The project Sustainable production and consumption of tomato and mango processed products, organised an interactive program for supply Chain actors on "Safe Horticultural Processing Food", held at PRAN Agro Processing Limited, one of the biggest food processing companies in Bangladesh.
Processing industry officials (senior managers, quality control managers, factory managers), representatives from the project team and "hub-leaders", who act as intermediaries between mango and tomato farmers and processing companies took part in the event.
Hub-leaders play a crucial role in the supply chain. They coordinate the small holding farmers in pre and post-harvest stages and provide them with access to the processing industries to sell their products such as mango and tomatoes.
The activity was an opportunity for hub-leaders to share their concerns and identify possible solutions, beneficial for both themselves and the farmers. The main difficulties identified by hub-leaders include:
Lack of awareness and knowledge of the small-hold farmers about good agricultural practices (GAP) and good handling practices (GHP), uncompetitive market prices, lack of training facilities, lack of good quality seeds, difficult access to finance and loan facilities, etc.
In response, the project committed to carry out capacity building trainings on GAP for small holding growers/farmers, GHP for collectors, traders, logistics providers, hub-leaders and food processing companies as well as Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for food processing companies.
PRAN assured hub-leaders that they are looking into the issue of providing good quality seeds to the growers and that they intend to provide loans from their two banks without mortgage and at low interest for up to BDT 25,000,000 (EUR 286,400) per year. Additionally, they assured that in the future they will place no loan limit for those hub-leaders who can meet the seasonal targets placed by the company. This would substantially alleviate concerns on access to finance.
As a result, hub-leaders were further inspired and motivated to improve coordination with the farmers in terms of production and supply of good quality fresh mango and tomato, thus ultimately providing consumers with better processed food.