Category Archives: Small and Medium Enterprises and Cottage Industries



A meeting was held on 29.05.2012 with 22 Banks and 19 NBFIs qualified under JICA assisted Financial Sector Project for the Development of Small & Medium Sized Enterprise. The meeting with Banks was held from 11: 000 AM to 01:00 PM and meeting with the NBFIs was held from 03:30 PM to 05:00 PM at SMESPD, on the same day.

General Manager, SME&SPD and PD, FSPDSME speaks with Bank officials

General Manager of the SME&SPD and also the Project Director of FSPDSME project, Sukamal Sinha Choudhury presided over the meetings. GM congratulated all the officers present in the meeting for their being qualified in the preliminary selection list of JICA project. The officers working in the project Implementation Unit of Bangladesh Bank were introduced to the participants of the meeting. The officers of Banks & NBFIs were informed that Participation Agreement between Bangladesh Bank & other participating Banks & Non-Bank Financial Institutions will be held by 2nd week of June, 2012.

A part of officials from different Banks.

They were also supplied with specimen copy of participation agreement and advised to submit a draft copy before 07 June, 2012. All the officers of banks & NBFIs requested General Manager to arrange the Participation Agreement in a befitting manner with the presence of honorable Governor. GM informed that this will be decided after consultation with the honorable Governor.

However the meeting also discussed about SME performances of Banks & NBFIs. All the officers present in the meeting explained their SME initiatives to GM & GM advised them according to their performances. GM stressed on cluster financing, development of easy application form, SME publicity, awareness program and lot of other initiatives.

General Manager, SME&SPD and PD, FSPDSME speaks with NBFIs officials

DGMs, Mr. Md. Khurshid Alam and Mr. S.M Ferdous Hossain, and related Joint Directors of SME&SPD were present in the meeting. Deputy Project Director & JD, Md. Ashraful Alam also spoke in the meeting .GM concluded the meeting with thanks to all.

A woman entrepreneur thrives despite crisis

SME Fair held in city
A woman entrepreneur thrives despite crisis

Parvin Akter, proprietor of Jenya Collection, seen at the stall at SME Fair 2011 at the city’s Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.

Anayetur Rahaman

She started a small boutique shop in a room of her house in Chittagong in 2003 with a capital of only Tk 30,000. She did not get any bank loan, rather had to borrow Tk 20,000 from an individual lender with high interest. But now her business got expanded across five districts of the country.

Parvin Akter, proprietor of Jenya Collection, said “My shops now design around 500 sarees and salwar kameezes a month.”

The woman, who opened a tiny shop in her own house by borrowing a small amount of money eight years back, is now planning to export her products.

Her boutique shop receives orders from different fashion brands and put designs on the products including sarees, salwar kameez, bed sheets and Nakshi Kantha as per the customers’ demands.

Parvin Akter said the demand of her works is growing day by day. That is why her business is not limited only in Chittagong, rather got expanded to four more districts.

Parvin Akter opened design centres in Jessore, Mymensingh, Comilla and Jamalpur. Around 500 women work in her design centres which receive orders from different brands of sarees and salwar kamizes.

“Our biggest centre is in Jessore where around 100 workers are employed,” Parvin Akter told daily sun at the SME Fair in Dhaka.

She opened a stall at the Small and Middle Enterprises (SMEs) Fair in the city’s Bangabandhu International Conference Centre with support from Chittagong Women Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CWCCI). Parvin is a member of CWCCI.

Parvin attributed her success to the integrity and hard work of her employees. She also did not forget her husband’s support without which it would have been difficult for her to go ahead. Parvin Akter said the commercial banks’ current SME loan policy is also positive for entrepreneurs like her.

“The commercial banks are now coming with different loan products for SMEs which is very positive. I recently got a loan Tk 4 million from Arab Bangladesh (AB) Bank Limited,” said the owner of Jenya Collection.

She bought a showroom for Tk 3 million at Central Plaza in Chittagong. She has other two showrooms at Agrabad and Halishahar in the port city.

While talking to daily sun, she hinted about her plan to expand business abroad. “I recently visited some countries including the United States, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and India. I talked to several buyers in those countries. I am hopeful to get orders from them.”

Parvin Akter said it is positive that the women are increasingly getting involved into businesses and opening enterprises.

SME: a driver of growth

Business Column
SME: a driver of growth

Visitors crowd the fifth SME Fair that opened at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka yesterday. SMEs have the potential to cut poverty. Photo: Rashed Shumon

Tarique Afzal

The struggle for independence will go in vain if the sectors of economic development, resource utilisation in an efficient fashion and overall maximisation of benefits for all remain unattended.

In pursuit of development, the nation duly experienced the taste of growth in microfinance and SME.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took pragmatic measures to boost small and medium entities to create opportunities of economic growth and development.

Today, SME remains the engine of economic growth and considering the population of Bangladesh, SME offers large-scale employment and income earning opportunities at relatively low costs, especially in the rural areas. It strengthens efforts to achieve high and sustainable growth, which is a prerequisite for an exit from widespread poverty and socio-economic deficit.

In the convergence of growth in SME, women entrepreneurship plays a pivotal role. The obligations of society towards such events remain unattended and incomplete.

The prime minister continues to seek and communicate to all and her words — “Our aim is to achieve the goals of ‘Digital Bangladesh’ and become a middle-income country by 2021.”

I believe it is time for all to contribute and convert this vision into a sustainable reality.

A combined interaction of the forces of population, technological advantages, banking support and market coordination will create opportunities for SMEs to grow and prosper at all levels of development, which are often ignored by the traditional approach to their economic strengths and development potential.

The significance of the SMEs is that it is a source of new business creation and employment generation in the developed countries. The recent structural shifts in industrial production from the so-called industrial approach of mass production in USA to a more flexible and adaptable production regime in response to constantly changing market opportunities have led to a notable resurgence of these industries in the west. The re-emergence of the SMEs in the developed world makes economic case for fostering development of these industries more robust than ever before.

Defining the potential of women entrepreneurship in support of SME development, the educational status of women in Bangladesh shows that they are being increasingly educated.

The employment statistics highlight that women in the rural sector are either self-employed or employed in family-based enterprises that include both agricultural and non-agricultural sectors. These activities that include homestead agriculture, livestock and poultry rearing, fish farming, nursery and tree plantation, tool making, fish net making, food processing, tailoring, and rice processing have been regular and invisible sources to family income supplementation.

A sector-wise distribution of employed persons in rural areas shows that agriculture is the pre-dominant source of female employment, followed by the manufacturing sector. Women in Bangladesh are employed in low category jobs. Most of them are employed in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, where the share of the women employees is 78 percent.

Together, the various categories of SMEs are reported to contribute between 80 to 85 percent of industrial employment and 23 percent of total general employment (SEDF, 2003). However, discussions surround their relative contribution to Bangladesh’s industrial output due to rarity of reliable information and different methods used to estimate the magnitude.

The most commonly quoted figure by different sources (ADB, World Bank, Planning Commission and BIDS) relating to value-added contributions of the SMEs is seen to vary between 45 percent and 50 percent of the total manufacturing value added.

We are in a new era of economic development involving diversified models, and at times, the nation’s weakness can become its greatest strengths.

It is time to strive on the route and uphold the momentum; SMEs have the potential and can create such dimension to reduce poverty to a satisfactory level.

As a core partner, the financial sector is probably amongst the fastest growing segments of most economies. Because of the very nature of the industry, special attention is warranted for improving good governance not merely for domestic efficiency and better flow of international finance but also to avert contagion effects and systemic risks. The opacity, illiquidity, informational asymmetry, and coordination problems aggravate the agency issue in this sector thus calling for substantial regulation and supervision. In recent times the hard and steadfast situations could have been avoided if the investments of the said sector were delegated in many and qualitative folds mainly in SMEs. The risks are low and the returns are equally higher due a mass volume. A time for a focus shift at large appears imperative for all.

To conquer and uphold the vision of our nation’s independence, the fore path of development of SME shall steer along as our methodology should be to decentralise financial investments throughout the nation in sections of SME, encourage women entrepreneurs to participate in the event and minimise the bureaucracy of funding into the sector. The intentions are to be widespread based on a similar tune to predict a uniform method to attain success.

To conclude, and determine the way forward, one must realise that functioning financial intermediation is of critical importance for SME development, however it is also useful to emphasise that the success of any financial intermediation depends on several factors.

The good practices in financial intermediation, especially for SMEs, fall into three broad areas; first, the investment climate must improve through rational policies, better access to finance, and stronger institutions.

Second, the financial sector needs to become broader, competitive, and efficient to provide entrepreneurs with alternative sources of investment capital, a diversified selection of new and innovative products, competitive rates, and efficient services to make their investments viable.

Third, ratings, improving skills, trades, entrepreneurship, and other business development advisory services would ensure success and help strengthen financial intermediation for SMEs.

Thus, a three-pronged programme where the elements are mutually complementary needs to be adopted to build a strong foundation for an efficient and effective financial intermediation system that will support private-sector development and help accelerate economic growth.

The writer is the chief executive of a rating agency and can be reached at

FBCCI-SME fair begins in city Dec 20

FBCCI-SME fair begins in city Dec 20

DHAKA, Dec 17 (BSS) – The fifth FBCCI-SME fair 2011 will begin in the city on December 20 with a slogan-“SMEs and the Nation Growing Together”.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the five-day-long fair at 10am on December 20 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC), said FBCCI president A K Azad at a press conference here today.

President Mohammad Zillur Rahman is expected to distribute FBCCI-SME award at 6pm on December 23 at BICC, he added.

There will be 131 stalls and 19 pavilions in the fair that will remain open from 10am to 8pm upto December 24, said the president of Federation of Bangladesh Cnambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI).

Sixty-four SME entrepreneur organisations and 34 banks, insurances and financial institutions are taking part in the fair. The participating SME units include plastic, furniture, steel-furniture, textile, handicraft, jute products, biscuits, ceramics, saree, lungi, generator, cable, leather and leather products and herbal.

Addressing the press conference the FBCCI president urged the government not to borrow more from banking system, saying that such a borrowing by public sector would reduce credit flow to private sector in future.

Suggesting the government to cut subsidy expenditures and re- arrange budgetary allocations to reduce bank borrowing, the apex body president said the government has already borrowed Tk 20,000 crore and placed proposals for borrowing 20,000 crore more.

Azad said the country has around 1.5 lakh small and 27,000 medium enterprises that have employed over 1.5 million people and this sector’s contribution to the national economy is about 25 per cent.

He said the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) organised the first SME fair in 2002 with an objective of expansion of the sector and introducing the products of this potential sector in home and abroad.

Azad said distribution of FBCCI-SME Award is an important part of the SME fair. Three awards will be given in the categories of medium enterprises and small and cottage industries, he said, adding that one Best SME Facilitator Award will be given for playing outstanding role in SME development category.

A six-member jury board comprising businessmen, journalists and researchers has been formed for selection of SMEs for the awards, he added.

Three seminars will be held at the BICC’s media centre during the fair. Fist seminar on Infrastructure Development and Sectoral Zones for SMEs in Bangladesh will be held at 11.30am on December 21, the second one on Women Entrepreneurs in SMEs: Bangladesh Perspective at 2.30pm on December 23 while the third seminar on Access to Finance and Technological Upgradation for SMEs: Bangladesh Perspective at 2.30pm on December 23.

Media partners of the fair the Daily Samakal and the Financial Express will publish special supplement on opening day of the event.

SME fair begins Dec 20

SME fair begins Dec 20
Author / Source : BSS

DHAKA, Dec 11:  A five-day Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) fair will begin on December 20 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the city.

Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), the country’s apex trade body, is organising the fifth SME fair, according to a FBCCI release.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate the fair while President M Zillur Rahman will distribute SME awards among successful entrepreneurs on December 23.

SME Foundation launches business ideas competition

SME Foundation launches business ideas competition
Star Business Report

The SME Foundation yesterday launched a competition to generate new and potential business ideas from the country’s small and medium entrepreneurs.

In association with Banglalink, the country’s one of the top mobile operators, the state-run agency unveiled the “SME Business Plan Competition 2012″ to create more enterprises and entrepreneurs to foster faster economic growth in the country.

Prof A K Azad Chowdhury, chairman of the University Grants Commission, opened the competition at a ceremony at the Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban of Dhaka University in the city.

Under the competition, the orgnisers will seek, through newspaper advertisements and other campaigns, proposals from the current students and fresh graduates of both public and private universities, who are looking for jobs.

New and existing entrepreneurs will also be able to participate, said a statement of the foundation.

Asif Ibrahim, president of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “I hope the competition will produce talented young entrepreneurs who are capable to lead the business community in the future.”

Prof GM Chowdhury, director of Institute of Business Administration of Dhaka University, said IBA has been producing skilled business executives for the last forty years. “It is unfortunate that almost all of them are willing to work for multinational companies. We would have been able to produce good industrial entrepreneurs by making them self-employed.”

Syed Rezwanul Kabir, managing director of the SME Foundation, said: “We will link up the winning projects with financial institutions so that they can get loans and implement the projects. We have already talked with different banks and they have agreed in principle.”

The prospective applicants will have to collect application form and submit the filled-in form at the headquarters of the Foundation within next one month. They can also apply online at

A preliminary evaluation committee will evaluate the applications and pick up 120 entrepreneurs, and they will take part in a training programme to learn about the techniques of business planning.

A jury board will then choose the three final winners, who will get Tk 5 lakh, Tk 4 lakh and Tk 3 lakh as prize money. The foundation plans to hold the prize giving ceremony in April next year.

Solaiman Alam, head of marketing at Banglalink, also spoke.

Of asparagus and capsicum—a farmer’s success story

Of asparagus and capsicum—a farmer’s success story
Our Correspondent

BOGRA, Nov, 27: Anser Ali 60, from Bujruk Shokra village under Shibganj upazila of Bogra district, a grower of exotic vegetables, has brought a tremendous change in his life cultivating uncommon vegetables like asparagus in his land. He usually sells them in Dhaka and Cittagong between February and March earning around Tk 70 thousand a year. February to March is the peak time for asparagus.

He started farming foreign vegetables about 20 years ago on 7 decimals of his land by investing only Tk 200. For his outstanding contribution in farming foreign and local vegetables, he received Tk 3.5 lakh as prize money from Bangladesh government in September this year.

Agriculturist Md. Mahatab Uddin encouraged him at the outset to cultivate capsicum in 1992. His first harvest was not successful due to lack of knowledge on cultivation methods.

He cultivates 600 decimals of land in the winter season and 231 decimals in the summer for supplying foreign vegetables to some multi-star hotels in the capital. He said his annual profit has reached 2.7 lakh from selling vegetables like pepper, capsicum and asparagus etc. He further said he has been producing commercially sweet corn, hybrid cabbage, hybrid onion and some other foreign vegetables. He pointed out that getting quality seeds is one of the vital setbacks in cultivating foreign vegetables in our country. With the profit out of selling vegetables, he has purchased 429 decimals of land and is running his family as well as repaying his loan.

He also claimed, he supplies 20 varieties of foreign vegetables to 8 customers in the capital. He has created job opportunities for local jobless men and women in his vegetables fields. He now wishes to export vegetables if he would get government assistance in this regard.

Lack of transportation facilities is one big problem for foreign vegetables cultivation. Railway is the most effective transportation though there is no direct railway communication from Bogra to Dhaka and Cittagong. For that reason, vegetables cultivators have to spend huge money as truck fares. He said, the foreign vegetable cultivation can be profitable and may contribute a lot to our economy if the authority pays heed to cultivators and their problems.

Database for SMEs launched

Database for SMEs launched
Author / Source : Staff Reporter

Dhaka, Nov 23: The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and Bangladesh Bank on Wednesday launched a resource database to ensure more business opportunities for small and medium financial institutions. The database will provide quarterly reports with up to date information on SMEs lending activities, including information on region, sector, loan type, ownership format and locations of the enterprises. Through the database reports financial institutions will be able to streamline appraisal and prioritisation of SMEs and more efficiently identify lending potential by region, and perform mapping and design of lending products based on sector requirements, IFC officials said.

The financial institutions can also determine financial viability of SMEs through benchmarking against the sector and develop market strategies and underline funding requirements for each market segment, they added.

The database will include and supply information from 64 districts and collect information on cottage, micro, small and medium scale enterprises as defined by the Bangladesh Bank (BB).

The project was initiated by the South Asia Enterprise Development Facility (SEDF), and managed by IFC in partnership with the UK Deparment for International Development (DFID) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).

EBL offers SME loans to leather industry

EBL offers SME loans to leather industry
Business Report

SME Foundation and Eastern Bank Ltd has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Sunday to give low cost loans to small entrepreneurs of the country’s leather industry starting the distribution from the signing spot.

Two small entrepreneurs received loans on the occasion.

The MOU was signed at a local hotel in the city. Managing Director and CEO of Eastern Bank Ltd Ali Reza Iftekhar and his counterpart of the SME foundation Syed Rezwanul Kabir signed the accord.

Industries Minister Dilip Barua was chief guest while the governor of Bangladesh Bank Dr Atiur Rahman was the special guest on the occasion. Under the agreement Eastern Bank will offer loans to small entrepreneurs of the leather industry at 9.0 percent interest.

The credit volume may vary from Tk 50,000 to Tk 10,00000 crore. Those having business experience of minimum one-year period are eligible for the loan to be repayable in three years. One has to put no collateral against the loans.

Speaking on the occasion, the Industries Minister said SME sector plays important role as the growth of engine in the country’s industrial sector. But their number one problem is the funding crisis. He said the move of the Eastern Bank to give them low cost loans will go a long way to fill up the credit vacuum in this sector.

Barua said talks are also in progress to secure loans for the country’s SME sector from the Islamic Development Bank.

Dr Atiur Rahman said SME sector has mainly focused on promoting the country’s middle to lower end entrepreneurs and this group play the most pivotal role in the nation’s overall development.

Handicrafts policy soon

Handicrafts policy soon
Author / Source : STAFF REPORTER

DHAKA, NOV 20: The industries ministry has taken up an initiative to formulate a national handicrafts policy for the development of the cottage industry.

“The main objective of the policy is to help develop a modern and sustainable handicrafts and cottage industry across the country,” said industries minister Dilip Barua. The interested entrepreneurs would be provided bank loans, technology, marketing to  improve the quality of products, he said while talking to reporters at his secretariat office on Sunday, after a meeting with the board of directors of Bangla Craft, a handicrafts company.

Former presidents of the Bangla Craft, Ashrafur Rahman and Maleka Khan, directors Prof Masuda M Rashid Chowdhury, Sheikh Selina Islam, Razia Zaher and Kazi Shahabuddin attended the meeting.

Despite the increasing demand of handicrafts and cottage industry items throughout the world, the sector has failed to reach its expected  growth due to lack of a proper policy, leaders of the Bangla Craft told the minister. They said there was a great opportunity to increase the export of handicrafts and cottage industry items.

They also demanded setting up of handicrafts display centres at district levels to help  marketing  across the country.

The minister assured them of displaying their products through Small and Medium Enterprises Foundation at primary level.

The government will take all necessary steps to protect indigenous industries, Barua further said.

Honeybee farming may be a ‘big business’

Honeybee farming may be a ‘big business’

Proper attention and technological support can make honey production a million-dollar business for the country, said a researcher on Friday, reports UNB.

“It’s possible to make it [honey farming] a million-dollar business for the country, creating huge jobs. Honey farmers just need technological support and financial assistance,” Prof Mahtab Ali of Rajshahi University told the agency over phone.

He said Bangladesh can even export queen bees, candle and gum which will further contribute to the export. In Europe, each queen bee is sold at 50 euro.

He said many unemployed people can be involved in honeybee farming and the marketing process of honey, which will ultimately help reduce poverty apart from giving a boost to the country’s export earnings.

“During my research on honeybees in England, I came to know how technology can help produce quality honey,” Prof Mahtab said.

He said since the honey growers are poor and not trained and equipped technologically, financial support can help them get familiar with technologies.

“Despite having enormous potentials, Australian and Indian honey is dominating our internal market,” Mahtab said.

He said this is unfortunate that Bangladesh does not have a single honey processing plant though it gets honey from different parts for six months throughout the year, whereas countries in Europe get it only for six weeks.

“Even Nepal has honey processing units,” he said seeking government support for the development of the prospective sector.

Citing an example, he said, “I saw a man in Vietnam producing huge honey from 40,000 bee boxes. The same thing is possible here in Bangladesh.”

He said they met Industries Minister Dilip Barua on Thursday and informed him about the prospect of honey production.

“If the government takes proper steps, honey production will get a boost in the country, ushering in a new opportunity for export,” Mahtab said. Bangladesh can produce 2 lakh tonnes of honey a year.

Minister Barua has already announced that the government would undertake a pilot project to help the honey growers boost their honey production.

SME Foundation will finance the project under which honey growers will be provided training on honey processing and its marketing.

Chairman of Ayurvedia Pharmacy Litd AFM Fakhrul Islam Munshi, who is involved in this sector, said some 4,000 metric tonnes of honey are being produced in the country annually and the production can be raised to 2 lakh metric tonnes using modern technologies.

If the honey production grows, pressure on sugar use will be reduced through substitution, he said seeking government support for development of the prospective sector.

Homestead gardening can give both money and nutrition

Homestead gardening can give both money and nutrition

RAJSHAHI, Nov 14 (BSS): Wide-ranging and sustainable promotion of homestead gardening has become indispensable for getting regular cash crops together with meeting up the nutritional demands.

Besides, both urban and rural poverty could be reduced together with eradicating the nutritional deficiency to a greater extent through boosting vegetables, fruits and crops production by making the best use of the homestead natural resources.

Agricultural experts and horticulturists stated this while addressing the inaugural session of a two-day farmers training titled “Production strategy of winter vegetables” organized by Rajshahi Court Horticulture Center at its training room here today.

In his address of welcome, Horticulturist of the center Monzurul Huda narrated the objectives of the training course being conducted under a three-year programme titled “Integrated Quality Horticulture Development Project” with a view to bringing the farmers under the programmes, through which they could produce traditional fruits and vegetables round the year.

Among others, Deputy Director of Department of Agriculture Extension Nurul Amin, Joint Director of BADC Horticulture Center Nurnabi Sarder, Senior Scientific Officer of Fruit Research Center Dr Alim Uddin and Horticulture Specialist Dr Ittefaqul Azad spoke on the occasion.

The speakers said the people in general should come forward for cultivating vegetables, fruits and crops on the fallow lands surrounding their dwelling houses and rooftops, which can ensure availability of fresh and pollution-free fruits and vegetables.

They said that use of vacant spaces for producing fruits and vegetables has been adjudged as potential means for gradual development in the life of poverty-stricken communities coupled with the low and middle income groups.

Currently, they said that most of the commercial growers are seen using harmful insecticides and pesticides on the vegetables and orchards for gaining extra benefits resulting in massive health hazards.

However, the problems could easily be solved if all the family members consume self-produced vegetables and fruits.

“Consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits are helpful in flourishing physical and mental power of the babies”, said Monzurul Huda.

In terms of food and nutritive values green vegetables are vital as these are enriched with enormous vitamin A, B, C, calcium and iron which are essential for human body irrespective of age and sex.

Ctg SME expo begins today

Ctg SME expo begins today
Author / Source : STAFF REPORTER

CHITTAGONG, NOV 9: The month-long 5th International Women’s SME Expo Bangladesh, one of the largest trade fairs organised by the women entrepreneurs in South Asia, will kick-off here at city’s Railway Polo Ground from Thursday. Commerce minister Faruk Khan is expected to  inaugurate the trade fair as chief guest while lawmaker MA Latif, Shamsul Haque, Sarah Begum Kabori, Mehjabin Morshed and FBCCI president AK Azad will attend as special guests. President of Chittagong Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CWCCI) Monwara Hakim Ali will preside over the inaugural function.  The CWCCI is organising the trade fair in association with Export Promotion Bureau, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and SME Foundation.  Chairman of the 5th International Women’s SME Expo Bangladesh Gulshana Ali told The Independent: 400 stalls and 20 pavilions will be set up at the fair.

Women’s SME expo begins in Ctg Nov 10

Women’s SME expo begins in Ctg Nov 10
Author / Source : STAFF REPORTER

CHITTAGONG, NOV 1: A month-long 5th International Women’s SME Expo Bangladesh is going to kick-off here at city’s Railway Polo Ground from November 10 with a huge display of local and foreign women entrepreneurs’ products. Commerce minister Faruk Khan is expected to inaugurate the trade fair as chief guest while lawmakers MA Latif, Shamsul Haque, Sarah Begum Kabori, Mehjabin Morshed and FBCCI president AK Azad will attend as special guests.

Chittagong Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CWCCI) is organising the trade fair in association with Export Promotion Bureau, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and SME Foundation.

At a press conference at Chittagong Club on Tuesday, Gulshana Ali, chairman of the 5th International Women’s SME Expo Bangladesh, said 400 stalls and 20 pavilions will be commissioned at the fair this year.

“Besides, Lapland Fantasy Park is being commissioned at the fair venue to entertain the visiting kids alongside food courts. There will be foolproof security and other facilities including toilet, uninterrupted water and power supply for the visitors at the fair,” she added.

The main goal to organise the trade fair is to create the market of products produced by women entrepreneurs in the SME sector, Gulshana went on.

“So, we have allocated highest numbers of stalls for the women entrepreneurs free of cost,” she said.

She informed reporters that women entrepreneurs of Iran, Pakistan and India have already confirmed their participation in the fair.

Director of FBCCI and founder of the CWCCI Monwara Hakim Ali said the women entrepreneurs of Chittagong had faced huge difficulties in marketing their products and accessing to the international market.

“Now the women entrepreneurs of Chittagong know how to start a business and create a market of their products. This is happened mainly for the different initiatives of women chamber including organising the trade fair every year,” she added.

Senior vice president of CWCCI Khaleda Awal, director Syeda Zeenat Ara Nipun and members attended the press conference, among others.

People earn extra farming satkara, pomelo

People earn extra farming satkara, pomelo
Hasanat Kamal . Moulvibazar

Satkara and pomelo, two citrus fruits grown in the yard of most homesteads at Gualbari union at Juri upazila in Moulvibazar, are bringing extra earnings to the local people as their prices have recently increased.

While the local inhabitants at the union, comprising more than 10 villages, are largely dependent on rice, vegetables and orange farming and consider Satkara and pomelo as source of additional earnings, traders think that there should be planned cultivation of the fruits to meet the increasing market demand.

Satkara (Citrus macroptera), a big lemon-like fruit, is a native species of greater Sylhet and grows abundantly without much care in the hilly land of Juri, Baralekha and Kulaura upazilas of Moulvibazar and Bianibazar upazila of Sylhet. The fruit or its juice is rarely taken raw rather it is used in cooking. Meat or fish cooked with satkara are much adored delicacies in traditional Sylheti cuisine.

Pomelo, locally known as jambura, vastly grows in many regions of the country as well as greater Sylhet.

In a recent visit to Paschim Kuchairtal, Dakkhin Kuchairtal, Pub Kachurgul and several other villages of Gualbari union, around 58 kilometres east of Moulvibazar sadar, this correspondent found the homesteads abounding with the two plants.

According to the villagers, almost every family of these villages has at least 10 Satkara and pomelo trees in their yards while some of the families own as many as 60 trees of each of the fruits. Both pomelo and satkara trees bear 200 to 500 fruits each a year.

Suruj Ali and Moklesur Rahman, inhabitants of village Pub Kachurgul, said these villages are inhabited by around 3,000 families almost all of whom have these trees in their yard.

This year Satkara is selling for Tk 1,000-2,500 per 100 pieces while as many pomelo fruits sell for Tk 800-1,200 at the wholesale market in Juri town, said Moklesur. The prices vary depending on the fruit size.

The villagers, however, mostly prefer to sell the produce at their doorstep at a rate cheaper than that of the wholesale market. The middlemen, buying the fruit are going from door to door and taking it to the town.

Suruj Ali said each family has earned Tk 15,000-Tk 25,000 this year from selling the fruits.  ‘It is our extra income,’ he said.

The Department of Agriculture Extension office in Moulvibazar town could not give any information about the number of pomelo and satkara trees in the district or their production. They have not any plan to motivate the local people about planned cultivation of the two fruits, said the officials.

MA Ahad, president of Moulvibazar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, observed that the commercial prospect of these two fruits was increasing gradually.

‘There was a time when pomelo trees were abundant in the whole country and so it did not much sell in the market. But with the decrease of land number of pomelo trees is reducing. Now people particularly in the urban areas have to buy this fruit,’ he said.

He also identified gaps between the current demand and supply of Satkara in the greater Sylhet region and abroad.

‘While the supply cannot fully meet the existing market demand of Satkara, its demand is rising every year,’ he said, adding that there was a huge unmet demand of the fruit in England, having a large concentration of people with Sylhet origin.

The departments concerned should take planned measures to motivate people about the commercial production of the two fruits and provide them with necessary assistance, said MA Ahad.