Agro-processing enterprise prospect bright in Rajshahi

Prospect of agro-processing enterprises is bright in the Rajshahi region as it produces surplus crops especially food-grains, fruits and vegetables, reports BSS. Business leaders, bankers, agronomists and researchers here viewed the region has enormous potentials for making agro-processing enterprises sustainable and profitable as it has been producing varieties of fruits and vegetables contributing to the national economy. They focused on the agricultural potentials of the region with special emphasis on value added agro-processing opportunities and agro-based industries. It could add to the industrialization efforts of agro-based and agro-processing industry in the region for a sustainable and well-formed linkage of production, processing and marketing. Md Muniruzzaman, President of Rajshahi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), said the region, a food surplus area, has been producing adequate crops particularly rice, maize, wheat, fruits especially mango, banana, papaya and tomato and vegetables for the last couple of decades by dint of its suitable soil condition, topography and climate.
Vegetables like potato, cauliflower, tomato, white gourd, bean, spinach, puin, pea and baby corn are produced in the region in larger amount side by side with broccoli, carrot, celery, capsicum and strawberry.
He said the Bangabandhu Multipurpose Jamuna Bridge contributes a lot in improving communication in the northern region, creating wider scopes for increased production of cereals, fruits, vegetables and livestock over the years. “In fact, this has opened up many opportunities for agro- business in the region,” he said stressing the need for uninterrupted power supply and availability of natural gas to help set up agro-based small, medium and big industries in northern districts.
The chamber leader urged the government to upgrade the Rajshahi Airport, making it an outlet for directly exporting the processed agri-products, fresh vegetables and fruits to different Middle Eastern and European countries. He underscored the need for setting up agro-processing industries to ensure maximum utilization of agricultural products.
Establishment of agro-processing industries would encourage the farmers to grow more high valued products for their higher income.
He termed the industrialization as the most relevant indicator of the country’s progress and prosperity.
He said the agro-based industries constitute about 50 percent of the country’s total industries, employing 60 percent of the total labour force in the industrial sector. Muhammad Ali Sarker, chairman of Zila Parishad, said the region has now been fulfilling 52 percent of the country’s total food demand along with supplying 76 percent raw-materials of the country’s agro-based industries. “Unfortunately, there is not any big industrial unit here,” he said.