Prothom Alo organised a roundtable discussion facilitated by Katalyst on ‘Pro-poor Agri-business: Opportunities and Challenges’ on 7 December 2014.
The participants discussed on the problems farmers faces as well as the future opportunities which can help them meet their challenges. Panelists agreed that there is a need to build a better market infrastructure so that farmers can sell their goods to consumers and receive a fair price. Post-harvest losses, lack of preservation and packaging facilities for fresh produce, and high transport costs resulting partly from extortion from highways are some of the major factors which contribute to the income of farmers. In order to overcome these challenges better storage facilities can be built so that farmers can preserve their surplus. Packaging should be improved because it will increase market opportunities abroad. Government can curb extortion on highways so that transportation is smooth. Public and private sectors can bring new technologies to small and marginal farmers.
12 discussants attended the roundtable session which included Anwar Faruque, Additional Secretary and Director General, Seed Wing, Agriculture Ministry and Executive Director of Bangladesh Bank Nirmal Chandra Bhakta. Deputy secretary to the Commerce Ministry Hafizur Rahman, ,Executive Director Agribusiness Division ACI ltd FH Ansarey, Chief Executive Officer of Pran-RFL group Major General Amjad Khan Chowdhury, Associate Professor at the Institute of IBA of the University of Dhaka Sheikh Morshed Jahan , Head of Portfolio and Quality (South Asia) of Swisscontact Anirban Bhowmik, Executive Coordinator of Lal Teer Seed Ltd Firoze Shah Sikder, Senior Researcher from Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies Naznin Ahmed, General Manager of Ispahani Agro Ltd Fawzia Yeasmeen, Head of Capitalization, Communication and External relations Katalyst Nasir Uddin Ahmed and General Manager Marketing Petrochem Partha Sarothi Ray were also present at the discussion. Prothom Alo’s Associate Editor Abdul Qayyum moderated the discussion.