Multinational companies are not investing in Bangladesh because of a lack of effective supply chain management, speakers said at a webinar on Wednesday.
They described supply chain problems as the main obstacles to ensuring compliance, from production to marketing of agricultural goods.
Addressing the webinar on food safety in the pandemic, organised by the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), Foodpanda Bangladesh Managing Director, Ambareen Reza, said many multinational firms in the restaurant industry are operating hundreds of branches in Pakistan.
But they are not interested in investing in Bangladesh as there is no effective supply chain here, she said.
She said 5,000 restaurants in Bangladesh closed during the pandemic due to supply chain problems.
Ambareen also wanted the 5% duty on importing raw materials for food grade packaging be withdrawn and manpower efficiency be developed.
Bengal Meat Chief Executive Officer AFM Asif said the government should provide policy support to ensure compliance, which is important for food exports and domestic supply in any country.
It is important to raise public awareness at all levels, including farmers, entrepreneurs, and consumers, to ensure food safety, he added.
Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, chief guest at the event, said big companies should come forward for proper marketing of agricultural products.
He said there is no problem in the production of agricultural goods, but there are problems in marketing and the supply system.
It will not be possible to build a sustainable marketing system if big companies do not come forward, he added.
He also said the DCCI and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) should invest in agricultural processing.
DCCI President Rizwan Rahman said food inflation in June rose 5.45% as supply chains had been disrupted in Bangladesh and abroad due to coronavirus lockdowns.
He said the pandemic had deprived marginal farmers of fair prices for their produce, including vegetables.
Rizwan emphasised developing agricultural infrastructure, integrating more online platforms, and improving supply chain management using modern technologies.
Food Secretary Mosammat Nazmanara Khanum said eight labs were being set up in eight divisions of the country under the Modern Food Facility project.
She said the project would finish in December.