Overpricing of essentials causing economic hardship more acute14 March 2023
Bangladesh offers huge opportunities for agribusiness and agro-processing thanks to the farmers' hard work, which has enabled the country to secure top positions in the global ranks for producing a number of items, namely fish, rice, potato and mango. The nation currently bags around 7 crore tonnes of agricultural products, a majority of which are rice and potato while fruits, vegetables and spices make up about 17 per cent.
Local firms process a portion of the produce for export and the domestic market, which is expected to expand in coming years owing to the rising income of the growing middle class and urbanisation. The potential for agribusiness is tremendous. There are business opportunities in agro-processing, marketing and distribution. Bangladesh exports 700 basic and processed products valued at around $2 billion while the domestic agro-processing market is worth more than $3 billion.
Globally, there is a huge opportunity for Bangladesh being an agricultural country. The agricultural market was $12,245 billion in 2022 and industry insiders projected it to reach $19,007 billion with a compound annual growth rate of 9.1 per cent by 2027. The country has abundant raw materials for the agri-business industry due to its tropical climate, year-round growing season, and plentiful freshwaters and fertile land. There are also opportunities in horticulture thanks to the growing demand for fresh fruits and vegetables in domestic and export markets. There are business prospects in grains and pulses, poultry, dairy and fisheries here too. For the value-added processing industry, the country uses a wide range of agricultural products, including rice, wheat, spices, pulses, fruits, vegetables, to make food and beverages.
There are opportunities in developing the capacity of molecular research and applied research in the crop and animal sectors. Meanwhile, the crop protection market, which comprises pesticides and other related accessories, is recorded at $550 million with 12 percent growth while that of agri-machineries is $1.2 million with 15 per cent growth. Besides, the animal health market, including nutrition and supplement, is worth more than $750 million and registers 10 percent growth. The value of the animal feed market is over $4 billion and is growing by 8 per cent annually.
Large conglomerates have come up with the support to expand agriculture but the overpricing of the essentials put ordinary people out of reaching food and nutrition sources. The government has a duty to provide food at an affordable price to all, and for that subsidiary to agriculture is direly necessary.