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  • Govt boosts coffee, cashew nut cultivation to reduce import reliance

    Apr 22nd, 2024

    The government has embarked on a massive initiative to boost domestic production of cashew nut and coffee to reduce reliance on imports for these products.

    The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) and the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) are implementing the project titled “Cashew nut, Coffee Research, Development and Expansion”. The tenure of the project involving Tk211.84 crore is from July 2020 to June 2025.

    Under the project, 25 lakh saplings of coffee and cashew nuts have been planted in Rangamati, Khagrachhari, and Bandarban, where the hilly region and climate provide suitable conditions for growing these plants.

    Despite various challenges, the project work is going on in full swing as directed by the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Department (IMED).

    The DAE is spearheading project implementation, with rigorous monitoring by consultancy firm Creative Consultants International Limited. However, challenges such as the destruction of saplings and coordination issues between implementing agencies necessitate prompt action and closer oversight.

    Project Director Shahidul Islam told the Daily Sun, “About 10%- 15% of the saplings have been lost due to various reasons, but we are replacing the damaged plants.


    He said some trees have already yielded fruits as they were planted two years ago, but the current yield of the whole project is very small in volume.

    Shahidul expects that they will be able to achieve the full yield within the next two years. The trees will continue to provide coffee beans and cashew nuts for around 40-50 years.

    He emphasised that one of the key objectives of the project is to meet the country’s needs in the coming years, reduce dependency on imports, save foreign exchange, generate income from exports, and create employment opportunities for local people.

    By expanding cultivation areas and enhancing production, processing, and marketing capabilities, the project also aims to uplift farmers’ socio-economic conditions and contribute to poverty alleviation.

    Creative Consultants International Limited, which closely monitors the project, said in a draft report submitted to the IMED that many saplings planted in the hills are being destroyed.

    After that, IMED has asked the implanting authorities to replace all the destroyed saplings and report when replacement is completed. It has also asked the authorities to outline in the report the implementation status of various sectors of the project in all areas selected for close inspection.

    Additionally, the report should include information related to the audit in the prescribed format mandated by IMED. It should identify any lack of coordination between the two implementing agencies of the project DAE and BARI.

    Furthermore, the report should address discrepancies in the project, fund allocation, cost, and progress across different parts.

    Meanwhile, as the project progresses, officials concerned expect substantial increase in production and export earnings.

    Currently, the country’s cashew nut market stands at around Tk700 crore, with significant potential for growth, said a DAE official. Moreover, the growing demand for coffee and cashew nuts domestically presents lucrative opportunities for local entrepreneurs, he added.

    The project’s impact extends beyond agriculture with the establishment of processing factories that create employment opportunities and foster entrepreneurship, he said, adding that large industrial groups, including BSRM and Kazi Group, are investing in processing plants, which would create employment for around 1,200 people.

    The project eyes tapping into the global cashew nut market, worth $9.8 billion, and positioning Bangladesh as a key player in the sector. By leveraging the country’s agricultural potential and fostering innovation, the project seeks to propel Bangladesh towards self-sufficiency and economic prosperity in the coffee and cashew nut sectors.