having witnessed many significant changes in production, industry insiders said.

Besides, whole grains are rapidly gaining popularity as a healthy alternative to traditional cereals in the face of a rising trend of diabetes and obesity, they added.

Statistically, the daily consumption of wheat has gone up by about 42 per cent from 72 grammes in fiscal 2014-15 to 125 grammes at present, according to the Directorate General of Food and various traders.

The country's annual demand for the cereal currently stands at around 77 lakh tonnes, 85 per cent of which is met through imports, as per data from the National Board of Revenue and Department of Agricultural Extension.

Similarly, the use of soybean oil and soybean cake has increased significantly over the years.

Soybean oil is now the preferred cooking medium in Bangladesh while soybean cake is used as animal feed in the fish and poultry farming industries.

The project, 40 per cent of which is being financed by Pubali Bank, will be developed across a 35-acre plot in Saidpur of Narayanganj. According to SEACOM's managing director, it was a strategic location owing to the presence of a strong distribution channel.

"We will be able to create around 1,200 jobs with the new production facility. Commercial production is expected to start by end of this year," Haque said.

The per capita consumption of soybean oil in Bangladesh is currently 9.2 litres per annum, which is far below the global average of 25.2 litres.

However, this figure continues to rise in line with peoples' increasing purchasing power, as per a market analysis by LightCastle Partners.

Against this backdrop, Delta Agrofood sees the potential to do well in the business in the coming days even though there are already a number of market players present in the country.

In its analysis, LightCastle also said the demand for edible oil in developing countries was set to surpass their developed counterparts within the next decade.

The business management firm pointed out the markets of China, India and Bangladesh as examples of places where the demand for edible oil was growing.

Just 30 year ago, the country's entire demand for soybean oil was met through imports but eventually, some entrepreneurs started to refine imported crude soybean oil to locally produce edible oil, said SM Nashir Uddin, general manager of Delta Agrofood.

Now though, some entrepreneurs produce the finished product wholly through local sourcing without making any import, he added.

According to the general manager, just 20 litres of edible oil can be produced from 100 kilogrammes of soybean seed while the leftover soybean cake can be used as food for fish or poultry. 

 

https://www.thedailystar.net/business/news/delta-agrofood-invest-tk-1200cr-soy-flour-production-1970401

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https://www.tbsnews.net/economy/lockdown-leaves-food-processing-industries-limping-280021

Shawkat Ali

28 July, 2021, 12:00 pm

Last modified: 28 July, 2021, 12:16 pm

Lockdown leaves food processing industries limping 

graph_1.jpg?itok=dL18PiUl&timestamp=1627

 

The food processing industry is continuing production amid the strictest lockdown over the pandemic now in place, but it is facing obstacles in marketing products at home and abroad, people involved in the sector have said.

Transportation cost and production cost have increased, but sales of products in the local market have declined. As a result, some companies are reducing their production, which is having an impact on local raw material suppliers.

According to a number of companies in this industry, the food processing factories are operating amid the lockdown, but transporting their products to shops by small vehicles has become very difficult.

Sometimes the law enforcers bar small vans, carrying goods, for a long time, which makes them unable to enter the designated areas. This is hampering the marketing of processed food.

Jasim Uddin, chief operating officer (Brand and Marketing) of Bashundhara, told The Business Standard, "Those responsible for delivering goods to shops are being harassed."

He said the law enforcers sometimes do not allow goods-laden vans to move and the company's main office has to make phone calls to clear the halted vehicles. As a result, delivery of goods on time is not possible.

"If there is any problem in the mills, local and foreign technicians are needed, but it is not possible to solve the problems quickly amid the lockdown. All in all, production is not going to be as usual," he added.

The processed food exporters are facing even more severe problems as they cannot export goods on time due to ship and container congestions. Those who are able to ship the goods have to pay rents several times higher compared to normal times.

Industry insiders said the cost of transporting goods inside the country has doubled. On the other hand, containers are not available for export despite several times higher rent being paid.

Normally, shipping a 20-foot container to Dubai would cost $300-350, which has currently increased to $1,100, said sources.

Besides, the price of raw materials has increased by 20-25% on average. This has resulted in increased production cost, but product prices have not increased accordingly, people involved in the sector have said.

They also said demand for their products has declined due to restrictions on people's movement and the limited time during which shops are kept open.

The food processing companies have reduced production due to the difficulties in marketing goods at the local and international levels. Production of a number of products, like milk and dairy products, has dropped by almost half compared to normal times.

Md Mosleh Uddin, chief operating officer, Dairy, Akij Food and Beverage Ltd, told TBS, "Grocery shops have reduced the milk and dairy products they keep because they do not know how long they can keep the stores open. People's movement is also limited. So, we are producing goods, but we cannot sell them much. As a result, we have to reduce production by half."

"If we reduce production, it will have a direct impact on farmers, because they cannot stop producing milk," he said.

Pran RFL Group Director (Marketing) Kamruzzaman Kamal told TBS the company has been facing more difficulties in exporting goods abroad than in marketing at home. The firm has to spend at least four times more than the usual cost for exporting products. Despite the hike in cost, containers are not available and they cannot ship their goods. 

Opening packaging industry essential for food processing

Keeping the packaging industry closed amid the lockdown has posed another problem for the food processing industry. These factories make different types of packets, cartoons and labels. Some big companies have a large volume of these in stock, but small and medium enterprises do not have that. If these backward linkage factories are not opened soon, the food processing companies will have to stop marketing goods for lack of packaging.

Syed Mohammad Shoaib Hassan, vice-president of the Bangladesh Agro-Processors Association, told TBS, "If the packaging industry remains closed during the lockdown, there will be severe problems because most companies have very little stock of packaging material."

"We are already facing difficulties in providing good quality cartons for export products. If the packaging is not good, there will be problems in the quality of the product, which will create further problems for us in the future. For all these reasons, it is necessary to reopen the packaging industry."

Meanwhile, there is no obstacle in transporting vegetables, fish, meat and eggs. However, due to the increase in transport cost, consumers have to buy these products at higher prices.

Mostafa Kamal, a vegetable seller in Karwan Bazar, said the goods have to be brought to Dhaka at a cost which is almost double than the normal. This definitely will have an effect on the prices of products. 

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6 minutes ago, Joel Ahmed said:

https://www.tbsnews.net/economy/tax-break-incentives-boost-agro-exports-billion-dollars-281386

Tax break, incentives boost agro exports to billion dollars

The sector enjoys tax holidays and a flat 20% cash incentive on exports of agro products and processed food

agro_export_0.jpg?itok=yPxZD3NS&timestam

 

Agro products exports have registered strong growth in recent times, hitting the $1 billion mark in FY21, buoyed by an increased consumption of processed food as consumers holed up at homes globally during the pandemic.

The sector is now striding towards gaining a strong foothold in the world of exports, riding on tax breaks and cash incentives and improved quality of products.

The sector enjoys tax holidays and a flat 20% cash incentive on exports of agro products and processed food. 

Industry insiders say the attractive cash incentive has contributed significantly to a big boost in agro-product exports. 

The government is offering a tax break for the agriculture industry from the very beginning as per the Industrial Policy 2005 and 2010. Every year such a facility gets extended to facilitate diversification of products and bring new investment, an official at the National Board of Revenue (NBR) told The Business Standard, seeking anonymity.

The industry has got another 10-year tax holiday from the current fiscal year, the NBR official added. 

Md Shafiqur Rahman Bhuiyan, president of the Bangladesh Auto Biscuits & Bread Manufacturers Association, told TBS that the government is also formulating a policy for the agro-processing industry. There will be significant investment in the sector when it comes into effect and the industry will also gain momentum.  

There will be a bunch of incentives to the industry shortly. According to the draft agro-food processing industry policy 2021, the government will provide capital assistance at nominal interest rates, interest subsidies, tax exemption on imports of capital machinery, research incentives, laboratory grants, waiver of income tax, and skilled workers to attract investments in the agro-food processing sector.

The draft policy calls for ensuring $5 billion foreign investment over the next five years. It is expected to create new employment opportunities for one lakh people.

Market leaders say Bangladeshi entrepreneurs are now sending agro products to about 144 countries despite disruptions in production and supply chain caused by the pandemic.

The export of dry food such as biscuits, chanachur, cakes, noodles, potato crackers and nuts clocked almost a 10 time growth in as many years. In FY21, exports of this category bagged $283.38 million, while it was only $29.37 million ten years ago, according to the Export Promotion Bureau of Bangladesh (EPB) data.

The major export destinations for Bangladeshi agro products are the European Union, the United States, the Middle East and Gulf countries. Bangladeshi and South Asian migrants are the main consumers of such products in those countries.

Shafiqur of the manufacturers association said, "We have been working for a long time to improve our skills and are now able to produce quality products. As a result, both domestic and foreign markets are expanding."

Exports of spices have also increased to $43.29 million in FY21, which was only $9 million 10 years ago. There is now no doubt about the quality of Bangladeshi spices, leading to a gradual expansion of the market globally.

Besides, exports of various other products such as tea, juice, jam, jelly and fruits have seen growth. 

According to the Bangladesh Agro-processors Association (Bapa), processed food exports alone have reached $514 million this year from $400 million the previous year.

Syed Mohammad Shoaib Hassan, vice-president of Bapa, told TBS, "Despite many developments in the agro-processing sector, few entrepreneurs from the SMEs group made any notable progress in the last five to seven years lacking easy access to loans. Those who invest in this sector should be given incentives," he added.

According to Bapa sources, India is the largest export destination for processed food. There is a huge demand for Bangladeshi products in the neighbouring country. Although there are some problems in the supply chain due to the pandemic, exports have increased. Besides, exports to different countries of the Middle East, Europe and Africa are also on the rise.

Pran Group alone exported products worth $341 million, out of $1 billion earnings from this sector in the previous fiscal year.

Ahsan Khan Chowdhury, chairman and chief executive officer of Pran, said, "It is great to see that we are crossing the $1 billion mark in exports of agricultural and processed agro-products for the first time."

"The sector-wise benefits we are getting will help us move forward gradually by further increasing the supply of our products in various markets across the globe. The government is offering various incentives on exports to encourage diversifying our products," he added.

He also mentioned that Pran Group exports a lot of confectionery products. "We will export tomato based products such as tomato ketchup. We have sent products worth $2 lakh to Somalia, and we are trying to increase that to $2 million."

Ahsan said, "There are opportunities for product diversification in the agro-processing sector. Earlier, we used to export only juice. At present, we are trying to export spices, blended spices, raw chillies, dried chillies, and turmeric. We are constantly trying to enter new markets with new products."

Fresh vegetable export experienced a blip

Meanwhile, exports of vegetables have come down from $164 million to $116 million in FY21. 

Industry insiders say the disruption in the global supply chain during Covid-19 has hurt exports of vegetables. However, the sector has recovered and a lot of vegetables are now being exported to different countries.

Fruit export has also increased a lot this year. Mango is at the top of that list. Most fruits are being exported to the Middle East and Europe.

Agriculturist Manjurul Islam, an adviser to the Bangladesh Fruits, Vegetables and Allied Products Exporters Association, said, "Exports went down due to supply chain disruption during the pandemic. Demand also declined. But it is recovering. That is why exports are also increasing."

According to Bapa, the agricultural sector contributes 13.6% to the country's GDP, while 40.62% of the country's total workforce is employed in the sector. A large part of the sector is the agro-processing industry that is currently contributing 8% to the manufacturing sector.

As per Bapa data, the contribution of the agro-food processing industry to Bangladesh's GDP is more than 1.7%.

The size of the global food and agricultural industry in 2018 was about $8.7 trillion, according to Plunkett Research estimates, which is about 10% of the world's GDP. Global food exports totalled $1.47 trillion in 2017, according to the World Trade Organisation.

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https://www.tbsnews.net/economy/bazaar/noodles-market-growing-rapidly-amid-urbanisation-pandemic-282208

Abbas Uddin Noyon & Shawkat Ali

02 August, 2021, 11:45 am

Last modified: 02 August, 2021, 01:04 pm

Noodles market growing rapidly amid urbanisation, pandemic

Busy work / life changes have greatly raised the market demand for noodles, prompting many local and foreign conglomerates to invest in this sector

noodle_market_booms_infographics_pie-gra

 

The market for noodles – a very popular snack item – has expanded rapidly in Bangladesh in the last few years due to rapid growth and urbanisation. Also with restaurants closed under Covid-19 restrictions, entrepreneurs both here and abroad are keen to explore the market potential for noodles.

The noodle market in Bangladesh is worth around Tk1,000 crore, and it has shown an annual growth rate of about 10% in the last few years. But the growth jumped to around 16% during the pandemic with many people staying home, for the most part, industry insiders told The Business Standard.

Along with the growth in the local market, exports grew too – increasing 25% in  FY2020-21,  year-on-year.

Urbanisation and people's work and lifestyle have brought the boom naturally to the noodles market. Seeing the steady growth in demand, a number of large conglomerates, both local and foreign, have invested in this market, say insiders.

Aside from giants like Nestlé, Cocola, Pran-RFL, Bashundhara, Square, and Ifad, a number of smaller companies have also entered the Bangladeshi noodles market. 

On the matter, Pran-RFL's Director of Marketing, Kamruzzaman Kamal, said, "When people stay home, they tend to snack more. Noodles are a very popular snack item, and it can be prepared quickly.

"This is why the noodles market is booming at this time."

Pran's Mr Noodles is one of the most popular noodle brands in Bangladesh.

There are two types of noodles available in the local market – instant and stick noodles. The demand for instant noodles is higher in the country, as they can be prepared relatively quickly. 60% of all noodles sold in the market are instant noodles.

Some brands of instant noodles come pre-packaged with vegetables, meat, spices and eggs, and people just need to add hot water and its ready to eat. Stick noodles are more cumbersome. They have to be boiled and mixed with vegetables, meat, or eggs, which also have to be cooked before serving.

Nestlé Bangladesh's Maggi is the market leader in the instant noodles category, with a 30% market share.

Nestlé Bangladesh's Corporate Affairs Director Naquib Khan says, "The instant noodle market is growing and Maggi is driving the growth.  Its purpose is to be an ally of consumers in their kitchens, to help them cook tasty and healthy food they love.  

"In the last couple of years, Maggi has launched Maggi Masala Blast, Maggi Fusian Bangkok Sweet Chilli noodles. Masala Blast delivers a very exciting spicy taste to teens and youths, especially those who have grown up with Masala Maggi."

He continued, "Maggi always comes up with exciting new tastes for Bangladeshi consumers. Bangkok Sweet Chilli is a new type of noodle which is very popular in Bangkok. Maggi brought this noodle for food enthusiastic youths of Bangladesh under a new brand called Maggi Fusian."

Aside from Nestlé Bangladesh and Pran-RFL, Cocola also holds a good share of the noodle market in Bangladesh. Bashundhara Group brought their brand of noodles to market recently, and Kolson is also marketing their brand in a bid to boost their market share. 

Collectively, data from noodle companies indicate they sold more than Tk1,000 crore worth of noodles in Bangladesh in 2019, say insiders. 

People had to cut back on going to restaurants during the Covid-19 crisis, which in turn gave popularity to home-cooked food items that can be prepared quickly. Industry insiders say the noodles market will go up by another Tk200 crore by the end of this year.

The Chopstick brand of instant noodles – owned by Square Food & Beverage Ltd – does not have any MSG or tasting salts. 

"We were anxious that schools and colleges closing in the pandemic would adversely impact the noodles market, but instead, our sales have increased," said Parvej Saiful Islam, CFO of the company.

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https://www.thedailystar.net/news/bangladesh/news/red-gold-sparks-hope-2147221

Mamunur Rashid

Sun Aug 8, 2021 12:00 AM

Red Gold sparks hope

Prof Jamal Uddin grows saffron inside greenhouse at Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University

It has a history stretching back millenniums. Emperors have patronised it, poets have romanticised it, monks have used its colour in their robes and worshippers have adored it. Popularly known as "Red Gold", the crimson hued saffron has been used for culinary, medicinal and aesthetic purposes.

Poet Jibanananda Das had compared the stunning colour of saffron with the setting sun of an autumn evening.

Saffron, one of the most prized and covetable condiments on the planet, had never been a major produce of a warm country like Bangladesh as it is mostly cultivated in cold environment.

But a teacher and researcher of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, Dhaka has created a scope for growing the spice in the country.

AFM Jamal Uddin, a professor of horticulture at the university, has managed to flowering saffron plants in a temperature-controlled room. He successfully collected red coloured stigma from the flowers. This stigma, the distal ends of the plant's carpels, is separated from the petals by hand and dried to make saffron spice.

"Saffron cultivation is expensive in its usual habitat -- an open terrain. And producing it in a temperature controlled room is expected to be even more expensive. But the chances of losing a yield is little in this process. And saffron can be harvested multiple times in a year in this method," Jamal Uddin told The Daily Star.

Considering its huge global demand and high price, he said, saffron can be produced commercially in Bangladesh if appropriate support is provided.

The scientific name of saffron is Crocus Sativus. It's a lily herb belonging to the Iridaceae family. The golden spice, which is called zafran in Urdu, kesar in Hindi, has a worldwide fame as an expensive cooking ingredient widely used in a variety of kitchens, starting from the Mughals and lavish hotels.

It is also one of the most revered ingredient used in beauty care. Its distinctive aroma, flavour and colour are also used in dyes and perfumes.

According to industry insiders, more than 90 percent of saffron used in Bangladesh is imported from Iran and the rest from Kashmir, Spain and Morocco.

The reason it's so expensive is that it needs intensive harvesting of tiny stigmas that are extremely delicate and require hand extraction. Here manual labour plays a bigger role than machines.

A large number of crocus flowers is needed to produce a significant amount of saffron. In the international market, each gram of saffron is sold for about $4, meaning each kilogram of the spice costs over Tk 3 lakh.

Jamal Uddin said the popular method of cultivating saffron in wintry countries is to plant it on open terrains.

However, the same method cannot be adopted in Bangladesh, because heavy rainfall can cause the bulbs to rot easily. Also, due to the humidity factor of the soil, even if the plant grows well, the flowers won't bloom as per expectations, he said.

The researcher brought more than 500 saffron bulbs from Japan last year.

"Initially, those were frozen at a specific temperature in order to get them prepared for sowing. Later, they were sown in trays made of plastic and tin and preserved indoors. Finally, flowers bloomed in almost all the plants," Jamal Uddin said.

"Usually, saffron cultivation requires a vast swathe of land, but we have examined that if we adapt the aeroponics procedure, we can produce enough saffron equivalent to the amount grown on a hector of land in a small room. As the plant trays used in this method are arranged vertically, much less space is required," said the researcher.

Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or an aggregate medium.

PRODUCTION OF SAFFRON

Jamal Uddin said each flower usually yields 30 milligrams of saffron, which weighs only around seven milligrams once dried.

Therefore, at least 150 flowers are required to get one gram of saffron and for one kg, 1.50 lakh flowers are required.

Once the bulbs become matured, each plant provides one flower in the first year which rises up to seven or eight in subsequent years.

"In Iran and Kashmir, around two-kg of saffron are being yielded from a hector of land. But it is possible to produce the same amount of saffron in a 100 square feet greenhouse or a temperature-controlled room," said the researcher.

LIMITATIONS

Jamal Uddin said costs and collecting bulbs are the major challenges facing saffron cultivation in Bangladesh.

In order to get one kilogram of saffron, stigmas of around 1.50 lakh flowers are required. For sapling, each bulb costs at least Tk 60, so the cost of 1.50 lakh bulbs would be Tk 9 lakh, he said.

Besides, two air conditioners, lights and a person will be required for monitoring the production round the clock.

He, however, said the cost can be cut by collecting bulbs once and then making seedlings by tissue culture.

"Another benefit of cultivating saffron indoors is that we can get its yield throughout the year," Jamal Uddin said.

He said given the success achieved so far, they can easily go for commercial production if they have a sponsorship.

DEMAND IN BANGLADESH

There is no available data on the amount of saffron being imported to Bangladesh and how many people consume it.

Enayet Ullah, chairman of Wholesale Spice Traders Association, said because of its high price, the number of saffron consumers in Bangladesh is very low.

The import is also less for the same reason, he told this newspaper.

The quality of saffron imported is not high, he said, adding that some people sell the spice by mixing it with lower quality of saffron.

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Sana Ullah Sanu

14 August, 2021, 10:00 am

Last modified: 14 August, 2021, 05:36 pm

Tk50cr fish egg trade in Lakshmipur

About 3,000 kg of fish egg are produced every year in different government and private hatcheries in Lakshmipur

 

Fish egg business has become the means for many people in Lakshmipur to be self-reliant as the district produces egg worth about Tk50 crore every year, according to the local fisheries office.

However, local egg farmers and traders claim that the market is much bigger which exceeds Tk100 crore.

They say around 5,000-7,000 people in the district are employed in this sector in government and non-government hatcheries, fish nurseries and farms.

Lakshmipur Fisheries Office said that last year 63,000 tonnes of fish were produced in the district. Of them, 42,000 tonnes were carp fishes. All these carp fishes were produced from eggs traded in the district.

Mir Shibbir Ahmed is one of the top fish nursery traders in Lakshmipur. In 2010, he set up Ayon Agro Fisheries on three acres of land in Torabganj village of Kamalnagar. Over the past three years, he has transformed his farm into a fish egg nursery. He brings 3-4 days old egg from different hatcheries and sells them when they become 12-15 cm long.

Shibbir sells 10-15 native species and eight species of carp egg. Farmers from other districts also come to his nursery to collect egg.

"I sold about one million carp egg last year. There are 5-6 workers in my nursery. Excluding all expenses, I earn about Tk50,000 per month," he said.

Md Yusuf from Raipur upazila of the district has been involved in the hatchery business for 30 years. He sold 300kg of egg last year despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said, "About 10 million fishes are produced every year from the egg sold from my hatchery. There are six more hatcheries in my area."

Fazr Ali Agro Complex was built on 20 acres of land in Char Mansa village of Sadar upazila. There are 11 big ponds in the complex. About 5-6 lakh eggs are released in these ponds every year. Fazr Ali, the owner of the agro complex, collects these egg from local nurseries. He said that he buys egg worth Tk10 lakh every year.

According to sources, about 3,000 kg of egg is produced every year in different government and private hatcheries in Lakshmipur. About one lakh fish are produced from per kg egg. The price of per kg egg is between Tk2,000 to Tk10,000 depending on the species. Nursery owners collect egg from the hatcheries and after rearing them for some time, sell them to farmers.

Md Shahjahan works as an announcer who uses a loudspeaker to advertise for egg traders. He said, "Farmers come to collect egg after learning the information via the advertisements. The trading season for fish egg goes from April to September."

Md Abdus Salam, a worker of the District Truck Owners' Association, said, "An average of 30 trucks of egg come to Lakshmipur from different districts every day during the monsoon. Many traders come here from other districts to sell egg."

Most of the traders who come here to sell egg are from Cumilla, Chattogram, Chandpur and Laksam. They sell egg worth several crores of taka every season, said Haji Alauddin, a egg trader.

There are two government fish breeding and training centres, nine listed hatcheries and 101 fish nurseries in the district for fish egg production. However, there are at least 500 more fish nurseries in the district outside the official enrollment, said Shibbir Ahmed, a egg trader.

Raipur Fish Breeding and Training Centre is the largest among the 76 government hatcheries in the country.

Wahidur Rahman Majumder, senior scientific officer of the centre, said, "Raipur Fish Breeding Centre produced 1,053 kg of egg and 18 lakh fishes this year. A large portion of the country's carp fish demand is met from Raipur hatchery. The breeding centre has 75 ponds and 11,000 kg of mother fishes. Most of the mother fishes here are collected from Halda and Jamuna rivers."

District Fisheries Officer Billal Hossain said there are 34,125 listed fish farmers and 8,017 hectares of water bodies in Lakshmipur.

Last year, 21,000 tonnes of hilsa fish were also collected from the Meghna River. Besides, shrimp egg worth Tk600 crore is extracted from Meghna every year.

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https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/national/country/tale-of-an-arborist-1629000324

Tale of an arborist

 OUR CORRESPONDENT | Published:  August 15, 2021 10:05:24

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Wasim, an arborist in Kendua upazila of Netrakona district, has now successfully cultivated Baromasi BARI Mango-11 commercially. He is happy to be able to pick mangoes after about a year and a half of planting.

According to sources, the new variety of mango was invented by the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI). This mango tree will bear fruits all the year round. That is why BARI-11 mango has been named as Baromasi mango. This mango variety is 11.3 cm in length and it weighs 300-350 grams.

Anwar Zahid Mallick Wasim, known as a tree lover at Brahmanjat village of Kandiura union in Kendua upazila of Netrakona, took the initiative to cultivate this mango commercially.

Last year, he planted a new variety of BARI-11 mango saplings on about 40 acres of land. After planting the saplings, he started organic mango orchards with the aim of producing safe fruits by eliminating harmful chemical fertilisers, pesticides, hormones etc.

He is selling the mango for Tk 130 per kg. Every morning, people are coming to the garden to buy mangoes. Wasim is known as an arborist in the area. He has Malta orchards, improved BARI-4 mango orchards and lemon orchards.

Moreover, his house is like a fruit garden on about 120 acres of land. He has about 170 species of fruit trees in his garden. Of these, 45 species are mango, 85 jackfruit, 8 blackberry, 6 orange, 5 litchi, 10 guava, 6 dragon, 40 latkan, papaya, betel, rose blackberry, coconut, almond, tangfal, kamranga, arbulai, daphne, chalta, safeda, ashfal, bilambu, grape, pineapple, banana, wood apple, Thai grape, watermelon, jamrul, mango, pomegranate and so on.

Besides, there are medicinal plants like hartaki, bahera, patharkuchi, diaget, aloe vera, pan bilap, tulsi, lajjavati, ulatkambal, alobokera, clove and many other butterflies and medicinal plants. Wasim is the only son of his parents.

After completion of his studies, he set up a business called 'Messrs Mallick Agricultural Center' in Kendua Bazar. He has already gained a good reputation in business. He has been fond of planting fruit trees and farming since childhood.

Wasim said, "A year and a half ago, I cultivated BARI-11 variety of mango on about 40 acres of land. Although the tree is not very big, it has buds and mangoes as expected. I do not use any harmful medicine or fertilizer in my garden. In order to produce safe fruits, we have introduced organic methods in mango orchards. Each mango weighs 200 to 250 grams. I am selling mangoes for Tk 130 to 250 per kg. Mango is in good demand as it is delicious. Every morning people come to the garden to buy mangoes".

He said, "I have planted mango of Bari-4 variety. It was the first fruit this year. Since mangoes are very sweet, I have sold all the mangoes in the garden in 2/3 days’

This time Malta has also done well. I will start selling it after 15/20 days, he added.

His house has 170 varieties of local and foreign fruit trees. He keeps some fruits in his house all the year round.

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Farmer Gani succeeds in rambutan farming

 OUR CORRESPONDENT | Published:  August 17, 2021 09:47:15

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Farmer Usman Gani of Haripur village under Kalmakanda Nazirpur union in Netrakona district benefits from rambutan cultivation.

Rambutan is one of the foreign fruits that are gaining popularity in Bangladesh.

Usman Gani left his job as a labourer 13 months after moving to Malaysia in 1992 and returned home with rambutan fruit's seeds. He now sells the fruit from two trees for over Tk 0.1 million (one lakh) a year. Besides, he is making a profit by selling small seedlings for Tk 3,000 to Tk 3,500.

He hopes to be able to collect about 300 kgs of rambutan from two trees this year as he does every year. He is currently selling the fruit at Tk 400 per kg.

He said, "At present, I have a total of 12 rambutan trees. Moreover, there are more than a hundred foreign and native fruit trees, different varieties of roses, and different species of trees in his orchard. However, my main source of income is rambutan fruit."

He also said, "The fruit looks like litchi. However, it is larger in size than litchi, oval in shape, slightly flattened. Ripe fruits are bright red, orange or yellow in attractive colours. The original source of this fruit is Malaysia and Indonesia. Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Brunei and Sri Lanka produce large quantities of rambutan fruit.

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শিক্ষকতার পাশাপাশি ড্রাগন চাষে সাফল্য

 নয়ন খন্দকার, ঝিনাইদহ

 প্রকাশিত ১১:২২ সকাল আগস্ট ২০, ২০২১

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৫ বিঘা জমিতে পিংক রোজ ড্রাগনের আবাদে খরচ হয়েছে প্রায় ৮ লাখ টাকা। আর বিক্রি করেছেন করেছেন ১০ লাখ টাকার ফল

বাংলাদেশে গত বেশ কয়েক বছর ধরে নানা ধরনের বিদেশি ফল চাষ হচ্ছে। দেশীয় বাজারে এসব ফলের চাহিদা থাকার কারণে অনেকেই ফল চাষের দিকে ঝুঁকছেন। করোনাভাইরাস মহামারিতে অনেকেই কাজ হারিয়ে ফিরেছেন গ্রামে। দেশের বাইরে থেকেও ফিরে এসেছেন অনেক শ্রমিক। তারা ঝুঁকছেন কৃষিকাজে।

আবার অনেকে নিজ পেশার পাশাপাশি চাষ করছেন এসব বিদেশি ফল। তাদেরই একজন ঝিনাইদহের কোটচাঁদপুর উপজেলার কাগমারী গ্রামের হারুনুর রশীদ মুসা। পেশায় মাধ্যমিক বিদ্যালয়ের শিক্ষক। তবে শিক্ষকতার পাশাপাশি তিনি নিজ গ্রামে সুখ্যাতি পেয়েছেন দেশি বিদেশি বিভিন্ন ফলের আবাদ করে। আর মুসার এ অভাবনীয় সাফল্য দেখে এখন গ্রামের অনেকেই অনুপ্রাণিত হয়ে ঝুঁকছেন এসব বিদেশি ফল চাষে।

এর আগে হারুনুর রশীদ মুসা ত্বীন ও অ্যাভোকাডো ফলের চাষ করে সাফল্য পেয়েছিলেন। তবে এবার তিনি ৫ বিঘা জমিতে আবাদ করেছেন “পিংক রোজ” জাতের ড্রাগন ফলের।

এই ফলগুলোর এক একটির ওজন ৫০০ থেকে ৮০০ গ্রাম পর্যন্ত হয়ে থাকে। চারা, সেচ, সার, কীটনাশক পরিচর্যাসহ ৫ বিঘা জমিতে তার খরচ হয়েছে প্রায় ৮ লাখ টাকা। চলতি বছর তিনি এই ৫ বিঘা জমিতে পিংক রোজ ড্রাগনের আবাদ করে ১০ লাখ টাকার ফল বিক্রি করেছেন।

হারুনুর রশীদ মুসা জানান, তিনি প্রায় ১৬ বছর আগে আপেল কুলের আবাদ করেন। এরপর পেয়ারা, মাল্টাসহ অন্যান্য ফলের বাগান করেছেন। ৫ বছর আগে ড্রাগন ফলের চাষ শুরু করেন। এছাড়া তিনি অ্যাভোকাডো ফলেরও চাষ করেছেন। বর্তমানে তার ১১ বিঘা জমিতে ড্রাগনের আবাদ রয়েছে। এর মধ্যে পিংক বড় জাতের ড্রাগনের আবাদ রয়েছে ৫ বিঘা জমিতে। 

তিনি আরও জানান, এক বিঘা জমিতে চারাসহ তার খরচ হয়েছে দেড় লাখ টাকা। চারা লাগানোর ৬ মাস পর ফল পাওয়া যায়। ড্রাগন গাছ একবার লাগালে ১৫ থেকে ২০ বছর বাঁচে। বাজারে অন্যান্য ড্রাগনের ফল যখন বিক্রি শেষ হয়ে যায় তখন পিংক রোজ ড্রাগন ফল ওঠে। অর্থাৎ পিংক বড় জাতের ড্রাগন ফল একটু দেরিতে আসে। যে সময় বাজারে ড্রাগন ফল খুবই কম থাকে। ফলে দাম ভালো পাওয়া যায়।

মুসা বলেন, “মহামারিতে ড্রাগনের ফলের বাজার মন্দা গেলেও পিংক রোজ বড় জাতের ড্রাগন ফল ২৫০ থেকে শুরু করে ৩৫০ টাকা পর্যন্ত কেজি দরে বিক্রি হয়েছে। এখন প্রতিদিনই বাগান থেকে পিংক রোজ ড্রাগন ফল তুলছি। বাগান থেকে ক্যারেটে করে ফল ভর্তি করে ঢাকার ওয়াইজঘাটে পাঠাচ্ছি।”

এছাড়া দেশের বিভিন্ন স্থান থেকে কৃষক, কৃষি উদ্যোক্তা ও কৃষি গবেষণায় নিয়োজিত ব্যক্তিরা তার বাগান পরিদর্শন করতে আসছেন। 

কাগমারী গ্রামের ইসমাইল হোসেন সিরাজী জানান, শিক্ষকতার পাশাপাশি তিনি দীর্ঘদিন ধরে বিভিন্ন ফলের আবাদ করে একজন আদর্শ কৃষক হিসেবে পরিচিতি লাভ করেছেন। নতুন নতুন ফলের আবাদ করে তিনি কৃষিতে অভাবনীয় সাফল্য অর্জন করেছেন। এখন তিনি অন্যান্য কৃষক ও কৃষি উদ্যোক্তাদের কাছে উদাহরণ হয়ে দাঁড়িয়েছেন। অনেকেই তার কাছে কৃষি পরামর্শসহ চারা কিনতে আসছেন।

কোটচাঁদপুর উপজেলা কৃষি অফিসার মহাসিন আলী বলেন, “হারুনুর রশীদ একজন ইনোভেটিভ কৃষক। তার বাগানে শুধু ড্রাগন নয়। মাল্টা, অ্যাভোকাডো, ত্বীনসহ বিভিন্ন ধরনের বিদেশি ফলের আবাদ রয়েছে। কৃষি বিভাগ থেকে আমরা তাকে নানাভাবে পরামর্শ দিয়ে আসছি। আমি নিজেই তার প্রতিটি বাগান পরিদর্শন করেছি। এছাড়া কৃষি বিভাগ থেকে তাকে বিভিন্ন সময় প্রশিক্ষণেও পাঠানো হয়। মুসার মত কৃষি উদ্যোক্তারা দেশের কৃষিক্ষেত্রে দারুণ অবদান রাখছেন।”

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Jaheda Begum and Sheikh Mehdi Hasan

20 August, 2021, 11:55 am

Last modified: 20 August, 2021, 12:18 pm

Palm oil: Ideal for deep frying and reusing

Bangladesh annually consumes around three million tonnes of edible oils, of which about 53 percent is palm oil on average. It has also been the leading edible oil since 2003 in Bangladesh, mainly because of its price competitiveness, versatile uses and compatibility in preparing local dishes

 

As of today, nearly half of the world population consumes palm oil. Since 1980, palm oil production has increased tenfold with a prediction that it will continue to increase in the future. 

According to statista.com, the consumption of palm oil during 2020 to 2021 was 75.45 million metric tons and the second most consumed soybean oil was at 59.48 million metric tons.

Bangladesh annually consumes around three million tonnes of edible oils, of which about 53 percent is palm oil on average. 

It has also been the leading edible oil since 2003 in Bangladesh, mainly because of its price competitiveness, versatile uses and compatibility in preparing local dishes. 

Where palm is used

The easier question is: Where is palm not being used? It is used in every household kitchen, in hotels and restaurants, fast food outlets, bakeries, food and other industries. 

Palm oil is widely used mainly because of the qualities of the oil, which directly influences the taste, stability and texture of the overall product. The bland taste of the oil does not affect flavours and instead allows target ingredients to shine.

Frying and deep frying

The distinct aromas, flavours and mouthfeel of deep-fried foods is irresistible. Simply envisioning crispy fried chicken can water one's mouth. This sensory description is frequently called "golden, crispy, crunchy" and it is generally associated with deep frying.

During deep-frying, the oil undergoes physical and chemical changes due to the presence of oxygen and moisture. As a result of various reactions, the degradation of the frying oil takes place, which hinges on fatty acid composition. 

The stability of the oils that contain higher amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids degrades faster. While palm oil contains only 10 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids, soybean oil contains 61 percent and sunflower oil contains 62 percent. 

Palm oil contains less linolenic acid which is highly susceptible to oxidation during frying. For polyunsaturated oils to be used for deep frying, these oils need to undergo partial hydrogenation to increase the oil's stability, which is unfortunately harmful as it causes the formation of trans fatty acids. 

Today, oils with lower stability such as sunflower and soybean oil are commonly blended with palm oil to gain a higher melting point for better frying application.

Palm oil consists mostly of saturated and monounsaturated fats, making it a great choice for deep frying as it sustains the natural taste of food.

Repeat frying is safe

Many households and industrial kitchens are accustomed to repeat frying to ensure cost-effectiveness. After one frying session, sometimes the oil is too fresh to be thrown away. 

However, reheating vegetable oil at a high temperature leads to the production of rancid odour and flavour due to oxidation. Hydroperoxides and aldehydes are formed and absorbed into the food and eventually enter our system after ingestion. These have been indicated as potentially harmful components.

Baking

Palm oil is commonly used in baking in many ways. It does not require to be hydrogenated, saving the food manufacturer's cost. Hydrogenated fats result in trans-fat, which is linked to heart disease. 

Palm oil is also the preferred choice in making margarine for the same reason, as it naturally solidifies at room temperature.

Palm oil-based margarine can be used to make cookies, cakes, bread, pastries and more. It retains moisture in baked goods. Palm oil as a shortening also functions as a flavour carrier since it does not interfere with the overall flavour of the product. 

This oil can be used to make the icing glossy and smooth or as a releasing agent between the doughs or batters and the pan, and it does not add any flavour.

Red palm oil comes with its own antioxidants, which protects cholesterol from going rancid, and beta-carotene - a precursor to vitamin A, and contains phytosterols which prevent cholesterol absorption. 

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Meat prices go up at Dhaka’s kitchen markets as demand rises

 Tribune Report

 Published at 07:26 pm August 21st, 2021

Sugar prices keep rising on the back of higher prices in the global market

The prices of meat went up at the kitchen markets of Dhaka this week, while vegetable and rice prices stabilized.

As there is no lockdown at the moment, weddings and other events have resumed, leading to a higher demand for meat and poultry. 

Broiler chicken was being sold at Tk135-140 per kg on Saturday, while Sonali chicken cost Tk210-220 per kg. Local chicken was being sold at Tk400-410 per kg.

Meanwhile, beef sold for Tk580-600 per kg on Saturday, while mutton prices ranged between Tk800-850 per kg.

Lutfor Hasan, a butcher at Karwan Bazar, said: “As the lockdown has been lifted, demand for chicken and red meat is on the rise for weddings and other celebrations. As the demand has gone up, so have the prices.”

The price of staple food rice has remained stable as prices were the same throughout the week: Miniket rice sold at Tk60-62 per kg, Nazirshail at Tk62-65 per kg, Atash Balam at Tk50-54 per kg, Paijam at Tk50-55 per kg, Guti Swarna at Tk50 per kg, and Chinigura rice sold at Tk90-95 per kg as of Saturday.

In order to control the price of rice, the import duty on rice has been reduced by 36.75%, so sellers are expecting prices to fall in coming weeks.

Vegetable prices have also remained the same, with no hikes reported from the start of the week.

Visiting several kitchen markets around the capital including those in Hatirpool, New Market, Mohakhali, and Mugda, Dhaka Tribune found that the price of edible oil, lentil, and sugar have also risen by about Tk5-8 per kg in the last week. 

Loose soyabean oil was being sold at Tk138-140 per litre in the kitchen markets — a Tk5 rise from last week. 

Similarly, the price of sugar has also gone up by Tk5 per kg, costing between Tk72 and Tk80. 

Joynul Abedin, a grocer at Karwan Bazar, said: “Sugar prices have been increasing in the last couple of days. Earlier, per kg sugar was being sold at Tk68-72, now it is being sold at Tk75-85.”

Another vendor from the market Tutul Hossain said imported white sugar is being sold at Tk72 per kg in the retail market, while local brown sugar is being sold at Tk82.

Globally, the price of raw sugar has currently risen to above $430 per ton against $340 per ton in February. 

The steady spike in prices was aided by a 7% fall in sugar output in south-central Brazil between April and July. This is expected to pull down the global surplus in the ongoing sugar season 2021-22 underpinned the price rally in the past few days.

And lentils, which were sold at Tk95 to100 per kg last week, are now being sold at Tk105 per kg.

Prices of green chilies came down this week, selling for Tk90-120 per kg. 

When asked, seller Mominul Bepari at Hatirpoor kitchen market said: “In the coming days, there is a possibility of prices coming back to normal as imported chillies are entering the market.”

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Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury

23 August, 2021, 12:30 pm

Last modified: 23 August, 2021, 12:51 pm

Covid cuts Chattogram’s annual vegetable exports by Tk40cr

The vegetable export season starts in March and continues till November

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Vegetables are being loaded into the cargo space of an Air Arabia aircraft at Shah Amanat International Airport. Photo: Shamsuddin Illius

Annual vegetable exports from Chattogram by air have decreased by Tk40 crore as a result of the closure of international flights amid the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

During normal times, about 3,000 tonnes of vegetables are exported to various countries in the Middle East through Chittagong Shah Amanat International Airport every year.

Besides, fruit exports account for about 10% compared to vegetables exported.

According to the Plant Quarantine Station of Shah Amanat International Airport, 3,000 tonnes of vegetables were exported by air from Chattogram in the 2018-19 financial year, which fell by 900 tonnes to 2,100 tonnes in the 2019-20 fiscal year.

In the fiscal year 2020-21, the export of vegetables further decreased by 3% to 1,100 tonnes. 

No vegetables were exported through Chattogram airport in 2021-22 as international flights were suspended.

Vegetable exporters said the average selling price of vegetables is $2.5 per kilogram or Tk200. As such, the price of 3,000 tonnes of vegetables is Tk60 crore. 

The vegetable export season starts from March and continues till November when vegetables are exported to various countries such as Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain.

ForkanRubel, general secretary of the Chattogram Vegetable Exporters Association, said even though his company exports 900 tonnes of vegetables a year through Chattogram Airport during normal times, this amount decreased by about 3% in the last financial year.

He could not yet start exporting yet in the current financial year. Due to the closure of international flights with Chattogram, a limited quantity of vegetables has to be exported through Dhaka Airport.

Vegetables are collected from different parts of the country including Chattogram, Dhaka, Jashore, Gazipur, Narsingdi and Cumilla for export, he added.

ShaibalKanti Nandi, deputy director of Chittagong Shah Amanat International Airport Plant Quarantine Centre, said about 59 types of vegetables and local fruits are exported through the airport every year.

The most common vegetables which are exported through Chattogram Airport are potato, taro stolon (commonly known as kochur loti in Bangladesh), taro root (kochu), jackfruit, lemon, ridge gourd, bean, spiny gourd, snake gourd, cucumber, red spinach, mango, etc.

International flights through Shah Amanat Airport was reopened on 17 August after it was suspended on 14 April. However, private airlines, including state-owned airlines, have not yet resumed international flights. 

Vegetable exporters have said they would restart vegetable exports once international flights resume.

Farhad Hossain Khan, Wing Commander of Chittagong Shah Amanat International Airport, told TBS airport authorities have all-out preparations for the launch of international flights. The airlines are preparing to operate flights.

Four to five tonnes of vegetables are being exported daily through Dhaka Airport.

About 15 companies are involved in exporting vegetables from Chattogram to different parts of the world, employing at least 200 workers who have become unemployed as the export of vegetables has stopped.

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https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/trade/bangladesh-targets-export-of-01m-tonnes-of-mangoes-a-year-1629774165

Bangladesh targets export of 0.1m tonnes of mangoes a year

 FE REPORT | Published:  August 24, 2021 09:02:45

The government is going to prepare a roadmap to enhance shipments of mangoes to 0.1 million tonnes annually within the next five years.

It was revealed at a workshop titled 'Improved Management for Raising Mango Exports' organised by the Hortex Foundation.

The event was held at the Agricultural Research Council (BARC) Auditorium in the capital on Monday, according to an agriculture ministry release.

The workshop mentioned that 25 per cent of the country's produced mangoes worth Tk 36 billion is wasted annually for lack of proper supply chain management.

Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, chief guest of the event, said the ministry and its various agencies will prepare a specific action plan for making 0.1 million tonnes of annual mango shipments in the next three to five years.

He also said the country produces 2.5 million tonnes of mangoes a year while only a few hundred tonnes could be exported.

"We have to work to attain the export target. The concerned embassies of Bangladesh in different countries will be told to form committees consisting of different officials to help branding Bangladeshi mangoes, and find new markets," he added.

The minister further added that a comprehensive programme has been taken to increase mango exports.

He informed that work is underway to set up three vacuum heat treatment plants to ensure safe mangoes for shipments.

Good agricultural practices (GAP) are being implemented to keep mangoes safe from production to export level, he shared.

The government has also taken initiatives to issue phytosanitary certificates, Abdur Razzaque stated.

As a result, mango exports have increased five times this year compared to last year, he mentioned.

The keynote paper was presented by Dr Atiqur Rahman, post harvest management expert for NATP-2 at Hortex Foundation.

It said the country exported 1,623 tonnes of mangoes in fiscal year (FY) '21 which was 263 tonnes in FY'20.

The paper said despite a notable rise in export last financial year, the shipment volume is still very tiny compared to that of local output of 2.5 million tonnes.

It said more than 25 per cent of mangoes worth Tk 36 billion are being wasted every year for lack of proper management of the fruit.

In case of Khirsapat mango, the post harvest loss is 36 per cent and for Fazli mango it is 29 per cent, said the paper.

To minimise post harvest loss, the total supply chain should be mordernised, and export should be boosted, said the keynote.

The paper mentioned new market exploration, improved selection according to export demand, phytosanitary methods and GAP should be implemented to tap the potential mango markets.

The workshop was chaired by Md Mesbahul Islam, senior secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture while Dr Shaikh Mohammad Bokhtiar, executive chairman of BARC, spoke as special guest.

Director General of the Department of Agricultural Extension Md Asadullah, and Managing Director of Hortex Foundation Manjurul Hannan also delivered speeches, among others.

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TBS Report

24 August, 2021, 10:35 pm

Last modified: 25 August, 2021, 10:43 am

Govt eyes 30% vegetable export growth

The Ecnec approved a Tk156.36 crore project to this end

 

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) has approved a project to modernise a lab as the government wants to increase annual vegetable exports by 25-30% while reducing imports by 2%.

To this end, the agriculture ministry wants to transform the plant quarantine laboratory at the central packing house in the capital's Shyampur into a lab of international standards.

The ministry believes if the laboratory can be set up by 2023, exports of different vegetables and fruits, including potatoes and betel leaves, to various countries of Asia and Europe will grow.

This is because the facility will help comply with the World Trade Organisation's Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS agreement) and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC).

The plant quarantine lab was set up under a project in 2011. But due to a lack of proper equipment and skilled manpower, the lab does not function.

That is why Bangladesh cannot comply with the WTO SPS agreement and the IPPC.

In this situation, the Ecnec on Tuesday approved a Tk156.36 crore project to improve the quality of the lab in order to get the Bangladesh Accreditation Board accreditation.

The Department of Agricultural Extension will implement the project, which includes buying and setting up lab equipment among other tasks.

Besides, 180 officials will be given local training and six others will receive training abroad. 

After the Ecnec meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Planning Minister MA Mannan and State Minister of the ministry Dr Shamsul Alam talked about the project.

Shamsul quoted the prime minister as saying that agricultural products should be exported after checking their quality as per the demand of the developed world.

He said Bangladesh at present earns $1 billion by exporting agricultural goods.

"The prime minister said the export of agricultural products should be increased so that Bangladesh's reputation abroad grows more. She also instructed the authorities concerned to take more precautions for exporting agricultural products," he added.

Entrepreneurs in this sector hope the market of Bangladeshi vegetables and agricultural products abroad will grow once the project is implemented.

Bangladesh Fruits, Vegetables and Allied Products Exporters Association Adviser Manjurul Islam said exports would grow further if mycology, bacteriology, virology, nematology, and microbiology tests could be done here.

"But there are many challenges, including a lack of skilled manpower. We have to overcome these," he added. 

Alam Overseas regularly exports vegetables to London. Its Proprietor Mahbubul Alam said he needs to get his products tested from foreign labs before exporting.

"European countries do not compromise on quality. That is why setting up laboratories here is very important. Products can be tested quickly if we have labs here."

Additional Director of the Plant Quarantine Wing Md Shamsul Alam told The Business Standard vegetables and fruits contain many types of germs.

"If there is a laboratory at the central packing house, we will be able to export products after complying with the necessary requirements. This will ensure product quality and we can also maintain a good image of our country abroad, which will help increase exports."  

CPH Lutfar, deputy director of the central packing house, said many requirements need to be fulfilled for exporting goods to Europe.

"For example, it is necessary to check whether betel leaves contain salmonella. Having our own labs will make these tasks easier."

The agriculture ministry said Bangladesh is a major agricultural country, but it imports 1.86 crore tonnes of vegetables every year.

By contrast, only 9.95 lakh tonnes of vegetables are exported from Bangladesh, which is only 5.35% of total exports.

The ministry thinks the country's food security is at risk as exports have not increased in line with imports.

Despite potential, Bangladesh cannot export potatoes and betel leaves for failing to comply with the SPS agreement and the IPPC.

Eight projects costing Tk5,441.63 crore were approved at Tuesday's Ecnec meeting.

The government will give Tk3,332.72 crore to implement the projects while implementing agencies will provide Tk47.93 crore.

Besides, Tk2060.98 crore will come from foreign loans. 

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TBS Report

25 August, 2021, 07:25 pm

Last modified: 25 August, 2021, 09:54 pm

Poor supply chains: Bangladesh losing out on MNCs investing

Supply chain problems are the main obstacles to ensuring compliance, from production to marketing of agricultural goods

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Multinational companies are not investing in Bangladesh because of a lack of effective supply chain management, speakers said at a webinar on Wednesday.

They described supply chain problems as the main obstacles to ensuring compliance, from production to marketing of agricultural goods.

Addressing the webinar on food safety in the pandemic, organised by the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), Foodpanda Bangladesh Managing Director, Ambareen Reza, said many multinational firms in the restaurant industry are operating hundreds of branches in Pakistan.

But they are not interested in investing in Bangladesh as there is no effective supply chain here, she said.

She said 5,000 restaurants in Bangladesh closed during the pandemic due to supply chain problems.

Ambareen also wanted the 5% duty on importing raw materials for food grade packaging be withdrawn and manpower efficiency be developed.

Bengal Meat Chief Executive Officer AFM Asif said the government should provide policy support to ensure compliance, which is important for food exports and domestic supply in any country.   

It is important to raise public awareness at all levels, including farmers, entrepreneurs, and consumers, to ensure food safety, he added.

Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, chief guest at the event, said big companies should come forward for proper marketing of agricultural products.

He said there is no problem in the production of agricultural goods, but there are problems in marketing and the supply system.

It will not be possible to build a sustainable marketing system if big companies do not come forward, he added.    

He also said the DCCI and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) should invest in agricultural processing. 

DCCI President Rizwan Rahman said food inflation in June rose 5.45% as supply chains had been disrupted in Bangladesh and abroad due to coronavirus lockdowns.  

He said the pandemic had deprived marginal farmers of fair prices for their produce, including vegetables. 

Rizwan emphasised developing agricultural infrastructure, integrating more online platforms, and improving supply chain management using modern technologies.

Food Secretary Mosammat Nazmanara Khanum said eight labs were being set up in eight divisions of the country under the Modern Food Facility project.

She said the project would finish in December.

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https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/editorial/is-awarding-aip-enough-to-boost-agriculture-sector-1629992782

Is awarding AIP enough to boost agriculture sector?  

Published:  August 26, 2021 21:46:22

The decision of the agriculture ministry to recognise for the first time contributions of agricultural producers, entrepreneurs and scientists to the development of the farm sector by way of awarding them AIP (Agricultural Important Person) title is a welcome move. As reported in the media, the government would pay tribute to 45 persons with AIP honour annually for their contributions to agriculture, fisheries, livestock and forestry. In line with the CIP (Commercially Important Person) honour, the newly announced AIP tribute for the agriculture sector is mainly to acknowledge accomplishment of persons in their specified areas and also to inspire others to do good things. However, let this be remembered that announcing a few dozens of people as leaders or icons does not mean much to enliven the farm sector unless of course sufficient facilitations are there to make the best of the prospects and opportunities. 

One has but to say that in the absence of required facilities for increased productivity and innovation, the expectation of significant improvement in the agri-sector is no more than a pious wish. The sector with its vast range across cultivation, irrigation, harvesting and the marketing of scores of products as well as the operation of the sub-sectors like fisheries, poultry, dairy and forestry comprises a huge assortment of functions each of which needs multifarious support to rise up to the desired level. Needless to say, the ongoing pandemic has badly impacted these vital veins of the economy. Although bumper harvests of paddy, jute and horticulture products have, to some extent, helped tackle the difficulties wrecked by the pandemic, the fisheries, poultry and dairy sub-sectors have also been badly hurt. The government-announced incentives, mostly in the form of soft loans, have reportedly done little to help them ride out the crisis. The government's focus at the moment has to be more on the fisheries and livestock. These are the vital farm sub-sectors that have largely grown on their own, and now if these are not kept afloat with incentive package reaching them without hassle, the entire economy will have to bear the brunt, and not only those involved in them -- tens of thousands of rural families be affected.

As regards innovation, despite many constraints, it cannot be denied that laudable works have been done by the country's agricultural scientists over the years. Still, when it comes to extensive research and replication of research findings on a large scale, there are serious limitations. Fund is obviously a major impeding factor. Mere motivation of farmers is not enough unless they are provided with financial and other resources. An initiative taken up by the government to facilitate procurement of advanced farm machinery is reportedly facing a snag, which is bad news.

So it is clear that adequate facilitations in various forms can bring the prospects of increased productivity and innovation in the agriculture sector. If the process of bringing a significant improvement in agriculture can be expedited, only then can the AIP award make sense. 

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https://bangla.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2021/08/29/38830/পুকুর-থেকে-পাওয়া-গেলো-৩০০-গ্রাম-ইলিশ

নোয়াখালীর পুকুরে মিলল ইলিশ

 ট্রিবিউন ডেস্ক

 প্রকাশিত ০৬:৩৮ সন্ধ্যা আগস্ট ২৯, ২০২১

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নোয়াখালীর হাতিয়ার পুকুরে পাওয়া ইলিশ সংগৃহীত

গত মে মাসে ঘূর্ণিঝড় 'ইয়াসের' সময় পুকুরে জোয়ারের লবণাক্ত পানির সঙ্গে ইলিশের পোনা ঢুকে থাকতে পারে বলে ধারণা করা হচ্ছে

নোয়াখালীর দ্বীপ উপজেলা হাতিয়ায় একটি পুকুর থেকে ৩০০ গ্রাম ওজনের একটি ইলিশ মাছ পাওয়া গেছে। যে পুকুরে মাছটি পাওয়া যায়, সেটির মালিক উপজেলার হরনী ইউনিয়নের শরীয়তপুর সমাজের বাসিন্দা মো. বেলাল।

রবিবার (২৯ আগস্ট) ভোরে মাছটি পাওয়া যায় বলে গণমাধ্যমকে নিশ্চিত করেছেন স্থানীয় হরনী ইউনিয়নের ভারপ্রাপ্ত প্রশাসক মাওলানা আবু সাইদ।

পুকুরের মালিক বেলাল জানান, ভোরে পুকুরের পানি সেচ দেওয়ার পর অন্যান্য মাছের সঙ্গে ৩০০ গ্রাম ওজেনের ইলিশ মাছটি ধরা পড়ে। পরবর্তীতে তিনি স্থানীয় মাইনুদ্দীন বাজারে ইলিশটি বিক্রি করেন।

কয়েক মাস আগে বিভিন্ন পুকুরে জোয়ারের লবণাক্ত পানি ঢুকে পড়ে। তার ধরাণা, হয়ত তখনই পুকুরে ইলিশ মাছের পোনা ঢুকতে পারে।

একই মন্তব্য হরনী ইউনিয়নের ভারপ্রাপ্ত প্রশাসক মাওলানা আবু সাইদেরও। তিনি জানান, গত মে মাসে ঘূর্ণিঝড় "ইয়াসের" সময় হরনী ইউনিয়নের দেড় হাজার পুকুরে জোয়ারের লবণাক্ত পানির সাথে ইলিশের পোনা ঢুকে থাকতে পারে।

এ বিষয়ে নোয়াখালী বিজ্ঞান ও প্রযুক্তি বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের (নোবিপ্রবি) সমুদ্রবিজ্ঞান বিভাগের সহকারী অধ্যাপক ড. মোহাম্মদ আব্দুল মমিন সিদ্দিক বলেন, ইলিশ মাছ লবণাক্ত ও মিষ্টি পানির সাথে খাপ খাইয়ে চলতে পারে। এই মাছ দৈনিক ৭২ কিলোমিটার পর্যন্ত পথ পাড়ি দিতে পারে। সাধারণত ইলিশ লবণাক্ত পানিতে বাস করে এবং মিঠা পানিতে ডিম ছাড়ে। জোয়ারের পানি পুকুরে প্রবেশ করার সময় নোনা পানির সঙ্গে ইলিশের পোনাও প্রবেশ করতে পারে।

এছাড়া, পুকুরে ইলিশের চাষ নিয়েও গবেষণা চলছে বলে জানান তিনি।

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রাজবাড়ীর পদ্মায় জেলের জালে ১৬ কেজি বোয়াল

 ট্রিবিউন ডেস্ক

 প্রকাশিত ১১:৪৭ সকাল আগস্ট ৩০, ২০২১

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রাজবাড়ীর পদ্মায় জেলের জালে ১৬কেজি বোয়াল ঢাকা ট্রিবিউন

পদ্মার মাছ এমনিতেই সুস্বাদু। তারপর যদি তা আকারে বড় হয় তাহলে তো কথাই নেই

রাজবাড়ীর গোয়ালন্দ উপজেলার দৌলতদিয়ার পদ্মা নদীর মোহনায় পলাশ হলদার নামের এক জেলের জালে ধরা পড়েছে ১৬ কেজি ওজনের এক বিশাল বোয়াল মাছ।

সোমবার (৩০ আগস্ট) ভোর ৬টার দিকে এই বোয়াল মাছটি জালে ধরা পড়ে। পরে মাছটি দৌলতদিয়া ঘাটের শাজাহান শেখের মৎস্য আড়তে আনা হলে তিনি ২,২০০ টাকা কেজি দরে সেটি কিনে নেন।

মাছ ব্যবসায়ী শাজাহান শেখ বলেন, “পদ্মার মাছ এমনিতেই সুস্বাদু। তারপর যদি তা আকারে বড় হয় তাহলে তো কথাই নেই। সবসময় পদ্মার মাছের চাহিদা থাকে। বড় বড় ব্যবসায়ী ও শিল্পপতিরা আগে থেকেই বলে রাখেন। এজন্য বড় মাছ ধরা পড়লেই তাদের সঙ্গে যোগাযোগ করা হয়।”

তিনি আরও জানান, ২,৩০০ টাকা কেজি দরে ৩৬ হাজার ৮০০ টাকায় ফরিদপুরের মধুখালীর এক ব্যবসায়ীর নিকট বেয়াল মাছটি বিক্রি করেছেন।

প্রসঙ্গে গোয়ালন্দ উপজেলা মৎস্য কর্মকর্তা মো. রেজাউল শরীফ জানান, এখন পদ্মা নদীতে ইলিশ মাছের আকাল থাকলেও বড় বড় বাগাইড়, চিতল, বোয়াল, কাতল, রুই, পাঙ্গাস সহ নানান মাছ পাওয়া যাবে। তবে মিঠা পানির সুস্বাদু এত বড় মাছ নদীতে এখন খুব একটা দেখা যায় না। এ ধরনের মাছ সাধারণত ফ্যাসন, দশন, কৌনা, কচাল ও চাকা ওয়ালা ঘাইলা ব্যার জালে ধরা পড়ে।

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https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/trade/edible-oil-consumption-increases-by-20pc-in-five-years-1630503068

Edible oil consumption increases by 20pc in five years

Published:  September 01, 2021 19:31:08

The per capita consumption of edible oil in Bangladesh increased by 20 per cent in the last five years to reach 18.4 kgs in 2020.

Meanwhile, the overall consumption of edible oil increased by 36 per cent in five years to reach 3.03 million tonnes in 2020 against 2.22 million tonnes in 2015.

Palm oil, one of the largest consumed vegetable oils, enjoys a market share of 55 to 60 per cent due to its price competitiveness and other factors in the country.

The facts were presented at an international webinar titled “Edible Oils & Fats Consumption Trend in Bangladesh" organised by the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC), an inter-governmental organization for palm oil-producing countries, according to a press statement.

The webinar was a part of the CPOPC Webinar Series on “Sustainable palm oil towards a better world” with a focus on the growing consumption trends of the highest consumed palm oil, its qualitative aspects over other edible oils and its role in meeting the increasing demand of the people and the most crucial SDGs in the country.

Regional Manager of Bangladesh and Nepal, Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) AKM Fakhrul Alam, Head of Southeast Asian Food and Agricultural Science and Technology (SEAFAST) Center Dr Puspo Edi Giriwono and Senior Marketing Manager of Bangladesh Edible Oil Ltd Faisal Mahmud discussed the key industry trends, challenges, and recommendations to enhance the market share of palm oil in Bangladesh to meet the ever-growing demands of the country’s consumers. 

CPOPC’s Executive Director Dr Yusof Basiron and Deputy Executive Director Dupito D. Simamora gave remarks and shared perspectives while Deputy Managing Director (India) of APCO Worldwide Yash Kansal moderated the webinar.

AKM Fakhrul Alam said, “Bangladesh is mostly dependent on the imports of palm oil with the increase in the consumption of oils and fats as to cope up with these demands imports eventually increases.”

However, from 2019, a slight decline is observed in the imports of palm oil due to the pandemic, he highlighted.

“Yet, palm oil is still the leading vegetable oil in the consumption patterns of Bangladesh as according to the statistics, from 2015-19 there is a visible growth in the consumption of palm oil,” Alam claimed.

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