The government has decided to prepare an action plan with a view to boosting outbound shipments of the country’s agricultural products, officials said.
It had already initiated a move to form national committee, steering committee and subcommittee to make ready the plan.
The decision came at a view-exchange meeting organised by the Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM) under the Ministry of Agriculture with its director general (DG) Mohammad Yousuf in the chair.
Representatives from the sectors concerned including Bangladesh Fruit, Vegetable and Allied Products Exporters’ Association (BFVAPEA) were present in the meeting.
The action plan would focus on a long-term target to further increase exports of agricultural goods, the officials said.
When contacted, DG Mohammad Yousuf said, “We have started preparing a proposed action plan to increase the volume of exports of agricultural products. The proposed draft will be finalised after discussions with the stakeholders concerned.”
He expressed the hope that the volume of exports of agricultural produce would increase if the plan is implemented properly.
The export volume of agricultural products (processed and fresh) was only 2.0 per cent of the country’s total exports, according to the DAM documents.
In the fiscal year 2019-20, the country earned US$ 849.1 million by exporting of such items.
Of the volume, only US$ 163 million or 0.41 per cent was earned from export of vegetables.
On the other hand, the volume of fruit exports was very negligible. But the country had secured the third and seventh position in production of vegetables and fruits respectively in the world.
The government had identified agriculture as a priority sector in the current export policy. But it was not possible to export vegetables and fruits despite their surplus production in the country due to existing complexities, the documents read.
Bangladesh produces a huge variety of agricultural products. Its high-value crops such as fruits and vegetables have potential to grab the markets across the globe, a senior official of the DAM said.
The government had formulated agricultural marketing act-2018 to overcome the existing challenges of the sector. In the act, the DAM had been assigned to increase the export volume of agricultural items through communicating with the exporters of such products, the documents said.
The state-entity opened an export cell to expedite the exports of agricultural produce.
It had also drafted an agricultural marketing policy-2021. In the policy, emphasis was put on increasing the exports of farm products.
A 21-point recommendation including removal of existing roadblocks to exports of agricultural products was placed in the meeting.
Besides, the meeting had decided to communicate with Bangladesh embassies to get information about the demand and import criteria of agricultural items of respective countries.