Agro-processing business prospect bright in Rajshahi
RAJSHAHI, Feb 13, 2024 (BSS) - Prospect of agro-processing enterprise is very bright in the Rajshahi region, including its vast Barind tract, as it produces surplus crops especially food-grains, fruits and vegetables.
President of Rajshahi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) Masudur Rahman said the region, a food surplus area, has been producing adequate crops particularly rice, maize, wheat, fruits especially mango, banana, papaya and tomato and vegetables for the last couple of decades due to its suitable soil condition, topography and climate.
Vegetables like potato, cauliflower, white gourd, bean, spinach, puin, pea and baby corn are largely produced in the region with broccoli, carrot, celery, capsicum and strawberry, he said.
Rahman said the Bangabandhu Multipurpose Jamuna Bridge contributes a lot to improving communication in the northern region, creating wider scopes of marketing for additionally produced of cereals, fruits, vegetables and even livestock over the years.
"In fact, this has opened up many opportunities for agro- business in the region," he said, stressing the need for uninterrupted power supply and availability of natural gas to help set up agro-based small, medium and big industries in northern districts.
The chamber leader urged the government to upgrade the Rajshahi Airport for directly exporting the processed agri-products, fresh vegetables and fruits to different Middle Eastern and European countries.
He underscored the need for setting up agro-processing industries to ensure maximum utilization of agricultural products.
Establishment of agro-processing industries would encourage the farmers to grow more high valued products for their higher income, he said.
He also said the agro-based industries account for about 50 percent of the country's total industries, employing 60 percent of the total labour force in the industrial sector.
Muhammad Ali Sarker, a business man in the region, said the region has now been fulfilling 52 percent of the country's total food demand along with supplying 76 percent raw-materials of the country's agro-based industries.
The region alone produces 49 percent of the country's total mango production and there is an ample opportunity for establishment of mango-based industries here, he said.
Abdur Rahman, Deputy Managing Director of Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank, said the northwest region, known as the granary of Bangladesh, alone produces nearly one-third of total rice of the country.
He said there is ample opportunity to extract edible oil from rice bran in the region by setting up a large number of medium sized rice-bran oil processing mills.
The districts of Rajshahi, Naogaon, Chapainawabgonj, Natore and Dinajpur produce good quality aromatic rice as there is a tremendous scope to export the aromatic rice, Rahman said.
He said maize production can be doubled and quadrupled within a short time in the region with a little effort through establishing backward and forward linkage among the maize growers, buyers and entrepreneurs.
Required number of feed mills can be established for meeting demand in the wake of flourishing poultry industries in the country.
Shamsul Wadud, Additional Director of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), described 'value addition to agricultural products and agro-processing' as very much consistent with the government policy as due emphasis is being given to the agro-processing at present.
Other business leaders, bankers, agronomists and researchers here also focused on the agricultural potentials of the region with special emphasis on value-added agro-processing opportunities and agro-based industries.
It could add to the industrialization efforts of agro-based and agro-processing industry in the region for a sustainable and well-formed linkage of production, processing and marketing, they said.