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Food processing trends

In Bangladesh, the major cereals are rice and wheat while the minor cereals include barley/jab, joar, bazra, cheena and kaon; of the oil seeds, rape and mustard are most important. About 85% of the population is directly or indirectly engaged in agriculture and about 64% of the land is under crop cultivation.

Major crops are grown on one percent or more of the gross-cropped area (GCA). In Bangladesh, only nine crops- rice (73.94 percent), wheat (4.45 percent), jute (3.91 percent), rape and mustard (3.08 percent), lentil (1.54 percent), chicklling vetch (1.25 percent), potato (1.13 percent), sugarcane (1.12 percent), and chilli (1.05 percent) are grown on 1 percent or more of the crop acreage (14.61 million hectare).

Gram (0.78 percent), millet and maize (0.60 percent), onion (0.58 percent), black gram (0.51 percent), sweet potato (0.45 percent), groundnut (0.40 percent), green pea (0.36 percent), sesame (0.33 percent), linseed (0.30 percent), garlic (0.20 percent), pea (0.12 percent), and barley (0.10 percent) are grown on less than 1 percent of the gross cropped area. Some crops, including vegetables, spices, etc., occupy an insignificant proportion of the GCA (i.e. less than 0.10 percent to each crop), and they altogether account for 1.57 percent.

Rice: Three seasonal rice groups are recognized in Bangladesh and it dominates the cropping pattern throughout the country. Almost 90 percent population are rice eaters. These three groups are cultivated throughout the year as Aus, Aman or Boro.

Wheat: After rice, wheat is the most important crop. It is grown mainly in the drier parts of the north and cultivated only as a winter crop (Nov-Dec). It is mostly used as ata or maida (wheat flour) for preparation of bread and cakes. Wheat is grown under a wide range of climatic and soil conditions and grows well in clayey loam soils.

Potato: Potato is primarily used as a vegetable, but it is also considered as a staple food like in many other countries. Potato varieties that are cultivated in Bangladesh are broadly categorized into two groups: local and high yielding (HYV).

Pulses: The common pulses are Masur (lentil), Mung (green gram), Mashkalai (black gram), Chhola (chick pea), Kheshari (lathyrus or grass pea), and Motor (pea). Kheshari is widely cultivated, mostly as fodder, and also consumed by the villagers of the northern part of the country.

Vegetables: Vegetables are important for food security in Bangladesh. Nearly 100 different types of vegetables, comprising both local and exotic types, are grown in Bangladesh. However, the availability of vegetables is only about 20 percent of the recommended requirement of 200 g/person/day. Vegetable farming in Bangladesh can be grouped into 3 categories based on scale of production and objectives of farming: vegetable production on homestead, vegetable production for commercial market and vegetable farming for seed production.


Food consumption habits 


In the South

Barisal, Chattogram and Khulna Divisions, being close to sea, tend to have a larger use of sea fishes in their cuisines. ShuBDTi,  a treated dry fish, is extremely popular in these areas.


In Dhaka

As a cosmopolitan city, Dhaka has a high level of Western influence in its cuisine. Dishes involving fried rice and a lot of meat are usually legacies of Dhaka's past.


West and North-west areas

Vegetable heavily occupy the main eating in these areas. A higher level of use of spices is common. River fishes (sweet water fishes) are common in the dishes.



Large number of lakes around the Sylhet Division encourages greater use of lake fishes in the cuisine. More over due to the location is in proximity to the hills of Assam of India, fruits and pickles are generally used for cooking and serving, which is producing a distinct nature to the dining menu here.

Staple ingredients

The staples of Bangladeshi food are rice, atta (a special type of whole wheat flour), and varieties of pulses, the most important of which are chana (bengal gram), toor (pigeon pea or red gram), urad (black gram), and mung (green gram). Pulses are used almost exclusively in the dal.

Food processing & distribution Industries overview

Within the industrial segments, the processed food industry in Bangladesh represents one of the major sectors in terms of value and employment. The sector accounts for over 22% of all manufacturing production and employs about 20% of labor forces. All food processing enterprises account for 2% of the GDP. The food processing and distribution industries in the country is heterogeneous in nature displaying greater diversity in size, technology, quality of products, processing, preserving, marketing and distributions systems. The sector is primarily dominated by small and medium enterprises with their strong linkage to the local production and high potential for processing, value addition and export. There are nearly 700 processed food manufacturing enterprises in the country including homemade processing units, of which, at least 30 enterprises are processing fruits and vegetables. These include processing of bakery, confectionery, fruits and vegetables, cereals, dairy, carbonated and non-carbonated fruit juices, drinks, other beverages and various other food items. Bangladesh itself possesses a huge domestic market for processed food. It’s important has been further multiplied due to its closer proximity to north eastern part of India with another over 70 million homogeneous people in terms of food habit and culture.

However, food processing industry in the country lacks proper technical support and well- run proficiency. The industry possesses enormous potentiality of development by creating forward and backward linkage through alliance, partnership and investments. In recent years, there has been   notable development in the production of varieties of processed food by application of innovative and alternative know how. Emphasis is laid not only on achieving a better understanding  to developed new products but  also improving the methods of production through modernization of technology, improving the quality, life, safety and packaging as well as marketing of the processed products.

The food processing industry is heavily dependent on agricultural production as most of its raw material is primarily agro products. Hence, the industry needs to address many challenges including its dependent on nature and for seasonal crops cultivation. Despite many constrains, development of food processing industry is as the most potential growing industry which is yet to be fully explored to its utmost potential.

As the industry is growing rapidly, the food processing industry is opening up new opportunities in terms of investment, technology and exports. In Bangladesh, several technologies related to food processing and preservation of commodities has been evolved by the research & development institutes. However, proper investment will further boost the sector and attain benefits for the enterprises.

Food producers and suppliers

In the local market number of millers and suppliers of different essential food items available. Among them a non-exhaustive list of Millers/Suppliers for edible oil, salt, sugar and other food items are shown at Art 4.3 Page Number 417

Non-food items (NFI) suppliers

Non-exhaustive lists of Suppliers for different types of Non-Food Items (NFI) are shown at page numbers mentioned against each:

List of Suppliers

Art Number

Electronics and Energy Items


Hardware and General Items


IT and Computer Items




Medical Products and Equipment


Stationery, Printing and Office Equipment


Miscellaneous Items


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