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Speakers urge for Good Agricultural Practice to increase exports

  • Published at 12:21 am June 29th, 2018
Speakers at 'Knowledge Dissemination on Bangladesh GAP' yesterdayCourtesy
Speakers at 'Knowledge Dissemination on Bangladesh GAP' on Thursday Courtesy

Speaking as the chief guest, Ministry of Agriculture Additional Secretary Dr Md Abdur Rouf stressed the need for incorporating GAP in order to ensure export competitiveness

Speakers at a seminar on Thursday urged the adoption of Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) in Bangladesh, in order increase the export of agricultural products.

The call came at a seminar titled “Knowledge Dissemination on Bangladesh GAP,” organized by the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) in cooperation with USAID’s Agriculture Value Chain (AVC) Project at the DCCI auditorium in Dhaka.

GAP is an internationally established set of principles, regulations and technical recommendations for sustainable agricultural production. Applicable to production and processing, as well as transport, GAP addresses human health care, protection of the environment and the improvement of working conditions.

Speaking as the chief guest, Ministry of Agriculture Additional Secretary Dr Md Abdur Rouf stressed the need for incorporating GAP in order to ensure export competitiveness.

“We have a plan to double our agriculture production by 2030. Our vegetable export was $81.03 million in 2016-17 and export of agricultural products was $553.17 million,” he added, identifying the agriculture sector as a potential area for export diversification.  

Dr Abdur Rouf further said that a new agriculture policy would be passed soon, which includes emphasis on the production of value added crops, land zoning and GAP.

Presenting the keynote paper, Kazi Md Saiful Islam, additional director of the Department of Agricultural Extension, said: “Internationally, GAP is practiced for safe food, but our farmers are not very aware of GAP as we have shortages in GAP auditors, trainers, technology, certification bodies and testing laboratories.”

“GAP is essential not only for agriculture export but it is now a demand of local market as well. We need to strengthen our certification body,” he added.

Meanwhile, DCCI Director Imran Ahmed said, “In Bangladesh, the contribution of agriculture to the GDP is 14.75% and the sector also constitutes 40.6% of total employment. To enter international markets, especially in Europe and the US, GAP and other standards need to be strictly maintained.”

He also criticized the rampant use of pesticides and insecticides during production, as well as the use of ripening agents and the preservative formaldehyde, which make crops unsuitable for human consumption. 

He also identified a lack of cold storage facilities, the presence of transportation bottlenecks, post-harvest loss, poor packaging, and a dearth of quality control, laboratories and warehousing as some of the challenges to implementing GAP.

Md Azahar Ali, additional director of the Department of Agricultural Extension, and A H M Rezaul Kabir, secretary general of the DCCI, were present at the seminar, among others.