Bogura exported goods worth Tk445.25 crore ($52,621,094) last year, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Bogura Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI).
In 2019, goods worth Tk607.57 crore ($72,330,632) were exported from the northern district. In comparison to 2019, exports decreased by Tk162.31 crore in 2020.
Traders say this situation occurred because global transactions stagnated due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2018, goods worth Tk287.92 crore ($34,004,260) were exported from Bogura. And in 2017, the amount of goods exported abroad was Tk105.84 crore ($12,500,000).
The export list includes irrigation pumps, rice bran oil, jute yarn, jute bags, sacks, and threshing machines. Additionally, synthetic hair goods are exported to the United States, jute caddies to Russia and various vegetable seeds to Malaysia.
Vegetable seeds worth Tk89,755 ($1,060) were exported to Malaysia. This year, the seeds will go to Italy and the United States also. Tomato and cucumber seeds are also being added to the list.
Potatoes produced in Bogura have been exported abroad for more than a decade. Cabbage has been exported to Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan for seven years. Kachur Mukhi (Taro root) is also going to be added to the list.
Most of these agro products are exported from Bogura through Mashwa Group, an exporter.
Arif Azat Prince, owner of Mashwa Group, said a lot of vegetables are produced in Bogura. As farmers here do not get good prices, they plan to export the vegetables.
Shibganj Upazila Agriculture Officer Al Mujahid Sarkar said about 5,000 tonnes of potatoes have been exported from Bogura this season. There are also other vegetables exported.
Further, handicraft products made in the Sherpur and Kahalu upazilas are exported to European countries – including Germany, Sweden, France, the Netherlands, England, Italy, Norway, and Australia – he added.
However, these products are not on the BCCI's export list. As such, the export earnings should be higher. Bogura also exports irrigation pumps after meeting local demand.
Bogura exporters say thousands of small and large foundry factories have been set up in different parts of Bogura to make irrigation pumps. Surrounding these factories, a large market for agricultural machinery has been set up in the town, where more than two lakh people work.
Bogura's products are being exported to: India, Malaysia, Europe, the Middle East, Australia, China, and Japan.
According to the BCCI, this year, goods worth Tk445.25 crore ($52,621,094) have been exported abroad. Rice bran oil (oil made from rice husk) is in the top position.
Majumder Products from Sherpur of Bogura is at the top of the list. Last year, rice bran oil exported worth Tk149.08 crore ($17,606,974).
Chitta Majumder, managing director (MD) of Majumdar Products, said he has been exporting rice bran oil to India for about eight years. In India, the demand for rice bran oil has increased several times.
Tamim Agro Industries holds second position in terms of export earnings from Bogura. They exported rice bran oil to India and earned Tk94.24 crore ($11,129,764).
Shahjahan Ali, managing director of the company, said, "The quality of the oil we produce is good and India and Japan have a huge demand for it. Australia could be a new destination as well."
Jute yarn, twine and bags made in Bogura have been exported through Hasan Jute Mills, Bogura Jute Mills Limited and Maa Traders.
Matiur Rahman, director of Maa Traders, said, "India has already asked us for a million jute sacks. Turkey is also joining us."
There is a need for 1.50 lakh irrigation pumps every year across the country. India is a big market for exporting irrigation pumps and agro machinery made in Bogura. The average export price of each pump is $15.
Rony Engineering Workshop managing director Mohammad Abdul Matin Sarkar said, "This industry will be further developed in Bogura if low interest loans and the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) are created separately for us."
Mohammad Abdul Wahid, owner of AR Enterprise, claimed that Bogura has gained a reputation by exporting seeds of various vegetables. He said $1,060 worth of seeds were exported from Bogura last year. The process of sending seeds to Italy and the United States is underway.
BCCI vice-president Mahfuzul Islam Raj said, "Bogura can have great potential for domestic and foreign investment. In that case, once Bogura Airport is built, trade and commerce will be further developed here. It will create employment for millions of people."