‘International accredited lab, agro-processing center to be set up at Purbachal’

The government is going to set up an international accredited laboratory and agro-processing center at the capital’s Purbachal on 2 acres.

Bangladesh is doing well in rice production and will have a surplus soon.

However, the country will have to ensure tech-based production and modernization of agriculture to have quality products and more nutritious foods.

Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque said this on Sunday at “Food Value Chain: in the Time of Covid-19.” The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) organized the webinar.

Although agriculture’s contribution to the country’s total economic output is not the same as it was in the 80s, the sector is still profitable and supplies raw materials from many industries, Razzaque said.

“However, the commercialization of agriculture will encourage the private sector to invest more in setting up import-substitute industries here.”

Bangladesh is now producing non-traditional fruits including dragon fruit, cassava, and strawberry, and the country is also going to produce cashew nut soon, the minister said.

DCCI President Shams Mahmud said Bangladesh is doing well in fish production, poultry, and dairy industries, but the small entrepreneurs of these sectors could not be engaged in the value chain and are also not getting the fair price.

To cushion the challenges of Covid-19 and develop the food value chain, he suggested bringing the country’s 2.23 lakh hectares of unused land under cultivation.

Shams also called on the government to set up a specialized technology-based modern supply chain infrastructure, ensure Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) including providing fiscal incentives, training, and adequate policy support to the farmers, and strengthen the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution.

Dr M Burhan Uddin, professor of food technology and rural industries department at Bangladesh Agricultural University, presented the keynote paper at the event.

He recommended upgrading the agro-business setting, lowering the cost of doing business, promoting technology adoption, food safety, introducing contract farming, and access to finance.

Monzur Morshed Ahmed, a member of Bangladesh Food Safety Authority, said undisposed batteries and chemicals are contaminating agro-products.

“To ensure a safe food value chain, we have to do more. There should be a certification body to monitor, check, balance, intervene, and ensure coordination among the stakeholders,” he said.

Source: United News of Bangladesh