A three-day international food expo begins in the capital tomorrow (Thursday) aiming to create an avenue for greater interaction among the local and international food processing players.
Some 250 companies from 16 countries across the globe will participate in the exposition styled 'the 5th BAPA Foodpro International Expo 2017' to be held at the International Convention City Bashundhara (ICCB) and organised by the Bangladesh Agro-Processors' Association (BAPA).
BAPA made the announcement at a press conference at the National Press Club (NPC) in the city on Tuesday.
The fair will remain open from 10:00am to 7:00pm every day.
Besides the food expo, two other fairs - 'the 7th Agro Bangladesh Expo' and 'the 4th Rice & Graintech Expo' - will also be simultaneously held at the same venue. Bangladesh Auto Major Husking Mill Owners Association (BAMHMOA), E3 Solutions Ltd and BAPA will jointly organise these events.
Food Minister Qamrul Islam will inaugurate the expositions, according to the organisers.
Two technical sessions will also take place during the fairs where experts and stakeholders will present papers on agro processing industries and their business opportunities.
BAPA President A F M Fakhrul Islam Munshi said the expositions will be strong platforms for organisations involved in this sector to showcase their products and services both to Bangladeshi and international markets.
"We are expecting that these fair will attract all stakeholders from the retail, wholesale, beverage and other service sectors generating new businesses and connections for everyone," Fakhrul Islam Munshi said.
He said local agro processors have been organising similar fairs aiming also to boost exports.
He added that development of the local agro processing industries will help boost the agricultural sector and ensure prosperity of the peasants.
Munshi urged the government for setting up a central laboratory on PPP (public private partnership) basis for the agro processors which can be run locally to minimise testing costs and ensure maximum quality of a product.
Addressing the press conference, General Secretary of BAPA Masoodur Rahman said 479 members of their association are now exporting processed foods worth US $260 million annually to 140 countries.
He said they are expecting to raise the export to $1 billion by 2021.
Head of Marketing of Bombay Sweets & Co Ltd DD Ghosal put especial emphasis on contract farming for getting better raw materials and boosting exports.
BAMHMOA's first vice president Alhaj Abu Yusuf Bachchu urged the government to take steps for giving rice millers bank loans at single digit interest.
BAPA treasurer Md Golam Sharif Chowdhury, executive committee members Md Taiyabur Rahman, Mostafa Kamal and M Abdus Sattar, BAMHMOA organising secretary Md Abdul Aziz, E3 Solutions Ltd managing director Chanmohan Saha also spoke at the press conference.