Better value chain needed to ensure fair prices of farm products: experts

Better value chain needed to ensure fair prices of farm products: experts
12 November 2020
A farmer nurtures green chilli plants at a field at Dhunat in Bogura recently. — Focusbangla photo

Experts on Sunday stressed the need for establishing specialised technology-based modern supply chain infrastructure, ensuring good agricultural practice (GAP), removing monopoly of intermediaries for strengthening the country’s food value chain.

At a webinar on ‘Food value chain: in the time of COVID-19’, they also said that strengthening of food value chain was the most important way to ensure fair prices of agricultural products.

The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry organised the webinar.

DCCI president Shams Mahmud said that small entrepreneurs in fish production, poultry and dairy industry were not engaged in the value chain that deprived them of getting fair prices of the produces.

He urged for establishing specialised technology-based modern supply chain infrastructure, removing monopoly of intermediaries and providing fiscal incentives and adequate policy support to farmers for the development of food value chain.

Market research and capacity building of private sector producers and processors are also important to survive in the competitive market, he said.

Bangladesh Agricultural University food technology and rural industries department professor M Burhan Uddin said that farmers, except fish farmers, were deprived of their fair share of profits due to failure in controlling activities of intermediate players such as middlemen and hoarders.

‘Existing food and agriculture value chain should be reversed to ensure fair profit margin for farmers by reducing the margin for middlemen,’ he said.

He also recommended upgrading enabling environment for agro-business, lower cost of doing business, technology adoption, food safety, implementing good agricultural practice, introducing contract farming and access to finance to the sectors such as freshwater aquaculture, poultry, dairy and crops cultivation.

Agriculture minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque said that the country would have to ensure tech-based production and modernisation of agriculture for adequate supply of nutritious food.

Regarding value addition in agriculture outputs, he said that commercialisation of agriculture would facilitate the private sector to invest more to establish import-substitute industries in the country.

The government has allocated two acres of land for an internationally accredited laboratory and agro processing centre at Purbachol in Dhaka.

Bangladesh Food Safety Authority member Monzur Morshed Ahmed said that there should be a certification body to monitor food safety issues and enhance safe food value chain.

Kernel Foundation chairman Saleh Ahmed urged for the implementation of good agricultural practices and good manufacturing practices to avoid food contamination.

He also called upon for adoption of on-farm and off-farm food safety measures, infrastructure development, technology and international standard packaging.

Bangladesh Agro Processors’ Association general secretary Md Iqtadul Hoque demanded curtail of influence of middlemen in the supply chain.

PRAN-RFL director (finance) Uzma Chowdhury said that food value chain covered the interventions by producers, processors, distributors and consumers.

Ensuring fair price for the growers would ensure the sector’s sustainability, she said.

Moreover, modern transport network will help reduce wastages of perishable agro-food, she said.

She also urged the government to introduce insurance facility for farmers.

Unimart-United Group director Malik Talha Ismail Bari called upon to create awareness among the downstream agro producers regarding storage, production, backward linkage and easy transport system for a sustainable food value chain.

DCCI senior vice-president NKA Mobin, among others, also spoke at the programme.