Tuesday, July 29 2014
VOL 21 NO 119 REGD NO DA 1589 | Dhaka, Wednesday, March 12 2014
Posted : 12 Mar, 2014 00:00:00 AA-A+
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OPINION
Bangladeshi agro-processed food has good prospect abroad
Shahana Bilkis


PRAN is a food and beverages brand.  It started its operation in 1981 as a processor of fruits and vegetables in Bangladesh. Over the years, the company has not only grown in stature but also contributed significantly to the overall socio-economic development of the country.

Of late, PRAN goods have become popular in Malaysia and have been competing against famous brands like Tesco, Sogo and Presto. PRAN goods, including biscuits, juice and chocolates enjoy high demand from five star hotels to grocery shops in Malaysia. The company earned Tk 10 million profit in the year 2010 when it started exporting to Malaysia. Last year the profit was set to cross Tk one billion as it was making Tk 0.7 to Tk 0.8 million profit per month.

Earlier, Bangladeshi expatriates in Malaysia were the main consumers of PRAN goods but now, expatriates of other countries here prefer PRAN products and the popularity has been increasing day by day. The company has established its office in a 26, 000-square-meter area at Sungai Buloh, Malaysia. Chinigura rice, powder spices, candy chocolate, toast biscuits, dry cakes, juice etc. are kept stored in the warehouses for sale.

All PRAN products are produced in technologically advanced plants. It exports goods to 95 countries of the world. Lately, the Tripura Industrial Development Corporation (TIDC) has allotted two acres of land to PRAN for the agro-food product unit. The initiatives by both the government and private sector will help expand both product range and marketing.

A number of major food items exporters are now facing problems in maintaining their activities. At present, garments sector and manpower export are our two main sources of earning foreign currency.  We surely need export diversification. PRAN and a few companies have shown the way. If more companies come forward with untraditional product ranges to export to new destinations, the country's foreign exchanging will receive a boost and at the same time more people will get employment.  

Agricultural and agro-processed food industries have prospect of export from Bangladesh now. The demand for Bangladeshi vegetables, fruits and agro-processed food items is higher among the Bangladeshis residing in different countries. Bangladeshi exporters can take this opportunity to grab more market share. The popularity of some agro-processed items like Papadum is higher among the European consumers. Potential for ready-to-eat food items are also very high globally.

Establishing a government operated central testing laboratory for export-oriented food and agro- processed food industries is very urgent. The government simply the process and dismantle bureaucratic obstacles confronted by the local exporting companies in sending samples abroad, to station or appoint representatives in foreign countries, in sending money for the purpose and doing other promotional activities and deal with those effectively. Our foreign missions abroad should be directed to play a truly energetic role in searching markets and engaging in promotional activities in favour of these products.

shahana_bilkis@yahoo.com


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