POST TIME: 12 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Food storage capacity

Food storage capacity

It is good to know that the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved several projects recently to improve the country’s food stocking capacity. Under this plan, food storage structures of the country would be repaired or constructed with an estimated cost of Tk 316.88 crore.

There is little doubt that enhancing the food stock capacity across the country is vital for increasing the economic strength of the country by keeping food grains and other agricultural produces well protected for future needs. The country has now come to a stage where it should generously and intelligently spend fund for that purpose. Because whenever a bumper production of any agricultural produces is harvested, media comes with reporting on farmers’ great trouble with the surplus produces, be they potato of the winter or mango of the summer. They do not find places where they can preserve the excess of their production.

This season we have come to see reports of trouble of mango growers. The country earns substantially from exporting the fruit after meeting the domestic needs. But this year many growers of the fruit are facing problem as they do not find places for preserving this perishable item and they have to sell mango at a cheaper rate. Moreover, they know little about how they can preserve the fruit, or pulp of the fruit to be precise, on their own.

The potato growers’ woes are all well known to us. In absence of adequate preserving capacity of potato in the country, the frustrated farmers, many a times in the past, laid down huge potatoes on the streets protesting low rate of it in the market. On the one hand they did not get prices of the produce and on the other they could not preserve it. But a country that largely depends on import of agricultural production for survival, this should not have been the case. Bangladesh could strike a balance in its total export-import account somewhat by increasing export of perishable agricultural items.

Therefore, there is a clear need for creating specific item-based storage capacity in the country. Through the recent projects passed in the Ecnec meeting, some 550 food godowns will be repaired, while only 20 new structures will be constructed. Repairing of the existing storage capacity is necessary, but we think more new item-specific storages should be made to protect the perishables.