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TCB to purchase 1.65cr litres of edible oil from local suppliers again




The Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase approved some 10 proposals including procurement of edible oil by the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh, and fertiliser by the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation and the Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation.

The TCB will again purchase a total of 1.65 crore litres of edible oil from three local companies to run its open marketing sale programme.

The state marketing agency TCB, a subordinate body of the Commerce Ministry, last week received a nod for procuring 2.25 crore litres of soybean oil and 15,000 metric tons of lentils from local suppliers for the same purpose.

Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase in its meeting on Wednesday approved three new separate proposals, placed by the commerce ministry on behalf of the TCB in this regard.

Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal presided over the virtual meeting.

As per the decision of the CCGP meeting, the TCB will procure 55 lakh litres of soybean oil from each of the three companies—Super Oil Refinery Ltd., City Edible Oil Ltd and Meghna Edible Oil Refinery of Dhaka.

Each litre will cost Tk 185 and each of the companies will supply the edible oils through two-litres bottles as per the condition of the contract.

The entire consignment will cost Tk 305.25 crore as the TCB will pay Tk 101.75 crore to each of the three companies.

The Cabinet body also approved three separate proposals to import a total of 90,000 tons of fertiliser from two countries in three lots under G2G deals.

Of these, Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation under the Ministry of Agriculture will import 30,000 MT of TSP fertiliser in a single lot from OCP, SA of Morocco while Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation will buy 90,000 MT of urea fertiliser Muntajat of Qatar and Kafco of Bangladesh in three separate lots.

The 30,000 MT fertiliser from Morocco will cost Tk 221.53 crore while each metric ton will cost $687.25 against the previous rate of $914.50.

Under the BCIC proposals, the Muntajat will supply a lot of 30,000 MT of bagged prilled urea fertiliser at a cost of Tk 206.59 crore. Each MT of fertiliser will cost 724.50 against the previous rate of $563.33.

The Muntajat will supply another lot of 30,000 MT bulk granular urea at Tk 209.10 crore. Each metric ton will cost $733.33 MT against a previous rate of $630.83.

The Committee also approved a proposal of the National Curriculum and Textbook Board to award contracts for printing, binding and supplying 11.20 lakh textbooks for the students from class I to VII for the 2023 session year at Tk489.25 crore.

The contracts will be awarded to 83 companies in 182 lots, said Abdul Barik, additional secretary of the Cabinet Division while briefing reporters.

A proposal of the Public Works Department under the Housing and Public Works Ministry received a nod to award a Tk 41.86 crore contract to Mazid Sons Constructions Ltd for external electrification works of 2 buildings at Rooppur Green City Housing Complex.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in principle approved two separate proposals to award contracts through direct purchase methods.

Of these, Bangladesh Army will execute dredging and river bank protection works at Majhirchar of Dohar area and elevation of ground level of army installations, wave protection and arrow defence works at Army Establishment in Mithamoin Upazila of Kishorganj District.


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Agri Biz

Govt Plans 10% Annual Growth in Agriculture by 2025-26




The Bangladesh government has allocated Tk 385 billion for agricultural development over the next three years, aiming for an average annual growth of 10% in the sector by the 2025-26 fiscal year. This investment underscores agriculture’s crucial role in ensuring food security and driving equitable economic growth, according to the ‘Medium Term Macroeconomic Policy Statement (2023-24 to 2025-26)’.

Despite its declining share in GDP, agriculture remains vital for the livelihoods of the majority, especially in rural areas. To enhance food production and resilience against challenges, the government’s strategy includes developing high-yield and adversity-tolerant crop varieties, expanding mechanization and irrigation, and improving access to affordable inputs such as seeds and fertilizers.

The policy document highlights various initiatives aimed at modernizing agriculture through technology. These include prioritizing surface water over groundwater for irrigation to conserve resources, integrating renewable energy solutions, and utilizing remote sensing for crop monitoring.

The government continues to support the sector through subsidies, financial incentives, and technological innovations to establish a sustainable and self-reliant agricultural framework.

The fisheries and livestock sub-sectors also make significant contributions, accounting for 2.53% and 1.91% of GDP, respectively, while providing essential protein sources and livelihoods for over 12% of the population. Achievements in these areas include achieving self-sufficiency in fish, meat, and egg production, with milk production expected to follow suit. Moreover, these sectors play a crucial role in foreign exchange earnings through exports.

Looking ahead, the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries plans to launch development projects to enhance production capacities, adopt advanced management technologies, and improve conservation efforts, particularly for young hilsa fish (‘jatka’).

Water resource management is another focal point, given its importance for sustainable agriculture. Initiatives are underway to improve surface water availability by excavating water bodies and enhancing coastal afforestation to secure equitable water shares from transboundary rivers.

With climate change posing significant economic risks, projected to reduce GDP by 6.8% by 2030, the government has prioritized comprehensive strategies to mitigate these impacts. The Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan aims to equip vulnerable sectors and communities with tools to enhance resilience and stability against climate-related disruptions.

Through these multifaceted efforts, Bangladesh is taking decisive steps to safeguard and advance its agricultural heritage amidst evolving global challenges.

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Agri Biz

IFC Invests $30mn in PRAN to Bolster Bangladesh’s Food Industry




The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is investing US$30 million in Pran Dairy Limited (PDL) and Habiganj Agro Limited (HAL), both part of the PRAN Group, a leading player in the food and beverage industry (F&B) in Bangladesh. This investment aims to support severely impacted businesses, particularly those reliant on imports for raw materials. The goal is to enhance the resilience of the food processing market, create jobs, foster gender diversity, and strengthen the economy.

This marks the first time IFC’s USD term loans will be utilized for working capital purposes in Bangladesh. These funds will enable PDL and HAL to sustain their operations, increase exports, and preserve over 30,000 jobs, as stated in a press release today. Additionally, IFC will assist PRAN Group in enhancing women’s participation and inclusion in the workplace through relevant policies and practices. The F&B sector plays a crucial role in Bangladesh’s economy, accounting for about 13 percent of manufacturing production value and employing 19 percent of the industrial manufacturing workforce, with a projected compound annual growth rate of 12 percent.

However, challenges such as foreign exchange shortages, high energy prices, and power shortages have disrupted the import of raw materials and constrained local commercial banks’ lending capacity. In response, IFC’s longer-term US dollar financing aims to improve access to foreign exchange, helping Bangladeshi companies navigate the crisis.

Uzma Chowdhury, director (Finance) of PRAN-RFL Group, emphasized the importance of regular access to US dollars for a net importer like PRAN Group. Given the current shortage, accessing USD funds for working capital has been challenging. IFC’s provision of scarcely available US dollar working capital will ensure the long-term stability of the company’s operations and contribute to the country’s economic stability.

As part of its advisory services, IFC will also support PRAN Group in developing the company’s smallholder sourcing supply chain in Bangladesh and identifying opportunities to decarbonize its agro-processing operations, among other initiatives.

Martin Holtmann, IFC country manager for Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal, reiterated IFC’s commitment to supporting clients during crises. He stated that IFC’s financing aims to alleviate the lack of access to foreign exchange while promoting private sector growth in Bangladesh. This investment is expected to enhance food security, prioritize support for strategically important industries, diversify Bangladesh’s export base, create jobs, expand market opportunities, and enhance economic resilience.

Since 2010, IFC has invested over US$3.8 billion to help the private sector grow in Bangladesh.

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Agri Biz

Mango Season Signals Prosperous Harvest in Rajshahi & Chapainawabganj




The mango formation process is progressing smoothly in Rajshahi and Chapainawabganj districts, signaling the imminent arrival of the beloved juicy fruit within the next couple of months, thanks to favorable climatic conditions.

Fruit setting is advancing well, with many mango trees already displaying visually appealing appearances in orchards, gardens, and homestead areas.

The Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) reports abundant buds in the new mango orchards of Naogaon this year, although fewer buds have appeared on the larger trees in Rajshahi and Chapainawabganj. Mango cultivation spans across 93 thousand hectares of land in Naogaon, Rajshahi, and Chapainawabganj.

According to DAE Additional Director Mahmudul Faruque, over 50 percent of the buds have transitioned into pods in the region. In Rajshahi, 65 percent of mango buds are currently pea-sized, while 35 percent are marble-sized.

Dr. Shafiqul Islam, principal scientific officer of the Fruit Research Station, attributes the reduced bud count this year to last year’s bumper crop, resulting in less food storage in the trees. However, this decline in production is expected to yield larger mangoes of superior quality.

He notes a delayed appearance of buds on trees due to an extended winter, with buds emerging later than usual, primarily in late February.

An irregular distribution of buds is also observed, with some trees exhibiting full coverage while neighboring trees remain bare, with only new leaves emerging. This pattern extends to individual trees, where one branch may be adorned with buds while others remain barren.

Mango grower Shafiqul Islam Sana expresses disappointment as fewer buds have appeared on trees compared to last year, attributing some bud loss to hailstorms. Despite this setback, he remains hopeful for a fruitful harvest.

Upazila Agriculture Officer Shafiullah Sultan highlights the potential for better quality mangoes if at least 20 percent of the pea-sized pods survive, emphasizing the importance of proper orchard care and pest control.

Similar conditions are reported in Charghat upazila, where farmers observe leaves but few mango pods on their trees. Despite challenges, proactive measures such as pesticide spraying are being undertaken to ensure successful mango production.

With a proactive approach, mango grower Abdur Razzak is diligently caring for his trees, noting pod appearances on a significant portion of his orchard.

Yadul Islam, who rents mango trees within the field of Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, reports good bud formation this year, expressing optimism about meeting mango production targets with proper care and management despite natural challenges.

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