BOGURA: Yogurt producing and trading once started from a mysterious way by Getu Ghosh in Sherpur upazila beside Dhaka-Bogura road in Bogura before 150 years back.
Now at least 50 yogurt producing companies and around 2000 employees have been at present involved in the business and got national and international recognisation.
But the curd business has been threatened by some problems like discriminatory VAT imposed, trade union’s leaders illegal demand, excess carrying cost, labour cost hike, demanding shelter, fund and medicine facilities for the workers etc.
Yogurt manufacturers in the north-western district of Bogura said the dairy item has huge export potential in foreign markets including India, Nepal and the USA. Unfortunately, for lack of government initiatives, this has not materialised.
Local businessmen who had spoken to Bogura Deputy Commissioner in this regard were promised on several occasions that export measures would be taken up.
To export yogurt, it would first need to be transported from Bogura to Dhaka airport, which means that Bogura district needs an airport.
In Bogura, there are around 400 manufacturing units producing 50 tonnes of yogurt per day. The daily production doubles during festivals.
Once traditional business controlled by their family is now controlled by the rich businessmen in the town as they are struggling to survive due to financial problem, price-hike of the ingredients of curd, added Shuresh.
An owner of renowned Asia Sweets of the town said that to flourish the business internationally the border formalities should be easy, AC connected transport services should be made available by the importers and easy tax system should be improved at the same time.
A manager of the Moharram Doi Ghor Abdul Aziz said that the increase of the price of the necessary materials and increase of daily costs have been hampering the curd business and in addition some law-graded companies are producing low-graded curd and selling chiefly as they need not to have license.
The foreigners always come to the shops to take the taste of the curds from the beginning of the business though the number increases recently, added the Manager.
Owner of Moharram Doi Ghor of Bogura said that it is our long traditional parental business and the business can be expanded beyond boundary of the country by taking initiatives of the government and provided financial and loan support as well.
Bogura-based Akboria Group manufactures sweetmeats and other food items. Though the group is currently exporting vermicelli, they cannot send yogurt abroad.
"We produce three tonnes of yogurt daily. Our yogurt was supplied at a number of national events as they met the standard testing requirements," Akboria Group Chairman Md Hasan Ali Alal told the correspondent.
Another sweetmeat maker, Shova Enterprise, participated in a fair in India in 2009, and said border forces and customs of the two countries provided great support in delivering the yogurt to the fair.
"The yogurt sold out in just two hours," said proprietor of Shova Enterprise, Syed Ahammad Kiron.
He said that with government policy support, expansion of production capacity and quality control, yogurt has huge export potential.
Meantime, Bogura Mid City Sweets proprietor, Tanvir said yogurt export also could generate employment opportunities and bolster Bangladesh's dairy industry.