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Development fair: Seaweeds, organic products woo visitors

  • Published at 12:15 am November 19th, 2019
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Planning Minister MA Mannan, third from left, attends the closing ceremony of Unnayan Mela at the Bangabandhu Int’l Conference Centre in Dhaka on Monday, November 19, 2019 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Many other organic food graded products were also put on sale at the development fair

Seaweeds, an aquatic product used in cooked foods and snacks, is being sold at the ongoing Unnayan Mela (development fair) 2019 on the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre premises in the capital. 

Integrated Development Foundation, a non-government organization, put the product on sale at the fair at a price of Tk100 each 100gm.

Md Safiuddin, an NGO researcher, working since 2002 on seaweeds, said that indigenous people were the main customers of the sea product.

“Seaweed is full of iron, iodine, different mineral salts and carotene and it could provide additional nutrition to elderly and children. It could also reduce the risks of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetics --which most of the people do not know,” he said.

Safiuddin stressed the need for promoting the aquatic product through expansion of cultivation at the seacoast and initiating export as it was on high demand in global market.

Many other organic food graded products were also put on sale at the development fair.

JAKAS Foundation from Jaipurhat is showcasing organic vegetables and vermin compost product at the fair. Md Rashed, salesperson of the stall said, they were getting satisfactory response from the customers. 

Anwara Begum, a government service holder, bought some vegetables. 

She said that she believed the marginal growers produced the items with extra care and they would be of better quality than those available in the city markets.

Moreover, pesticide-free dried fish from Cox’s Bazar, Piper chaba, commonly known as Chui Jhal, pickles and fish including shrimp and vetki from Satkhira, Ashrai Indigenous Craft at Rajshahi, TMSS Handicrafts in Bogra also allured the customers in the fair.

Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) Chairman Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said PKSF created a better marketing opportunity for the products of the rural entrepreneurs at the development fair.

"Marketing has been the biggest obstacle in the way of achieving the benefits of micro-credit distribution. We organized the fair to create the marketing opportunities for marginal, small and micro entrepreneurs,” he added.

He said the PKSF's development fair was aimed at pulling out marginal people out of poverty and giving micro and small entrepreneurs in rural areas a chance to connect with a wide section of prospective buyers. 

A total of 195 stalls were set up at the fairgrounds. They are  showcasing a range of products manufactured and processed by the grassroots participants of different PKSF programs implemented at the field-level by different non-governmental organizations.

Visitors are fascinated by the combination of rural products including organic colorful fruits and vegetables, handicrafts and boutique items, dairy products, processed food, traditional sweets, artistic wood and bamboo products made by NGO members.

Along with the traditional food items, the stalls are displaying textile products, handicrafts and pottery made by people from different parts of the country.