The government on Wednesday launched a dedicated online marketplace for agriculture stakeholders, called "Sadai", where local agricultural products will be marketed for consumers across the country.
Agriculture Minister M Abdur Razzaque inaugurated the mobile app at the agriculture ministry conference room in the capital.
Saying the development is an epoch-making initiative, the minister said that the successful implementation of the app will help ensure the quality of the agricultural produce, fair prices for the farmers, and minimize manipulation of the middlemen.
The app was developed by software company Bangla Puzzle Limited under the supervision of the Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM.)
Growers and entrepreneurs will get an opportunity for commission-free selling of their goods after getting free registration under the platform.
Initially, marketing activities are being launched through this app only in the district headquarters. Gradually its scope of work will be expanded to the Upazila level.
It is learned that the prices of agricultural products will be fixed by the Department of Agricultural Marketing, so entrepreneurs will not be able to take arbitrary prices.
DAM will also operate a call center for receiving any issues regarding the products and take action, including cancellation of registration of the entrepreneurs if necessary.
If the quality of a product is poor or adulterated, DAM can cancel the registration of the entrepreneur and take legal action under the Agricultural Marketing Act-2018 and the Consumer Protection Act, 2009.
There are two separate apps available on Google Play Store
, one for general consumers and the other one for agriculture entrepreneurs willing to sell their products.
Through these apps, numerous agri-entrepreneurs in five categories will be able to sell their products.
At the same time, the role of intermediaries in marketing channels is expected to decrease, DAM officials said.
Mohammad Yusuf, director-general of DAM, said: "Although we have no shortage of agricultural products, there are complications regarding its marketing."
"It has become more evident during the Covid-19 pandemic. Using the benefits of technology, we want to bring a different dimension to marketing," he added.
DAM will provide necessary assistance and advice to online entrepreneurs in addition to monitoring their business activities.
Training will be given on product grading, sorting, packaging, processing, and marketing.
The department will also provide reasonable pricing of products in online stores and ensure the quality of products and in some cases transport facilities.
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Nadim Majid
, CEO of Bangla Puzzle Limited, said that the company has developed an app that they hope will eliminate farmers' troubles.
Considering rural farmers' interest, by default we built the app in Bangla. We will launch an English version, as well as another version for iOS later. Consumers can get cash on delivery at inter-district level. Mobile financial services have been added so that entrepreneurs can easily receive their money,” he also said.
Talking about the response of their pilot program, Majid believes that with the growing demand for e-commerce, the app will become popular with integrity and transparency at the national level.