FBCCI and USDA-backed Bangladesh Trade Facilitation (BTF) Project on Sunday joined hands to help boost the cross border agriculture trade with participation of the private sector.

Both entities will collaborate to engage the private sector in identifying the challenges and defining the way forward.

To this effect, FBCCI President Jashim Uddin and BTF Project Director Michael J Parr inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on behalf of their respective sides at a ceremony held at the FBCCI headquarters in the city.

International Program Specialist at the USDA Victoria Becker, FBCCI leaders including its Senior Vice-President Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu, and other stakeholders were also present at the ceremony.

Speaking on the occasion, Jashim Uddin said Bangladeshi agricultural produce has limited access to the international market despite having huge potential as a large number of non-resident Bangladeshis are staying abroad.

The country needs to identify the bottlenecks in this regard, he said, adding that the FBCCI was conducting research on it.

“Even small countries like the Netherlands earn billions of dollars from its agricultural goods export to other countries,” he said.

In a presentation highlighting the BTF, Michael J. Parr said the project aims to simplify, modernize and harmonize processes for the export, import and transit of agricultural goods through support to Bangladesh in implementing the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO TFA).

He said the partnership is important to identify and tackle the underlying causes of poor agro-trade in Bangladesh.

The agreement also aims to ensure that the private sector’s voice is heard, the presentation said.

According to it, Bangladesh is the third highest freshwater fish and vegetable grower, second jackfruit and eighth mango grower in the globe.

However, the country’s agro export is as low as 2.47% of the total export earnings whereas the figure is 11.66% in India, 19.01% for Pakistan and 14.31% for Thailand.

Launched in 2021, the $27 million BTF project will conclude in September 2025.

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