The government has taken a massive step to boost export of vegetables and fruits for diversifying the export basket.
Exporters are facing various problems in exporting vegetables and fruits.
Experts said, if the obstacles are removed on the way to export in this sector, it is possible to increase exports at least four times.
As part of its move, the government wants to increase exports by removing the problems of exporting agricultural products. For this, a comprehensive roadmap has been taken to develop the sector.
The Ministry of Agriculture has already arranged several meetings with the stakeholders concerned, an official of Agriculture Ministry said.
A seven-member committee headed by the Director General of the Department of Agriculture Marketing has been formed to formulate a roadmap to harness the potential of exporting vegetables and fruits, he added.
Although various types of vegetables and fruits are exported to different countries from Bangladesh, the amount is very less than the demand of the world market.
According to the exporters, Bangladesh now exports agricultural products worth Tk 800 crore to Tk 1,000 crore every year, including vegetables and fruits.
If the problems are solved in this sector, it is possible to increase the export at least four times.
SM Jahangir Hossain, President of Bangladesh Fruits, Vegetables and Allied Products Exporters Association (BFVAPEA), told Bangladesh Post the government wants to increase the export of agricultural products.
In this case, several meetings have been held at different times to overcome the obstacles to increase exports, he added.
The main problem is the cargo space crisis and extra air fares in transporting agricultural commodities, he further said.
Vegetables or fruits have to be transported by air, but cargo space is not available for transportation, he said adding that, there are lots of jackfruit and vegetable orders in the British market.
“Exports are being hampered due to lack of cargo space. Foreign airlines cannot provide cargo space. Many airlines are reluctant to transport agricultural products. Creating a roadmap, we will be able to detect the problems and find a way to get rid of them,” he mentioned.
Jahangir Hossain also said, there are not many problems in the quality of agricultural products now.
“We have enough agricultural products as per the demand of the importing countries, he said adding that, there should be disease-free, germ-free vegetables and fruits.”
“There are 40-50 vegetable items which are being exported from Bangladesh to different countries. Agricultural products worth about Tk 800 crore to Tk 1000 crore are being exported from Bangladesh every year. It is not a matter of quadrupling the volume of export if the problems can be overcome,” Jahangir Hossain mentioned.
Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzak has recently said, we have immense opportunities to export vegetables and fruits especially to European countries.
“Our main goal now is to transform agriculture into profitable and commercial goods. Following this, the Ministry of Agriculture is taking seriously the success in the export of vegetables and fruits,” he mentioned.
“We have told the exporters that what opportunities we have, we want to give them and remove all the obstacles on the way to export,” he said.
“I'm going to open a desk. From there, we will go to different places with them. I will go to the bank. Cargo transportation is a huge problem. Foreign airlines were obliged to take 20 percent of Bangladesh's containers and vegetables. They don't take that now. We want to impose it again. I will ask the airliners If they want to fly to Bangladesh, they have to carry 20 percent of agricultural products. If the bank does not want to give loans to agriculture farmers, then we will extend our cooperation in this regard,” the minister mentioned.
The agriculture minister said, “Exporting process of agricultural products have to be monitored at every point from the field to the plane. It is necessary to examine if there are any pathogens or any metal that is harmful to the human body and we have installed a lab in Joydebpur.”
The prime minister has given two acres of land in Purbachal, there will be an agro-processing laboratory, he informed.
Razzak said, "If there are any problems and lack of coordination in the export of vegetables and fruits, it will be possible to overcome those if we work together, according to the plan."
“Our goal is to become self-sufficient in the production of vegetables and fruits and export it to Europe, the United States, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Russia, the Middle East, Indonesia and other developed world markets,” the minister further mentioned.