AGRO-AQUA AND FOOD PROCESSING​

Dream to Develop

AN ECO-SYSTEM TO FEED A NATION OF 165 MILLION WITH THE PROMISE OF A HEALTHY LIVING

The biggest delta on earth always have been glorified with its fertility to produce golden crops. However, the four decades ago, this newly formed Bangladesh saw the high levels of extreme poverty and chronic hunger with floods, leading to the Bangladesh famine of 1974. Farmers and farmland were swallowed up in rampaging waters, distribution of the imported food supplies that the country depended on became impossible, and an estimated 1.5 million people died. The country – which former Beatle George Harrison raised money and awareness for in the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh – became associated for the long term with hunger and malnutrition.

But Bangladesh is predominantly an agrarian country. Today, the onetime food basket case has transformed into something of a food basket – and a model for hunger reduction for the rest of the world. Agriculture sector contributes about 14.23 percent to the country`s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs around 40.60 percent of total labour force. A major part of Bangladesh is on the delta formed by the three major rivers brahmaputra, ganges and meghna. These rivers and many of the country’s other minor rivers originate outside the national boundary of the country and make up the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna River system. The river of the flood to the river for the fertilizer, the golden soil of Bangladesh is the bless and grace of the nature.

FOOD SUFFICIENCY

The 8th most populous country with about 165 million people; population density has been reported at 1265 and population growth rate 1.01% per annum in 2021. Country’s food production and economic growth rate are impressive compared to other developing countries. Achieving hunger free population is an elusive goal for the Government of Bangladesh for which many policies and programs have been implemented in recent years with the contribution of Private Sectors like Meghna Group of Industries, Bashundhara Food and Beverage Limited, Akij Food and Beverage Limited etc.
After Covid-19 and natural disasters, the production of food grains (rice, wheat, and maize) has increased to about 4.53 crore metric tons in this financial year. Despite this disaster, Bangladesh has emerged as a role model for agricultural development in the world. Substantial investments have also helped some products of these sectors grow into big industries that are preparing to export their products after meeting local demand.

  • Poultry industry grows 200 percent
  • 3rd in inland open fisheries
  • 3rd Rice Producer
Made in Bangladesh

BETTER FOOD HEALTHY LIVING

To ensure good health for 165 million people it is to great importance for access to food with added value by the common food habit of people. Mass people of Bangladesh are very much dependent on rice and wheat for their daily need. Introduction of processed food with the value of nutrition in the game changer on ensuring nutrition for people. Specially the next generation of the nation. Private sector played a befitted role on agro-processing and food production to support the internal need which is having its major mark on processed food export as well.

After attained sufficiency in food production, Bangladesh now working on the goal to provide more nutritious food. The people of Bangladesh are very attached to traditional food for their nutrition and healthy lifestyle. The health and well-being of the people depend upon the nutritional status of the households, its geographical location, and the availability of the food ingredients. Rice is the main food item in the traditional Bangladeshi diet. 
Tubers and roots are good sources of minerals while small indigenous fish are essential sources for vitamins and minerals besides protein. Homestead herbs, shrubs, and trees are useful for medicinal values. Under the geographical context, nutritional access is varied due to factors such as economic capacity, and climate change variables. Scientific research and firm policy could implement a change in the nutritional upliftment of the population by the systematic utilization of traditional foods in the future. Meghna Group of Industries one of the leaders of Agro and Food Processing industry of Bangladesh has focused to uplift the nutrition through traditional food.

RESEARCH FOR RESILIENT

There has been much research, technologies innovated and introduced globally that serve to ensure that absolutely the safest and best food is delivered to consumers. While there are quite many of them worth mentioning, some have just topped the list and are unconditionally worth knowing.

Pre-Production:

Bangladesh National Seed Board has approved the release of the newest biofortified zinc rice variety in the country: the BRRI dhan100. This latest zinc rice variety was developed by the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI). Harvest Plus assists BRRI in crop development and breeder seed production of biofortified zinc rice. This new zinc rice variety has zinc content of 25.6 milligrams per kilogram rice. The rice is slender and non-sticky when cooked, in comparison to previous zinc rice varieties. The average yield is 7.7 metric tons per hectare after trials were conducted in 10 locations across the country.

New varieties of rice developed using nuclear techniques have helped Bangladesh increase its rice production threefold in the last few decades, despite increasingly harsh climatic conditions. This has enabled the country to establish a secure and steady supply of rice, while staying one step ahead of its rapid population growth. Binadhan-7 is one of several rice varieties developed by scientists at the Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA), with the support of the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Rice varieties like Binadhan-7 help to address the demand for this staple food in Bangladesh.

Processing:

  • Aseptic Technology by Tetra Pak
  • Reportable carton technology
  • Use of automation in the food industry
  • Role of adulteration kits and laboratory sensors

CONTACT FARMING

80% of population is farmer but yet for long time farmer the people who feed the nation lived below average as they could not be part of a proper business eco-system. With the thriving private sector growth-based o agro-production the life is now changing.

‘PRAN’ stands for Program for Rural Advancement Nationally. PRAN GROUP was born in 1980. Since then, over the years, Pran has diversified the activities. Today Pran in the largest processors of fruits vegetables in Bangladesh. We have shown the way of contract farming in Bangladesh for the first time and procure raw material directly from the farmers and processes through high-tech machinery at our several factories into hygienically packed food and drink products. As they are the largest contract manufacturer,

FINFISH PRODUCTION AND PROCESSING

Frozen fish and frozen fish exports from Bangladesh together accounted for USD 55.48 MN, which also caters to the market of the Bangladeshi diaspora. Some of the fish exported to the 12 MN Bangladeshi living abroad (mostly in the Middle East and the UK) concerns primarily carp and hilsha. It is estimated that over 95% of all finfish exports are white fish (with bones) of the local varieties mainly serving the Bangladeshi diaspora. This would imply that the Bangladesh finfish processors have not been able to capture the international palate for sea-based finfish as it has done with shrimp exports. For chilled finfish, the largest export destination is India, which contributed to 71.4% of the total exports of chilled finfish from Bangladesh in the year 2019. Amongst all the species of chilled finfish, our national fish hilsha is only authorized to be exported to India. Interestingly, many finfish processors are engaged in both shrimp and finfish processing.

Due to the constant fish trade deficit, European Union, the U.S.A, and Japan have become the three major markets for global fish import. Japan is the world’s largest importer of fresh and frozen tuna in whole or loin form, whereas the markets of the United States of America and the European Union demand more canned tuna. African countries import cheaper small pelagic species such as mackerel or tilapia that represent an important source of dietary diversification.

In the EU, the top 5 species consumed are tuna, salmon, cod, Alaska pollock, and shrimps, for which EU self-sufficiency averaged only 14% in 2018. Molluscs (mainly squid and cuttlefish), crustaceans like shrimp, processed fish such as tuna loins, canned tuna, and fish fillets like pangasius dominate Europe’s biggest consumer, Southern Europe’s imports from developing countries.

One species that has growing export potential in the international market is Asian seabass, including countries like Taiwan, the USA, Japan, and Europe, and this species might yield better returns than shrimps. But the major species produced in abundance in the country, including the carp species, come with a sheer amount of tiny little bones making fish fillet preparation difficult.

Major Global Importers

Figure: Major Global Fish Importers / Source: FAO

Although opportunities to venture into processing to capitalize on the growing ‘ready to eat’ segment exists, only a small number of players are active in fish processing. In the West of the country, there are two forms of processing-freezing and chilling, while in the Eastern region there is processing for ready-to-consume (fish fingers). In addition, there are only 25-30 finfish processors registered with the Bangladesh Frozen Fish Export Association (BFFEA), with the highest numbers of processed finfish exporters located in Chittagong, Khulna, while some are in Sylhet too. According to the exporters of BFFEA, the total production capacity of frozen fish units is 400,000 tons.