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Bangladesh: Govt to aid entrepreneurs to grind out jackfruit chipsFriday, January 09, 2015 > 11:09:35
(The Financial Express)
The government has initiated a move to engage private sector in processing chips from jackfruit to add value to the national fruit, officials said.
Delicious and crispy chips are becoming favorite snacks to people of all ages. The private agro processors normally process chips from wheat flour, potato, starch, maize etc. The jackfruit chips will be a new one, sector insiders said.
Officials said establishment of jackfruit chip factories will help reduce waste while enabling garden owners to get good price.
The ministry of agriculture (MoA) at a recent meeting on the implementation of Annual Development Programme (ADP) decided to support the private sector for processing chips from jackfruit, a ministry official told the FE.
He said the meeting, chaired by the Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury, asked the Department of Agriculture Extension, Department of Agricultural Marketing and Hortex Foundation to work together to promote the new area.
According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the country annually produces 0.47 million tonnes (approximately 27.5 million pieces) of jackfruits.
Sheikh Iftekhar Hossain, a director of Horticulture Wing under DAE said Jackfruit accounts for 22 per cent of total fruits the country produces.
The fruit is hugely consumed and a good amount is also being exported to the Middle-East and European Union, he said.
He said production of the fruit is increasing annually at a rate of around 3.0 per cent.
"After meeting local and export needs, a huge quantity is being wasted every year," he said.
Mitul Kumar Saha, an official of the state-run Hortex Foundation, said that jackfruit chip is very popular in the southern part of India.
"In Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka states of India and Thailand, chips of jackfruit is very popular snack item," he said.
Indian companies also export jackfruit chips to many countries targeting their ethnic consumers, he said.
He said that the experience of India and Thailand will help us to process chips from jackfruits.
He said Hortex Foundation has started conversation with a few private companies over a joint effort to process jackfruit chips experimentally.
Talking to the FE, director of Pran Group Md Kamruzzaman Kamal said his company and others are now manufacturing chips from potato, wheat flour, starch, vegetable oil, spices etc.
He said jackfruit is a popular fruit and its chips will also be popular in Bangladesh.
"Most important part of the chip manufacturing process is 'preservation' of the product for a certain period. Research should be done in this regard," he said.
He said besides local consumption, a good amount of chips could be exported to the markets where the number of Bangladeshi expatriates is high.
A S M Golam Hafeez Kennedy, an associate Professor of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology at Bangladesh Agricultural University, said export of both raw and processed agro items has been increasing, which is a good sign for the farm economy.
He said processing of products from agro produces can help give better prices to the farmers.
"Product diversification is also very important to hold the markets. Jackfruit chip will also be a newer one in our export basket," he said.
According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), the country exports processed agro products grew 30 per cent to $281 million in financial year 2014.