Bangladesh will start exporting of papadum, a non-traditional mouth-watering appetiser, soon as an initiative of export diversification drive, said a top official of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) yesterday.At the momentCountry's export is highly concentrated on garment items as the diversification is not taking place over the years.
“But, this year we will start exporting papadum mainly to the UK and other European countries as the quality and other standards of the items have been upgraded,” said EPB vice-chairman Shubhashish Bose in an interview with The Daily Star Wednesday.
Many farmers and small entrepreneurs in the Northern districts, especially in Dinajpur district will be highly benefited if the papadum export can be accomplished successfully, he said.
The EPB has been working on 14 non-traditional items in different districts over the last few years to attain export quality, he said. The quality of those non-traditional items has been improved in phases, he said adding the quality of papadum is at the final stage now.
“We have improved quality of papadum in Dinajpur district and I think now it is exportable,” he said. The demand for such items in UK is very high, especially in Bangladeshi and Indian restaurants, Bose said.
Bose said the EPB has also been working on agor 'ator' (the essence of fragrant Agor trees) from Sylhet and Moulvibazar, rubber from Bandarban and earthen tiles from Satkhira to improve the quality and make them exportable ones.
The EPB will also showcase the country's non-traditional export items along with the traditional ones at the month-long 19th Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF) that started at the city's Agargaon area from January 11.
Regarding the DITF, Bose also said every procedure has been already completed for holding the DIFT 2014.
This year, companies from Bangladesh and 12 other countries will showcase their products and services in total 480 stalls and pavilions while in last year, the number of stalls and pavilions was 497. This year, 27 stalls have been allocated to the foreign companies, he said.
Companies from India, Pakistan, UAE, Singapore, Thailand, USA and Turkey will participate in the fair.
Bose is hopeful of a successful fair despite the current political turmoil, as the government has already ensured adequate security measures through deploying members of the law enforcement agencies.
He said the main objectives of holding such a mega event every year are diversification of export and markets of Bangladeshi goods to overseas markets.
On market expansion, Bose said besides EU, US and Canada, Bangladesh's export is also growing in some emerging markets like Japan, India, China, Malaysia, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico and Chile.
In last year, orders worth Tk. 157 crore were bagged in the DITF. “This year I hope the amount will be bigger than the last year,” he said.
The writer is the senior staff reporter, The Daily Star