The Financial Express

Veg exports grow by 117pc in H1

FE REPORT | Published: January 18, 2020 10:26:42 | Updated: January 19, 2020 17:46:28

- FE file photo - FE file photo

Country's vegetables exports showed strong performance in the first half of the current fiscal year 2019-2020.

Insiders said improvement in compliance issues and opening markets by the European Union for Bangladeshi fresh crops have helped achieve such exponential growth.

A leap in cabbage, bean, brinjal, pointed gourd and potato exports contributed mostly to fetching US$128 million in the first six months of FY'20, about 117 per cent growth compared to that of the previous fiscal year, according to the state-run Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data.

Overall export of vegetables was worth $100 million in the FY '19.

Exports of farm products including vegetables, fruits, flower and foliage, tobacco, processed food, spices posted only 1.5 per cent growth by fetching $524 million in the first half of this fiscal year.

However, the exporters are expecting to make a one-billion dollar shipment this year. Bangladesh missed the target by a little margin last fiscal year.

According to EPB, total export of farm products was worth $909 million in FY'19, an all-time high.

Bangladesh exported more than 70 varieties of vegetables to 53 countries this fiscal year. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and UK were the leading importers, according to Bangladesh Fruit, Vegetable and Allied Products Exporters' Association (BFVAPEA).

BFVAPEA president SM Jahangir said efforts made by both the government and the private sector over quarantine issues have helped boost exports.

Local traders have gradually become more conscious of compliance. "After ensuring compliance with the conditions set by a certain country, we are exporting vegetables," he said.

Exporters are now bound to collect crops from the farmers who have adopted good agricultural practice (GAP), hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP), traceability and maximum residue limit (MRL).

Mr Jahangir said collecting crops from contract growers has been made compulsory for them under the supervision of Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) officers.

Md Arif Azad Prince, managing director of Masawa Agro Ltd, one of the leading vegetables exporters in the country, said this year exports of cabbage, pointed gourd, bean and potato increased notably.

"We have exported a good quantity of potato and cabbage to Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia this year."

EU countries opened their market for Bangladeshi vegetables including pointed gourd, teasel gourd and some other veggies after a long time in 2015, he added.

They exported a large amount of vegetables to EU, especially to UK this year, Mr Prince said, adding that traders in the northern regions exported handsome quantity of potatoes to neighbouring Nepal which resulted in a higher growth of veggie exports.

He took the view that the government should ensure more chilling facilities for fresh produce at major growing hubs including Narsingdi, Cumilla, Bogura, Rangpur, Jashore and Khulna.

The government has only one chilling and packaging centre at Shyampur in Dhaka, he said.

Sector insiders, however, said there is a huge potential in vegetable exports as the country makes only 45,000 tonnes-50,000 tonnes of vegetable shipment annually against its local production of 12.1 million tonnes.


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