The cost of yielding vegetables is high in many other countries, making it more convenient for those nations to import from Bangladesh
Bangladesh has witnessed a boom in vegetable exports, worth $180 million until April of the current fiscal year compared to $164 million until the same month last fiscal year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Earlier this week, Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzak had said that Bangladesh has immense opportunities to export vegetables and fruits — especially to European and Middle-Eastern countries.
The minister said that in the last fiscal year, $850 million worth of goods were exported from the agriculture sector, out of which $164 million was from vegetable exports.
Vegetable exporters and farmers noted that the cost of yielding vegetables is high in many other countries, making it more convenient for those nations to import vegetables from Bangladesh.
The possibility of exporting vegetables to foreign markets is infinite, they said.
Bangladesh Fruits, Vegetables and Allied Products Exporters' Association Joint Secretary Gobinda Chandra Saha said this soaring export volume is a result of collective coordination from farmers to exporters.
He also said that most of the summer vegetables are exported from Bangladesh between July and August.
“International quality laboratories are required to further expand to the export market,” he added.
Md Iqbal Hossain, an exporter of M/S JP Enterprise, said: “We want to increase the export of vegetables. Cargo is a big barrier for exports. In the last meeting with the Agriculture Ministry, authorities have assured us they will solve laboratory and carriage facilities.”
Hossain Agro Farm’s Manager Badal Rahman said that for further expansion of exports, farming of safe vegetables through contracted farmers and advanced agricultural practices is essential.
“There is also a need for proper management and storage and improved packaging and transportation at various phases,” he added.
Farmer Mokbul Hossain of Manikganj said vegetables are much more profitable than any other crop yields.
“We are happy that exports are increasing and we want a fair price and bank support,” he added.
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Nazrul Islam, a former economics professor at the University of Dhaka, said: “Importance should be given on training farmers for production of non-toxic and safe vegetables. Organic farming at the field level must be ensured.”
He also suggested developing specific vegetable production areas in different parts of the country.
“Farmers should be given training on how to produce safe vegetables, and the application of chemical fertilizer should be supervised by the local agriculture division. The carrier fare needs to be reduced to facilitate exports as well,” the economist added.
He also noted that diplomatic communication is vital for the market expansion of Bangladeshi vegetables.