Sunday, 19 September, 2021

Diversify potato foods, reduce import: Razzaque

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 6 September, 2021 12:00 AM
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Diversify potato foods, reduce import: Razzaque
Agriculture Minister Dr Md Abdur Razzaque exchanges views with the representatives of agro processibg industries at Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) at Farmgate in the capital on Sunday.

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Agriculture Minister Dr Abqur Razzaque urged the country’s food industry to ensure diversified use of potato in producing foods.

He said the step would reduce the dependency on the imported costly foods made of potato.

Bangladesh earned $5.1 million exporting 55 thousand tons of potato in fiscal year 2020-21. The total production of potato was 10.6 tons in that fiscal.

Addressing a meeting in Dhaka on Sunday, the minister expressed surprise at the wide range of imported potato-made foods despite the country’s huge potato harvest.

He said the Bangladesh can expand its market of fresh and processed potato further to abroad.

“We don’t have to depend on import for potato items. The local companies can produce quality chips, pringles, French fries here,” the minister said.

He emphasised that the country’s food industry should research on developing new food items from potato.

Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council (BARC) organised the views-exchange meeting in person to discuss the opportunities and challenges of the processed potato in the country.

The minister urged the private sector to come forward in contract farming following the GAP guideline to increase the production and export potato.

The government has formulated a guideline on Good Agriculture Practice (GAP) to ensure toxic-free food production.

There is an established lab at the capital’s Syampur and another one is under development at Purpachal to expand the food testing facility, according to the officials.

Agriculture Minister Dr. Razzaque said, “The lack of a good variety of potato was once a challenge for the processed food businesses.”

“Meanwhile, the companies have brought some new varieties of foods made of potato from abroad. But at the policy level, we opened variety license as non-notified item,” he added.

Presided over by senior secretary Md Mesbahul Islam, the event was also attended, among others, by director general of the Department of Agricultural Marketing Mohammed Yousuf.