The potential of the Bangladeshi food processing industry, which is estimated at $1000 million, is poised to cross $600 million in the near future. The current size of the food processing industry in Bangladeshi is more than the size of both Information Technology and Telecom industry put together. A strong and dynamic food processing industry is important for diversification and commercialization of agro based food products, which involves 10% of the country's population. It ensures value addition to ago food products, generates employment, enhances income of different professional peoples and also creates surplus for export of agro processed foods. The food processing sector in Bangladeshi, though in the nascent stage, has a market size of $ 500 million, employs 1.6 million persons directly and two-and-a half times that number
Indirectly. Described as the 'Sunrise Industry,’ the Ministry for Industries, Commerce and Food, in its Vision 2015 document, aims at doubling the market size by 2014 and trebling it by 2015-20. Agriculture and food processing, although, contributes only a quarter of Bangladeshi GDP, it sustains two-third of the population and continues to determine the growth rate of the national economy. Since we have already crossed the level of subsistence, the second revolution should aim at sustenance. What is required is to move from a crop based approach to an industrial management based approach, with improved practices, extension facilities and marketing to enhance production in agriculture or agro based food products.
Agro Food Processing should be the main driver of the second round of the Green Revolution with product diversification as one of the main strategies. The huge domestic and large international markets throw open great avenues for the Agro food Business sector. Bangladesh has all the advantages viz., varied agro climatic conditions to produce every product of demand, easily available labor, abundant natural resources and largest agriculture extension and research institutions. What is required is the initiative to make huge investments coupled with strong policy support. This can happen only on the back of rapid growth in the food processing industries, since it increases shelf life, thereby reduces wastages, presently estimated at about Taka 4800 crore, adds value, thereby enables better& stable prices to producers, makes industrial produced exportable - the share of processed food in global agro food trade has increased from one-half to two-thirds over the last two decades - generates employment opportunities - the sector is labor intensive, etc. From a nation
dependent on food imports to feed its population, Bangladesh today is not only self sufficient in Agro production, but also has a substantial reserves. This means that science has to do the research, and to find ways of making it work effectively and safely. Food scientists take the view that the present and future food problems of the world food supply will not be solved by technology alone, but that they cannot be solved without technology. Overall, the value of the Bangladeshi food industry has become a rapid increasing trend with diversified food commodities as compared with global food choice. The segments with the largest growth potential have been identified as processing of dairy, cereal, bakery and confectionery, beverage, fruits and vegetables, and meat with fish. This report has also identified some of the major challenges for the emerging food industry in Bangladesh.
The challenges for the food preservation, distribution and processing sectors are
diverse and demanding, and need to be addressed on several fronts to derive maximum market benefits. Presently, the organizations addressing the educational and R & D requirements are too few, and there is a pressing need for supplementing their efforts. In the emerging scenario, the Nutrition and Food Engineering professional needs to develop sufficient awareness and appreciation of the relevant principles of allied health sciences, and physical sciences, as well as of a wide variety of other topics including: ditetics, preservation and storage techniques, processing unit operations, bio-processing, waste management, distribution and supply chain management, food laws and regulations, quality assurance, microbiology , biotechnology , marketing and so on. Besides, the professional needs to develop an appreciation of R&D and innovation in critical technology areas such as: newer or novel process development in preservation and storage techniques, rheology, colloids and dispersal systems, packaging-polymers and composites, sensors for detection and process control, bioprocess engineering, food microbiology , nutraceuticals, food biotechnology, and so on. Food Technology provides an effective and timely platform for researchers in universities, research institutions, and industries, to conduct research in cutting-edge processing technologies, involved from the beginning of the food supply source to the dinner table of the consumers. The potential exists for the agro food industry to improve process efficiency, enhance product quality and, extend shelf-life of fresh and processed agro food products and to establish processes, innovative and emerging technologies, and trends and future research in food and bio products processing are particularly important.