Jackfruit: Export Opportunities for Bangladesh's Economy
There is a reason why jackfruit is Bangladesh's national fruit. It grows in abundance across the country, particularly in the highland areas. Madhupur and Bhawal are among the top areas where jackfruit production is high. Once considered a backyard fruit, jackfruit now has the potential to become an export item - offering new economic opportunities and providing a sustainable food source for the population. In this article, we will explore how jackfruit can become a game-changer. Why Jackfruit? According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, about 1.5 million metric tons of jackfruit are produced in Bangladesh every year. Researchers observed that in the last few years, about 45% of this total production, i.e., about 5 lakh tons of jackfruit were wasted. During jackfruit season, fruits like mango and litchi are available in the market, and it is difficult to process jackfruit for eating as compared to these fruits. Most people in Bangladesh think that jackfruit can only be eaten when it is ripe. There is a lack of interest in consuming unripe jackfruit. So a large part of the jackfruit produced in Bangladesh is wasted every year. Read More: Delicious Jackfruit Recipes to Try Out Today Keeping these issues in mind, researchers are trying to make food products with jackfruit that are easy to preserve for several months. Thus, they are aiming to reduce wastage and open up new economic prospects for the country. Products Made Using Jackfruit In recent times, various types of delicious foods are being prepared from jackfruit in Bangladesh, which includes jackfruit jam, pickles, chutney, chips, cutlets, ice cream, curd, ready-to-cook jackfruit, fresh cut (vegetable meat), jackfruit powder, and various other packaged products. Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute has developed these products for the first time in Bangladesh. Customers can find these products in several supermarkets and retail markets across the country. Between 2019 and 2022, the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute partnered with NewVision Solutions Limited to carry out a three-year research program, titled "Jackfruit Postharvest Loss Reduction and Marketing Strategy". The objective of this program was to prevent the wastage of jackfruit and explore its various uses. Read More: 7 Nutritious, Delicious Jackfruit Recipes for Curries, Snacks, Salads As part of the project, the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute provided training to around 700-800 individuals on the production and marketing of jackfruit. These individuals are now engaged in producing a variety of jackfruit products. Additionally, the institute is also offering free training to anyone who is interested in learning more about producing jackfruit products. Initially, the researchers focused their efforts on studying four products, namely jackfruit chips, pickles, fresh cuts, and dried products, as part of the project. However, they have now come to realize that jackfruit can be utilized as a resource for over 30 different products. According to researchers, the market demand for fresh-cut or unripe jackfruit is higher than that for other jackfruit products. This benefits farmers, as a single jackfruit that would usually sell for Tk 60-70 can be sold for Tk 200-250 as fresh-cut jackfruit. Read More: Corona, Amphan: Popular jackfruit haat in Jashore takes a hit Currently, a range of food items, such as unripe jackfruit vegetable rolls, cutlets, and shingara, are being prepared in the market. Meanwhile, ripe jackfruit juice is being used to make ice cream, cakes, and fruit roll-ups. In addition to that, these products made using jackfruit are already creating employment in the country. On the other hand, there is a demand for these products in the international market as well.
Utilise export opportunities emerging due to Russia-Ukraine war: PM Hasina
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today (March 20, 2023) put emphasis on formulating new long term export policy for Bangladesh, considering graduation to a developing country from LDC after 2026. “After 2026, while we will graduate to a developing country from LDC, we will get some opportunities… We have to utilise those opportunities to make our economy stronger and develop the country further,” she said. The prime minister said this while speaking at the 11th meeting of the National Committee on Export, at her official residence Ganabhaban. She mentioned that after graduating to a developing nation, the next aim will be to become a developed one. Read More: Canada to increase potash exports to Bangladesh to boost food production, says country’s trade ministry Sheikh Hasina also asked the concerned to utilise opportunities regarding enhancing Bangladesh’s export items that have emerged due to Russia-Ukraine war. She said that due to Russia-Ukraine was, there is an opportunity for Bangladesh to create new markets with its own products. In this regard, she said that many countries have already shown interest to import food items from Bangladesh. “We could export food items after fulfilling local demands. We can take initiatives for that,” she said. Read More: Simplified policy, product diversification could boost exports to UK over $12 billion by 2029: Study says She said that immense opportunities could be created through establishing food processing industries in the country and export those items. The PM said that the government has given importance to the export sector. “After assuming office, we have taken steps to formulate long term export policies instead of policies on one-year basis. To sustain achievements, there is no alternative to long term strategy,” she said. She said that the government has formulated export policy until 2024 (2021-2024). Read More: Apparel export to EU up 14.3% during July-February of FY23 “…But what will we do after that? In the meantime, we are graduating to a developing country. I think this is the right time to consider what we will do in the coming days or how we will advance,” she said. She put emphasis on setting the next moves for economy, keeping in mind the current economic turmoil across the globe. “We have to find new markets across the globe. We have to diversify our products, we have to include new items in our export basket,” she said. The PM said that the Awami League government has given utmost importance to the private sector and it opened every sector to entrepreneurs as it is not possible for the government alone to develop the country. Read More: 'India a great potential market for Bangladesh's RMG exports' For the development of the export sector, she said, a strategy needs to be adopted and products have to be identified. “For that we have formulated a prospective plan – to turn the country into a developed one by 2041,” she said. The PM also mentioned ICT and digital devices, RMG, pharmaceuticals, light and medium weight industries, motor vehicles and electronic motor vehicles, while talking about diversifying products. She said that the government is preparing 100 economic zones with investment from home and abroad. Read More: Bangladesh export income rises despite bad global economy “Bangladesh has been able to attract foreign investments,” PM Hasina said.
Canada to increase potash exports to Bangladesh to boost food production, says country’s trade ministry
Canada is set to increase its potash exports to Bangladesh this year – aiming to strengthen food production and security in Bangladesh and support the country’s agricultural sector. The agreement to increase the supply of potash was signed between the Canadian Commercial Corporation, Saskatchewan-based Canpotex (one of the world’s largest suppliers), and the government of Bangladesh, the Canadian Trade Ministry said in a statement released on March 17. “The sale of Canadian potash to Bangladesh, made possible through the hard work of the Canadian Commercial Corporation, shows our commitment to being a reliable partner and quality supplier of agricultural products in the Indo-Pacific region. Canada is a global leader in helping to address challenges in global supply chains, all while promoting Canadian values and protecting good, middle-class Canadian jobs,” Mary Ng, Canadian Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, said while announcing the agreement. Read More: Canada wants agro collaboration with Bangladesh, says visiting minister The agreement – under the country’s new Indo-Pacific strategy – will help Bangladesh address the increased food insecurity caused by the Russia-Ukraine war, according to the Canadian trade ministry statement. The Canadian Commercial Corporation has been supplying potash to Bangladesh since 2014. In 2022, Canada exported more than $500 million worth of potash to Bangladesh. According to Bangladesh Fertilizer Association (BFA), Bangladesh imported 80% of its potash requirements from Russia and Belarus and about 20% from Canada in recent years. However, due to sanctions and payment-related complications since the Russia-Ukraine war broke out, Bangladesh is not able to import potash from Russia and Belarus. Read More: BGMEA for Bangladesh mission's support for explore more trade opportunities in Canada
Apparel export to EU up 14.3% during July-February of FY23
The European Union's (EU) apparel imports from Bangladesh saw 14.29 percent growth during the first eight months of fiscal 2022-23, $15.72 billion from $13.75 billion in July-February FY22, according to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). Germany being the largest European market fetched $4.62 billion, marking a 1.03 percent negative growth compared to the same period of the previous year. Apparel exports to France and Spain rose by 27.65 percent ($1.89 billion) and 18.79 percent (2.35 billion), respectively. However, exports to Bulgaria and Poland showed 51.21 percent and 15.06 percent year-on-year negative growth. "During the mentioned period, our exports to the US fell by 2.87 percent year-on-year. However, apparel exports to Canada and the UK saw 20.05 percent and 14.52 percent year-on-year growth, respectively," Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Director Md Mohiuddin Rubel said. "During the first eight months of FY23, our exports to the US, the UK and Canada were $5.68 billion, $3.36 billion, and $980 million, respectively," he added. "At the same time, exports to the non-traditional markets increased by 35.02 percent to $5.69 billion. Among the major non-traditional markets, our exports to Japan, Australia, India and South Korea reached $1.07 billion, $767.75 million, $753.92 million and $387.63 million, respectively," Rubel said. Also read: 2022 was a year of turning around: BGMEA
Bangladeshi diplomats have to be active in strengthening economic diplomacy: PM in Doha
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday (March 06, 2023) asked Bangladeshi diplomats to play an active role in strengthening economic diplomacy in order to sustain the country’s graduation to the developing status through enhancing trade and export with different countries. “Bangladeshi diplomats working in different countries will have to be active in strengthening economic diplomacy alongside brightening the image of the country,” she said. The premier gave the directive at a regional envoy conference, held at her place of residence in Doha, with participation of Bangladeshi diplomats stationed in the Middle Eastern countries. She said since Bangladesh is going to graduate to a developing country, attention is needed on countries where Bangladesh could enhance its trade and business. Read more: Qatar Foundation Chair Nasser meets PM “You will have to discuss and negotiate with all the countries, so that we can sustain as a developing country, move forward, and can finally graduate to a developed country,” she said. Sheikh Hasina said once diplomacy was a political issue, and now it is an economic issue. “So, those of us who are working (in different countries) will have to identify trade and business opportunities there so that we can boost our exports and import goods at competitive prices.” “Identify the places where there is demand for our products and where we have the scope to market our goods,” she added. Referring to the policy of Bangladesh to maintain good relations with all countries, the PM reiterated the cornerstone of the country’s foreign policy is ‘friendship to all, malice towards none.’ Read More: Bangladesh open to Qatar’s investment in energy sector: PM tells Doha Investment Summit The premier said Bangladesh would maintain friendly relations with everyone. But when injustice is done, Bangladesh will definitely speak out while maintaining friendly relations, as it did with Myanmar. “…We gave shelter to the Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds, but we did not engage in conflict with Myanmar. Bangladesh is making diplomatic efforts to send the Rohingyas back to their homeland,” she said. Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni and Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, among others, were present at the conference. The Prime Minister is now visiting Qatar to attend the Fifth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDC-5). She arrived in Qatar last Saturday at the invitation of Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh is scheduled to leave here for Dhaka on Wednesday. Read More: PM Sheikh Hasina arrives in Qatar to join UN conference on LDCs.
Top 10 Export-Earning Products of Bangladesh
Bangladesh’s export earnings hit a record high of $52.08 billion in FY22. However, inflation and economic slowdown across the world impacted the country's export earnings. Though clothing is the main export product of Bangladesh, the export basket includes many other products that contribute significantly to the economy. Let’s take a look at Bangladesh’s top export products. 10 Major Exportable Products of Bangladesh Bringing Highest Earning Besides the apparel industry, small factories of various export products have been developed in all corners of the country by private initiatives. Here are the product categories that bring the highest foreign exchanges for Bangladesh. 1. Readymade Garments In Fiscal Year (FY) 2021-2022, the export value of Bangladesh’s Ready-Made Garment (RMG) sector reached an estimated $31.46 billion or approximately Tk. 3,33,639 crore (the exchange rate is equivalent to Tk. 106.05), which was a growth compared to the previous year’s figure of $27.95 billion or approximately Tk. 2,96,415 crore (the exchange rate is equivalent to Tk. 106.05). Read More: BGMEA, SOWTEX to help connect more Bangladeshi RMG exporters with Indian textile suppliers The RMG exports of Bangladesh comprise a wide range of knitwear and woven garments, including shirts, pants, T-shirts, jeans, jackets, and sweaters. Notably, the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) statistics indicate that knitwear products saw a remarkable rise of 36.88% to $23.2 billion, or approximately Tk. 2,46,040 crore, outstripping woven garments, which increased by 33.82% to $19.4 billion or Tk. 2,05,741 crore approximately. This surge in the apparel industry has had a great impact on Bangladesh’s economic development. The major foreign markets for Bangladesh’s RMG exports in FY22 were the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Canada, and Belgium. 2. Jute and Jute Products Bangladesh is one of the leading exporters of jute and jute products in the world. The country has a long history of jute cultivation and manufacture, dating back to the colonial era. Bangladesh’s jute industry is in the middle of a period of immense success. Read More: Export of jute products a boon for Satkhira women.
Shrimp industry reels from changing demand patterns, slump in world economy
Bangladesh’s shrimp export industry was already facing major declines, as 72 percent of the world’s shrimp market is occupied by vannamei shrimp, also known as white leg shrimp, while the country mainly exports black tiger shrimp, or ‘bagda’, and scampi shrimp, or ‘galda’. According to industry sources, Bangladesh's shrimp export business suffered another major setback as the current global economic slump also took a heavy toll on the world's food market. As a result, one of the major export items of Bangladesh, shrimp, has lost 80 percent of its previous demand on the world market. On top of that, export prices decreased by 40 percent. Read More: Exporters worry about losing markets as shrimp adulteration continues unabated Exporters and traders urged the government to approve commercial vannamei farming promptly. “Due to the high demand for vannamei shrimp in the world market, bagda and golda shrimp are gradually losing market share in the western market. Against the backdrop of the ongoing global economic recession, demand for bagda and galda shrimp from Bangladesh dropped by 80% in the previous year,” said S. Humayun Kabir, vice president of the Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters’ Association.
Bangladesh, S Korea bilateral trade reach record high crossing USD 3 billion in 2022
According to the statistics of South Korea International Trade Association, the trade volume between South Korea and Bangladesh in 2022 recorded USD 3.035 billion, 38.71% up from 2021 which was USD 2.188 billion. Bangladesh’s export to Korea increased by 22.9% with USD 678 million in 2022 from USD 552 million in the previous year while Korea’s export to Bangladesh rose by 44.1% with USD 2.357 billion in 2022 from USD 1.636 billion in 2021. Bangladesh’s export to Korea has been continuously increasing since it crossed for the first time USD 100 million in 2007 and reached USD 200 million in 2011 and USD 300 million in 2013. Read more: South Korea keen for further development of ICT infrastructures, digital technology of Bangladesh: Envoy But it had remained stagnant for about a decade then after and shrunk by 2.9% in 2020 recording USD 393 million due to the adverse impact of COVID-19 pandemic, according to South Korean Embassy in Dhaka. However, it witnessed a big rebound in 2021 to USD 552 million with a sharp increase of 40.4% year-on-year, and recorded another record high of USD 678 million in 2022 with 22.9% year-on-year increase. The main export items of Bangladesh to Korea are RMG, sports and leisure items and bronze scraps, etc. RMG which accounts for 83.2% of total export to Korea recorded USD 564 million in 2022, increasing 25.8% year-on-year, while paper products and favorite food skyrocketed by 168.6% and 165% with USD 3.6 million and USD 3.1 million respectively. Export of bronze scrap rose by 41.8% with USD 17.76 million. Korea’s export to Bangladesh which peaked with USD 1.63 billion in 2011 fell sharply and hovered at USD 1.2 billion for almost one decade. In 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic it further deepened to USD 1.03 billion in 2020. In 2021 after a decade of stagnation, it finally rebounded to USD 1.636 billion in 2021, increasing 58.3% year-on-year and to USD 2.357 billion in 2022 with 44.1% year-on-year increase. Read more: Bangladesh ready to serve global industry: Palak says at Bangladesh-S Korea Drone Road Show However, the increase of Korea’s export to Bangladesh in 2021 and 2022 was mainly led by the hike of Bangladesh’s import of diesel from Korea which rose by 703.8% to USD 972 million in 2022. Korea’s export of diesel to Bangladesh rose by 450% in 2021 to USD 121 million. While other major export items of Korea to Bangladesh are machinery, petrochemical product, steel and pesticides, etc., they all saw a decrease in 2022. It appears to be mainly due to the import restrictions imposed by the Bangladesh Government due to the foreign reserves situation in the country in the aftermath of the Ukraine-Russian war. Ambassador Lee Jang-keun said that the year of 2023 which marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Korea and Bangladesh will mark a momentous turning point in the bilateral ties between the two countries overcoming the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic and global economic challenges derived from Russian-Ukraine war. He also hoped that Bangladesh business sector takes advantage of the preferential trade policy of Korea which provides duty and quota free access to the Korean market by 95 % of the Bangladesh products since 2008. Export to Korea, a non-traditional market, will also be given a benefit of receiving at least 4% of cash incentives by the Bangladesh government.
BGMEA eyes expanding RMG exports to Japan
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has said the country's apparel industry has continued its efforts to explore new and promising markets like Japan and seize every available opportunity. BGMEA President Faruque Hassan said: "We have been carrying out apparel diplomacy and trade missions to find new opportunities for Bangladesh's RMG industry and realise untapped potential." Faruque made the observations while exchanging views with Hajime Suzuki, chief director of International Sales and Marketing at RX Japan, in Dhaka Monday (January 23, 2023). Kurena Watabe of RX Japan was also present. Read: RMG manufacturer CKDL partners with Singapore firm to ensure workers' financial wellness RX Japan is a leading exhibition organiser in Japan. The two sides discussed possible collaboration between BGMEA and RX Japan to initiate trade communication between businessmen in Bangladesh and Japan, particularly those involved in the fashion industry. Bangladeshi businessmen would be able to showcase strengths and capabilities by participating in apparel exhibitions in Japan while Japanese buyers and investors would get the opportunity to explore their trade potential in Bangladesh, they said. Read more: BGMEA, Jetro want to expand Japan-Bangladesh trade
Exporters worry about losing markets as shrimp adulteration continues unabated
Despite drives by police, Rab and the Fisheries Department in Bagerhat over the past few years to stop adulteration of shrimp, the unscrupulous practices of dishonest traders continue unabated. Shrimps from Khulna, Bagerhat and Satkhira districts are exported to several countries. Injecting jelly, water, rice starch, and harmful substances into shrimps to increase their weight and earn extra profits are causing concern among exporters and consumers. Shrimp exporters fear they may lose the overseas markets if shrimp adulteration continues. Shrimp was once the second-most exported product from Bangladesh but in the last few years it failed to hold up against the growing global competition and currently holds the seventh position among top exported goods from Bangladesh. Read more: Over 1000 kg shrimps injected with jelly seized in Chandpur In the last six months (July-December), mobile courts in Bagerhat seized some 1,660 kg of shrimp while traders were injecting jelly-like substances into them. Executive magistrates and the Bagerhat District Fisheries Office (DFO) conducted 17 mobile court drives in various areas of the district, including Bagerhat Sadar, Fakirhat, Mollahat, Chitalmari, Rampal, and Mongla during the period.