Last Sunday, the drive to increase Bangladesh potato exports reached an important landmark with the inauguration of a special shipment, destined for Singapore, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Agriculture Secretary M. Nasiruzzaman was the chief guest at the inaugural function in Pairabandh in Mithapukur in Rangpur, while the Director-General (in-charge) of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) was special guest.
Bangladesh produces around 11 million tonnes of potatoes annually, but only a negligible amount is being exported. While internal potato consumption has remained steady, exports have been declining over the past few years, while production has actually been increasing, leaving many farmers unable to sell their surplus.
In order to exploit this export opportunity, FAO has been assisting farmers to increase their income by growing potatoes specifically for foreign markets.
FAO’s Missing Middle Initiative (MMI) project provided sixty farmers from three cooperatives with training, plus pre-production, inspection, and post-harvest assistance.
FAO also organised a buyer-seller meeting for officials from the Bangladesh Potato Exporters’ Association (BPEA) to meet smallholder potato farmers for the first time. Officials from the BPEA then liaised with foreign buyers to get specifications and orders.