The government is taking up a Tk 200 crore project to develop export-oriented vegetable gardens to increase vegetable export.
According to sources, the Ministry of Agriculture submitted a project proposal and is awaiting the approval of the National Economic Council.
"There may be some contribution in foreign funds but it would not be dependent on the donors," said a high official at the ministry.
Five government and non-government organisations will implement the massive project in the next five years.
The organisations are the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC), Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), Hortex Foundation, and Department of Agricultural Marketing.
"The main objective of the project is to motivate farmers into producing high quality vegetables items," said Agriculture Minister Motiur Rahman Nizami, who is now the industries minister.
He told The Daily Star that some demonstration fields would be developed under the project to motivate the farmers. The agriculture minister said the Export Promotion Bureau would also get involved with the project to ensure overseas export markets.
According to the project, high quality vegetables producing gardens would be developed and the produce would be marketed in the developed world after proper quality assurance and packaging.
The demonstration of fields would be developed in the main vegetables producing districts of Comilla, Kushtia, Chapainawabganj, Chandpur, Jessore, Narail, Gazipur and Narsingdi.
Bangladesh has been earning around $15million dollars by exporting fresh vegetables every year.
The expatriate Bangladeshis are the main consumers of fresh vegetables from Bangladesh. Six Middle East countries and Europe are the main market of Bangladeshi vegetables.
The super markets of the developed world do not as yet import fresh vegetables from Bangladesh for want of quality assurance and lack of proper freezing and preserving facilities.
The Hortex Foundation has developed a number of high quality vegetable gardens in the country and exported vegetables abroad through BRAC.
The export prospects of Bangladeshi vegetables are huge, as there is an annual market of $2,000 billion worth of fresh and processed vegetables in the world.
The main competitors of Bangladeshi products are India, Kenya, China, Turkey and Thailand.
Finance Minister M Saifur Rahman had on several occasions said the agriculture sector would get the highest priority in the next budget. He said the government would provide full support to develop agriculture sector and improve the quality of agriculture items.
However, agriculture minister Nizami said this project was taken up having integrated some other projects that started last year. During a pre-budget discussion with the finance minister, the agriculture ministry sought special allocation for agriculture research and agriculture sector rehabilitation in the event of any natural calamities.