Cold chain: US investment can save Bangladesh ‘$2.5bn a year’

Bangladesh is losing 44 percent of fruits, crops and vegetables it produces every year to a shortage of cold storage and transport facilities, an analyst says

Published : 28 Feb 2024, 03:30 PM
Updated : 28 Feb 2024, 03:30 PM

Bangladesh incurs a $2.5 billion annual loss due to a 44 percent post-harvest loss of fruits, crops, and vegetables, thanks to a shortage of storage and transport facilities, which drives up prices for consumers.

Now the government is considering incentives for US businesses interested in investing in cold storage facilities in Bangladesh.

The issues were discussed at the Cold Chain Investment Conference 2024 organised by the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority and the Bangladesh Trade Facilitation Project under the US Department of Agriculture in Dhaka on Wednesday.

Salman F Rahman, the prime minister’s adviser on private industry and investment, said at the programme the government was searching for ways to subsidise the interest on loans for businesses in the sector after a rise in lending rates.

“The US Embassy informed us that investment in Bangladesh's cold chain can be a special opportunity for American businesses,” he said.

William Fellows, executive managing director at LixCap which provides business development advisory services as well as blended finance and investment solutions for emerging markets, presented the keynote at the conference.

He said Bangladesh faces an estimated $2.4 billion loss every year because of destruction of 20-44 percent of fruits, crops and vegetables produced by the country.

Cold chain logistics investment can reduce the post-harvest losses significantly, he said.

For example, Fellows said Bangladesh may not need to import onions and potatoes if it can improve its cold chain.

He also said $440 million investment is possible in the sector within 2031.

Besides saving the agricultural products, Bangladesh will see a boost in sectors like transport and packaging, he added.