Skills and enterprise

Multistakeholder consultation to boost market connectivity for local agribusinesses in Cox's Bazar

To promote wider market connectivity for local agribusinesses in Cox's Bazar

Press release | Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh | 19 November 2023
Panel discussion to promote wider market connectivity for local agribusinesses in Cox's Bazar. © Humayun Kabir Khan, National Communications Office, ILO
COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh (ILO News) - The Cox’s Bazar Chamber of Commerce and Industries (CCCI) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), organized a multistakeholder consultation workshop aimed at promoting wider market connectivity for local agribusinesses in Cox's Bazar on 18 November 2023. This initiative is part of the “Leaving No One Behind: Improving Skills and Economic Opportunities for Women & Youth in Cox's Bazar (ISEC)” project, funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN).

Cox’s Bazar continues to be among the most socio-economically vulnerable districts in the country. It faces significant developmental challenges such as low literacy levels, food insecurity, a high prevalence of stunted children, and limited access to electricity. Some segments of the population particularly women, have faced particularly grim prospects. Since a majority of Cox's Bazar’s population is involved in various agricultural and farm-based production, it is crucial to prioritize initiatives that enhance agricultural competitiveness.  This focus on agriculture development is seen as vital for driving economic progress for the district.

The chief guest, Mohammed Yamen Hossain, Additional District Magistrate, Cox’s Bazar stated, "Most of the products for the Rohingya camps are sourced from different parts of Bangladesh, but the business share of the internal entrepreneurs of Cox's Bazar should be increased. By establishing market connections with local communities, we can significantly improve the economic situation in Cox’s Bazar. For that purpose, we discussed various ways and issues to increase the opportunities for entrepreneurs. We hope that very soon the products of the local entrepreneurs of Cox's Bazar will also reach the Rohingya camps."

The ILO in collaboration with its tripartite constituents in Cox’s Bazar, is dedicated to strengthening sectors that create employment opportunities and generate income.  One area with significant potential in this regard is the horticulture value chain, particularly in the production of fruits and vegetables. By facilitating transformations in the local market systems and strengthening both the connections to suppliers and consumers for the producers we aim to achieve economic benefit for the community. Ultimately, these efforts contribute to the broader economic development of the district said Ms Ruchika Bahl, Head of ILO Sub-office, Cox’s Bazar.

Mr Abu Morshed Chowdhury, President, Cox’s Bazar Chamber of Commerce and Industries, stated, “The consultation seeks to bring together government representatives, private sector leaders, workers' organizations, UN agencies, and civil society representatives to collaborate their efforts to increase market connectivity for local agribusinesses and smallholder producers, including refugee camp markets and regional trading hubs with diverse product range.”

During the consultation valuable conversations took place, involving the sharing of perspectives and the identification of challenges by various stakeholders. They collectively agreed to establish a roadmap, with the private sector taking the lead, aimed at enhancing market access for locally produced agricultural goods.

This workshop brought together key participants including representatives from district commissioners' offices, the Department of Agriculture (DoA), the Department of Youth Development (DYD), WFP, FAO, BRAC, ISCG, UN Women, Civil Society, private sector leaders, workers' organizations, and other stakeholders.