The weeklong Development Fair organised by the Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka witnessed a huge turnout of buyers and visitors on Saturday, the third day of the event.
Stalls of traditional food products, pesticide-free vegetables and fruits, dairy products and organic food items drew a large crowd at the fair as consumers were much keen about the works and produces of the marginal growers and craftsmen.
At a total of 190 stalls set up at the fairgrounds, 130 participating organisations are showcasing a range of products manufactured and processed by the grassroots participants of different PKSF programmes implemented at the field-level by different non-governmental organisations.
Along with the traditional food items, the stalls displaying textile products, handicrafts and pottery made by people from different parts of the country including ethnic minority communities have become much popular among buyers at the event.
JAKAS Foundation at Jaipurhat, a partner organisation of PKSF, takes part in the development fair every year with the aim to create a market for the products of its members.
The organisation is showcasing organic vegetables and vermin compost produced by its members at the event this year.
‘I have bought some vegetables from JAKAS Foundation as I believe the marginal growers have produced the items with extra care and they would be of better quality than those available in the city markets,’ Jharna Begum, a private service-holder told New Age.
She also bought banana, dried fish, ghee, organ, mustard oil and spice powder from some other stalls.
Costal Association for Social Transformation Trust is showcasing pesticide-free dried fish at its stall.
‘Our members process the fish in an organic way at Cox’s Bazar and then we supply it to the consumers. We have been getting satisfactory response from consumers for the last few years,’ Md Mizanur Rahman, project coordinator of COAST said.
He expressed his satisfaction over the sale at the fair and said that the event had made marketing easier for them.
Ashraful Islam, manager of Ashrai Indigenous Craft at Rajshahi, said that they had been attending the fair for the last 10 years and their products had penetrated into the international market with the help of the fair.
He said that more than 6,000 people from marginal communities, mostly women, produced the handicraft for Ashrai and the fair had helped to create a market for their products.
Ashraful said that there were more visitors and buyers at the fair this year than last year and the sale of products was satisfactory.
Md Arefur Rahman, managing director of RSA Solutions, brought dairy products, vegetables, processed food, and traditional sweets made in different parts of the country, rice and spices at the fair.
‘I think the produce from the grassroots would be better than the produce available in the city. Moreover, these products are not available in Dhaka,’ he said.
Piper chaba, commonly known as Chui Jhal, pickles and fish including shrimp and vetki were found at the stall of Satkhira Unnayan Sangstha.
‘Our member growers produce the items and we are facilitating in creating a market for their products,’ said AKM Golam Faruque, assistant director of the organisation.
He said that they had exported some pickles to Italy last year which the buyers had found at the development fair.
Along with PKSF’s partner organisations, some government agencies, research and information technology institutions and service-oriented organisations took part in the event.
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