The government is planning a roadmap to take the exports of agriculture products to $2 billion within the next two years.
The Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) has suggested setting up research cells at agriculture research institutes and seed expansion by importing seeds and making them local climate tolerant to boost agricultural production as part of the roadmap.
The draft roadmap revealed on Monday at an event identifies major problems in increasing exports of vegetables, potatoes, fruits and processed agricultural products and makes a number of recommendations toward addressing them.
If these recommendations are implemented, the BADC said, it will be possible to earn an estimated $1.634 billion in the fiscal 2021-22 and $2 billion in 2022-23 through exports of vegetables, potatoes, fruits and processed agricultural products.
The draft roadmap presented by Deputy Director of the Department of Agricultural Marketing Dr Mohammad Raju Ahmed proposes engaging farmers through contracts and educating them in the importance of safe and quality products by following Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).
The roadmap also proposes the installation and allocation of separate gates, spaces and scanner machines for agricultural products at the airport cargo space. It proposes allocating 20 to 25% of space in all aircraft for compulsory transport of agricultural products.
BADC Chief Coordinator Dr Md Rezaul Karim presented a separate draft roadmap on increasing potato exports, where he said Bangladesh has the potential of exporting 80,000 tonnes of potato next year, 1.2 lakh tonnes in 2023, 1.8 lakh tonnes in 2024, and 2.5 lakh tonnes in 2025.
Minister of Agriculture Abdur Razzaque was the chief guest at the event.
The roadmap also calls for rescheduling of air fares, setting up of state-of-the-art cold storage facilities on 1 acre of land under the supervision of the BADC in the airport area and acceptance of accreditation certificates by globally recognised accreditation boards for and setting up of an international standard lab in Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
To increase exports of potatoes, it has been recommended that the export market be surveyed to determine export targets and estimates according to the varieties of exportable goods. BADC, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) and Bangladesh Potato Exporters Association (BPEA) will carry out practical research on potential varieties as per projections. Until new varieties available for export are available, seeds have to be imported at subsidized prices, the roadmap suggests.
It also recommends a quick distribution of healthy varieties of potatoes among farmers in order to facilitate the eradication of common diseases in potatoes.