From the country of war-torn fragile economy to today’s self-reliant Bangladesh, where there is a history of crossing the path of a friend. After independence, jute industry was the only industry to be mentioned at the public-private level. After that, many industries including readymade garments, agro-based industries, light engineering, pharmaceuticals, leather, shipbreaking and shipbuilding started to develop in phases.
The agro-processing industry has already established a strong foothold in the country’s economy. Apart from this, this industry, which has become one of the export sectors for the country, has also gained wide recognition in the world. The Pran of Bangladesh is leading in this sector. The Pran of Bangladesh has now reached 145 countries of the world. There are some countries in the world where Bangladesh does not have an embassy, but Pran is representing Bangladesh there. The Pran-RFL Group has received 16 consecutive National Export Trophies from the government for its significant contribution to exports.
The Pran-RFL family is quite prosperous today after a journey of four decades. Pran-RFL manufactures and markets a wide range of products including food products, housewares, light engineering products, electrical and electronics home appliances, furniture, bicycles, elevators, textiles, toiletries and flexible packaging. Pran-RFL has factories in 18 places in the country, where its products are being produced and reaching the world beyond the borders of the country. We have set up our factories in remote areas of the country so that the local people get more employment opportunities.
I am proud to be a member of the Pran-RFL family when I see the product of Bangladesh in the market bag of a person in a remote part of the Bahamas in Africa or in the hands of a person in Fiji, Vanuatu or Solomon Islands in Oceania. It is good to see that the products of Pran compete with the famous brands of different countries in all the famous chain shops of the world. In these chain shops, when Pran Fruto or RFL containers are among the 8-10 products in the buyer’s market trolley, it seems that my entry into business life in the way shown by my father is very successful.
Our journey began in 1971, with the development of tube wells and agricultural machinery. Then we became interested in the production of agricultural products. In 1985, we started cultivating banana, papaya, pineapple, tuberose etc. in Narsingdi on a small scale. And this is where the journey of Agricultural Marketing Company Limited Pran started.
When we go to produce agricultural products, we see that even though many products are produced in the country, the prices of the products go down during the season and the farmers are deprived of fair prices. In addition, due to lack of conservation, many crops are lost. So we became more enterprising in processing rather than producing agricultural products. In 1993, we set up a factory in Narsingdi to process agricultural products.
While procuring the required raw materials from the farmers, we noticed a lack of skills and lack of necessary equipment among them. We started contract farming. At present, Pran has 100000 contract farmers from whom we regularly collect various products including mango, tomato, almond, rice, pulses, pineapple, guava, turmeric and chili.
At one time a lot of powdered milk was imported from abroad to meet the nutritional needs of the people of the country. We introduced the first dairy hub system in the north with the development of the dairy sector in mind. At present, Pran Dairy has 12,000 registered farms under five hubs. From this dairy hub the farmers are taken care of and trained.
The light engineering industry could be another important export sector. We are already exporting our manufactured Durant bicycles to 10 countries around the world. At one time we had to import electronics and electrical products from abroad. Now the situation is changing.
The group now employs 110,000 people directly, the highest in the private sector. At present about 1.5 million people are directly and indirectly dependent on the group. We are running hospitals and schools as part of social responsibility as well as job creation. Apart from that, we have been conducting various activities including financial assistance in various educational institutions, construction of roads, being by the side of disaster people.
In our 40-year journey, we have been able to reach this stage with the help of the government, financial institutions and all concerned, as well as countless consumers from home and abroad. But we do not want to stop here. Now our goal is to reach all over the world before we reach 50 and become one of the top brands in the world.