Managing director of North End Ltd made the comment during meeting with agriculture minister
The coffee produced in Bangladesh is top-notch, said Rick Hubbard, managing director of US-based North End (Pvt) Ltd.
He made the remarks during a meeting with Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque at the minister's office on Wednesday, said a press release.
Hubbard said, "We have been marketing and exporting coffee produced in Bangladesh for the last two years." He added that the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) also thinks that the coffee produced here is of high quality.
The minister said that the government is putting emphasis on the production of unconventional products along with rice-based agriculture.
Since the low price of paddy is affecting farmers, the government is encouraging them to produce coffee, avocados, cashew nuts and so on, alongside paddy.
The minister said that the government is trying to boost coffee production, and that it will send some farmers to Vietnam to get hands-on knowledge on the process.
"We want to export agricultural products, earn foreign currency, and create jobs," the minister added.
Rick Hubbard said they had started growing coffee in Bangladesh by distributing 500 coffee saplings to farmers in Bandarban's Ruma upazila in 2011.
Now, the total number of coffee trees – sprawling over Ruma and Sajek valley – has reached 1.5 lakh, he informed the minister.
In response to Rick's request for a reduction on export duty on coffee, the minister said the government usually offers subsidies to promote agricultural products, and that coffee will be included in the list.
Ariel Marr, chief operating officer of North End Coffee Roasters, and Mostafa Hossain Farrazi, strategic advisor and Hill Tract Coffee Project coordinator, were also present at the meeting.