Bangladeshi firm to set up food processing units in India

Agartala, Aug 3 (IANS) PRAN Group, a Bangladeshi food processing and manufacturing firm, will set up agro and food processing plants in Tripura, Orissa and Tamil Nadu, a company official said here Tuesday.

‘Setting up of an agro and food processing joint venture plant with Indian entrepreneurs in Agartala is now in an advanced stage,’ said Ahsan Khan Chowdhury, deputy managing director of the PRAN Group of companies.

‘PRAN (Programme for Rural Advancement Nationally), which is the first Bangladesh company to invest in India, has also sought approval from Bangladesh Bank to invest in India,’ he told reporters here.

The Tripura government has allotted an acre of land to the group at Bodhjung Nagar industrial zone in western Tripura to set up the proposed unit for which a new company, PRAN Beverage India Private limited, was floated recently with Indian entrepreneurs.

‘Though India had lifted its restrictions for Bangladeshi and Pakistani investors and businessmen to invest in India two years back, Dhaka is yet to withdraw restrictions to invest in abroad by the Bangladeshi industrialists,’ said Chowdhury.

However, the Bangladesh government has taken a decision to approve on a case-by-case basis projects to be set up in India, he said.

Starting in 1981, the $350 million turnover PRAN group manufactures products in six food categories – snacks, confectionary, juice, beverage, culinary products, dairy, drinks and premium rice- besides modern furniture, plastics, PVC pipes.

The company exports its products to more than 77 countries, including India.

Chowdhury said Bangladeshi traders and businessmen have been facing difficulties to export products to India ‘due to non-tariff barriers.’

The barriers, according to him, include inadequate food testing laboratories, lack of warehouses, customs and immigration formalities and visa to Bangladeshi traders.

According to Chowdhury, PRAN currently is doing business worth $1 million per month with India and 50 percent of this with northeast India.

‘The company would increase its business with India at least to $10 million by 2012.’

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