The country’s income from agricultural products has increased eightfold in 12 years
Bangladesh’s export earnings from its agricultural products hit the $ 1 billion mark for the first time in 2020-21, registering an increase of nearly 20% from the previous year’s figure in the middle of a prolonged Covid-19 pandemic.
Exports of agricultural products have grown tremendously over the past 12 years, reaching the country’s $ 1,028 million in the last fiscal year. In contrast, export earnings amounted to just $ 122 million in 2008-09.
The contribution of agricultural products to total national export earnings has more than tripled over the past 12 years, from just 0.78% in 2008-09 to 2.87% in 2020-2021, according to Bureau statistics. promotion of exports (EPB).
What is driving this growth?
Year over year, the volume of exports shows an increase of almost 20%, from $ 862 million in 2019-2020 to $ 1,028 million in the last fiscal year.
Of all the subsectors, dry foods saw the largest increase (46%), from $ 193 million in 2019-2020 to $ 283 million in 2020-21, while fruit exports also increased by 18%.
But vegetable exports fell 27%, from $ 164 million to $ 119 million.
Bangladesh’s agricultural export basket now includes a more diverse range of products, from ready-to-eat dry sweets to fruits and vegetables, tobacco to tea and cut flowers to spices.
Market sources believe that in recent years Bangladesh’s wheat imports have increased dramatically, but not all flour, made from imported wheat, is turned into confectionery products intended solely for domestic consumption; on the contrary, a good volume of flour-based biscuits and ready-to-eat bakery products are exported mainly to some countries in South Asia and the Middle East.
What is the challenge for continued growth?
Exporters of vegetables, fruits and other perishable agricultural products firmly believe that Bangladesh can earn well over $ 1 billion from agricultural exports. They believe that the country’s full potential has yet to be tapped.
They said exporters often do not have sufficient political support and available freight space for their product shipments.
Exporters believe they can export more vegetables, fruits and other agricultural products provided the government sets up more processing and packaging facilities, a packing station, a hygienic freight village , proper infrastructure at airports and more air cargo facilities.
Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Extension Department officials say exporters need to improve product quality, ensure sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and adopt good agricultural practices (GAP) to capture greater market share export.