According to the EPB statistics, the notable exportable items include vegetables, tea, flower, fruits, and various types of spices, tobacco and dry food.
But, out of those, Bangladesh has attained notable progress in export of dry food. These include biscuits, chanachur, cakes, potato crackers and pea nuts.
Bangladesh Agro Processors Association (BAPA) said the processed food items enjoyed the lion share of $1 billion agricultural products exports in the last fiscal year.
Some 500 industries in the country are related to the processing of agricultural products while 20 of those are large and medium industries and 100 of those are related to export.
Talking to BSS, commerce secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh said that the government has been providing tax rebate and 20 percent cash incentives on export of agricultural and processed food.
As a result, the export of agricultural goods has been witnessing uptrend over the last four years.
“The entrepreneurs of this sector have started exporting newer items considering the demand of the global market which is also putting a positive impact on the export volume,” the secretary said.
Tapan said due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for agricultural and processed food has increased globally.
“The government wants the entrepreneurs to seize this opportunity and the government will extend necessary support in this regard,” he said.
The notable exportable processed food items include bread, biscuits, dry food, fruit juice, various types of spices, soft drinks and jam, jelly.
Out of those, the local companies fetched $88.6 million from the export of bread and dry food during the July-November period of the current fiscal year.
The main export destinations of Bangladeshi agricultural items are European Union, Middle East and Gulf region while the expatriate Bangladeshis and the South Asian nationals living in those countries are the major consumers of such products.
Bangladeshi processed foods are being exported to some 145 countries of the world.
Among the local conglomerates, PRAN Group has been performing largely as well as they exported items worth $340 million in the last fiscal year. After beginning their export in 1997 to France, PRAN Group’s export destinations has now expanded up to 145 countries.
The major exportable items of PRAN Group are fruit drinks, soft drinks, biscuits, sauce, noodles, jelly, spices, aromatic rice, potato crackers, chanachur, spicy puffed rice.
Talking to BSS, director (marketing) of PRAN RFL Group Kamruzzaman Kamal said that many people around the world have brought changes in their food habit due to the pandemic.
“As a result, people are now diverting to cost-efficient food like dry food. For this, the export of agricultural products crossed $1 billion mark in the last fiscal year,” he said.
Apart from technological advancement as well as production of quality products, the government’s policy support like tax rebate and cash incentives are playing an important role in export boom of agricultural products, he added.
Noting that the export of processed food would increase in the coming days, he said considering this the farmers of the country would have to be more production oriented to boost export.
Kamal said various tariff and non-tariff barriers are still there in the way of exports while strong government initiatives are needed to address those.