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Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF), a much awaited event of the year, began on January 1 at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar and visitor response is as enthusiastic as ever. People from all parts of the country visit Dhaka for this annual event and it is for the 22nd time that this fair is taking place in the capital.
Organised jointly by the Export Promotion Bureau and the Ministry of Commerce, the fair is a wonderful opportunity for Bangladeshi manufacturers to showcase their products to buyers from both home and abroad. Foreign companies and traders also get the opportunity to look for local distributors and buyers for their products that have high demand among local consumers.
One of the most attractive pavilions this time around is that of Mojo, a soft drink brand of Akij Food and Beverage Ltd. It looks like a planet and the colour and theme is in line with its cola drink can.
আরো ও সাজেশন:-
Other local stalls that are also impressive and have special offers going on are the multi-storeyed pavilions of furniture makers such as Hatil, Partex, Brothers, Akhter Furnishers, etc.
“Hatil participates in the trade fair mainly for showcasing and launching new designs. We think that the fair is a great platform for displaying new designs as we get a huge number of visitors in one place, no other event allows us to reach out to such a massive crowd,” said Atul Prashad Sarkar, in- charge of the Hatil stall. “We are giving 5 percent discount for all our designs, and for selective items, you may avail discounts of 10 to 15 percent.”
“Export gets a boost every year through this fair and last year, we got orders from Bhutan and Nepal. This year, we have buyers from the Middle East interested in placing orders. They came here to ascertain the quality of the raw materials used in making our furniture,” Sarkar added.
Partex has some grand designs and they have launched 80 new items, many designed by foreign furniture designers. “We produce everything here and get orders from clients in the Middle East,” said Ashok Kumar, stall manager at the fair.
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About setting up permanent pavilions, he said: “We heard that there is a chance of venue change next year and the event will be relocated to Purbachal in the city. I guess that is why we cannot have a more permanent setting here. Whatever we spend on setting up our stall, it is likely we will sell enough here and throughout the year to make up for it and more.”
Sharif Melamine is an old name in the tableware industry and is a favourite among visitors at the fair. “The designs and longevity of Sharif Melamine is quite admirable and you get discounts and new designs at the fair,” said Fatima Khan, a customer from Magura. “For the last two years I was unable to visit the fair, but this year I made a resolution to visit Dhaka during the fair. Although you get most of what you get here in the market places nowadays, I still want to check out the fair, it’s just what we do in our family,” she added.
Sharif Melamine is giving 10 percent discount on almost all products and sales are excellent this year, more so than last year, said pavilion manager Poltu Bhoumik. He added that the number of foreign orders received so far has already surpassed the total number of orders they got last year.
“This is a great achievement for us and we are really glad for this platform. Security has been sufficient and you will see continuous monitoring throughout the fair. The crowd has also been wonderful,” said Bhoumik.
Another popular destination for visitors is the Walton mega pavilion, on the west side of the fair’s main entrance. The local electronics manufacturer has on sale over 500 different products, including about 50 new models of home appliances, refrigerators and LED televisions.
If you are an enthusiast of leather shoes, do not miss the Pacific Footwear stall, located near the first entrance. They have a wide selection of quality leather shoes, at affordable prices, to choose from. It is a Bangladesh-Italy joint venture company that does not usually market its products in Bangladesh. The company also makes sweaters and those items are on sale, too.
If you love ceramic bowls and plates and want to be transported into a Middle Eastern souk-like atmosphere, take a look at the Turkish pavilion where dazzling tainted glass lamps and artistic hand-painted ceramic crockeries are available. It took over a week to set up this stall so visitors could enjoy the artistic beauty of the items from Turkey.
Another special attraction at the fair this time is the month-long photography exhibition on Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The photographs on display portray the life and struggle of the great leader. The exhibition is located beside the Export Promotion Bureau information centre.
“We see a large number of people here everyday, parents come in with their children and also students who are delighted at the chance to see such details about the life of our father of the nation,” said Hasan, a volunteer at the exhibition.
“My kids know about him, our great leader who led us to the liberation of this country, they read about him in textbooks and see him on TV, but this is a totally new experience for them,” said Abdus Salam Bhuiyan, a visitor.
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“We come to the trade fair every year because my wife buys crockeries and cookware from here every time because of the offers. She is also a fan of Home Tex bedsheets as they are of high quality. In fact, she is there at the moment while I browse this extraordinary display with the children,” he added.
Among the foreign participants, Ershad Ahmed of stall ‘Rishi’ from Kashmir, India, said he was satisfied with the customers and prospective business partners in Bangladesh.
“The people here are great and Bangladeshi customers are great. There is a huge demand of our shawls and outfits here and we find lots of buyers, who visit our factories throughout the year to import from us,” said Ahmed.
“We have been participating in this fair for the last three years and I have only one grievance, it is your customs. Every year, we have to wait for almost 15 days before we get all our goods and we try to do business with the limited goods we have. Also, many items go missing from customs, it is a big problem and we have to face this loss every year,” he alleged.
But coming to the Dhaka fair and displaying and selling their products is still worth the hassle they have to face with Bangladesh customs every year, the Indian businessman added.
Similar complaints were voiced by foreign companies, particularly from the South Asia region.
According to Mir Zahid, another participant from India, even stallholders are having to buy tickets to enter the fair everyday. He urged the fair organisers to waive this rule as the participants are already paying a lot of money as rent for their stalls everyday.
“Moreover, half our goods are still not released by the customs and pieces are missing when we are receiving them. Many of our three piece salwar-kameez suits have pant pieces missing, for some, we could not find dupattas. We prepare for an entire year to come and do business here, but we have to bear such losses. I really hope the situation will improve and next year, we will have a better experience. Business is slower this year, than the last fair,” Zahid added.
A few things that have improved at the fair are the lack of peddlers and hawkers in the parking lots and near the fair entrances. Meanwhile, tickets for the fair can be bought online from shohoz.com to avoid long queues at the counters.
However, there is dearth of public transport from the fair area, while the available auto-rickshaws are demanding higher fares. The authorities could set up complaint booths near the exits to keep the situation under control, and also arrange shuttle buses at peak hours to the venue from different points in the city, like they do in many international fairs abroad, some visitors opined.
There are 580 pavilions and stalls at the fair from about two dozen countries, including host Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, China, Iran, Turkey and the United States. The fair will run till January 31.
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