Plan afoot to export processed agri products via Bangladesh
A process is afoot to export processed agri-horticultural products from Assam to Europe and the Middle East via the cost-effective Sylhet airport and Chittagong and Mongla ports of Bangladesh.
GUWAHATI: A process is afoot to export processed agri-horticultural products from Assam to Europe and the Middle East via the cost-effective Sylhet airport and Chittagong and Mongla ports of Bangladesh.
The Horticulture and Food Processing Director of Assam was present at a meeting between the Northeast Chapter of the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and its Bangladesh counterparts in Dhaka last week during an Indo-Bangla trade and commerce summit. With the Horticultural Director of Assam taking it up, the summit had a detailed discussion of the use of Bangladesh airports and sea ports for the exports of processed Agri-Hori products from Assam.
According to sources, the modus operandi is to set up food processing units at Hailakandi and Karimganj and finished goods units at the SEZ (Special Economic Zone) on the other side of the Indo-Bangla border. The processed Agri-Horti produced in Hailakandi and Karimganj will go to the finished goods units in Bangladesh for onward dispatch to European and Middle Eastern countries. Since flights to Europe and the Middle East from the Sylhet airport are frequent, the products from Assam can reach their destinations at the shortest possible time and cost.
According to sources, talks are also underway to ensure Assam businessmen have 25 percent stakes in the finished goods units in Bangladesh and Bangladesh businessmen have the same percentage of stakes in the processing units at Hailakandi and Karimganj.
According to sources, the governments of both countries will have to give it the final shape, as India cannot send agricultural products to Bangladesh at present. The matter came up for discussion based on the MoUs signed between the two countries allowing Indian traders to use Chittagong and Mongla ports. Bangladesh has given its approval to four transportation routes for the movement of goods in Tripura and other Northeastern states. The routes connect Chittagong and Mongla ports. India and Bangladesh already have road connectivity via Sutarkandi in Assam. Through this road, stones from India go to Bangladeshi cement factories, where they are returned in the form of finished products.
Agri-horticultural products from Assam go to different countries, but not in processed forms. If this proposal of exporting processed items through Bangladesh becomes a reality, the farmers of the Northeast will get a boost, let alone those of Assam.