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Bangladesh intent on boosting farm produce exports

In Bangladesh, these production of fresh products, particularly for export, has been one of the worst-hit areas during the pandemic. The recovery of the sector seems quite problematic. And alas, even before Covid-19 struck, Bangladesh's export of farm and horticulture produce and products was fraught with many disadvantages.  Accessing the markets fulfilling compliance norms was a major problem. There were efforts on the part of the government so that exporters of farm goods could mitigate the difficulties, but things did not materialise as expected, except in some isolated cases.

With the pandemic taking its toll on businesses as a whole, the moves got either mostly abandoned or halted. Experts feel that the moves taken were in the right direction, and it is high time those were put in place again to revamp exporting of farm products.

One of these key moves was contract farming. The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in an effort to meet compliance issues in overseas markets of Bangladesh's farm products had made it mandatory for exporters of primary and processed food products, especially vegetables and horticulture produce, to follow a few practices while procuring those for export. These among others include-following the steps involved in Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) and sourcing the produce under contract farming.

Contract farming involves agricultural production being carried out on the basis of an agreement between a buyer and farm producers. Sometimes it involves a buyer's specification of the quality required and the price offered, with the farmer agreeing to deliver accordingly.

More commonly, however, contracts outline conditions for the production of farm products and for their delivery to a buyer's premises. Experts hold that under contract faming, fruits such as bananas, pineapples among others can prove to be highly rewarding as exportable products from Bangladesh. Contract farming has become attractive to farmers in many countries because the arrangement can offer both an assured market and access to production support.

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