Pacific Islands go gaga over PRAN
PRAN has been exporting its products to many foreign markets for quite some time now, but mostly to neighboring countries or other traditional export destinations. However, this time PRAN has reached far, to the small island countries of the Pacific Ocean. “I am just amazed to see how far PRAN has spread. I see their products in every supermarket here in Suva, Fiji, I had no idea it has a huge market all over the pacific islands,” said Farzana Romine Urmi, a non-resident Bangladeshi residing in Suva, the capital of Fiji. Not only in Fiji, but PRAN’s products are also available in seven to eight small Pacific island countries including Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Tonga, Solomon Islands, East Timor, Samoa and others. “Among them, PRAN exports the most to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands,” Kamruzzaman Kamal, director of Marketing of PRAN RFL Group told Dhaka Tribune. Kamruzzaman Kamal said they began exporting PRAN's products to the Pacific islands with its fruit drinks to Papua New Guinea in 2011. “In these 11 years, the volume of export products and the export destinations has increased significantly,” he added. He also said currently they export about 120 different kinds of PRAN products in the Pacific islands such as different juice, fruit drinks, biscuits, confectionery, wafers, spices and noodles. Among them, PRAN's juice, wafers and confectionery products are the most popular. Talking about the story behind the products gaining so much popularity in the Pacific islands, Kamruzzaman Kamal said, 95% of the consumers of PRAN products are locals. “PRAN's products have gained wide popularity in schools, colleges and restaurants as we supply products keeping in line with the quality, price and demand of the consumers,” he added. The popularity can be observed as many residents appreciated these products on social media. According to PRAN, they export products of nearly 600 containers to the Pacific island countries each year. According to Kamruzzaman, the demand for the products has grown significantly in these island countries as the annual growth in the region is more than 50%. However, due to the higher tariffs on some products, exports are lagging behind despite the growing demand. There are other challenges such as the shortage of ships and long transit time. PRAN RFL Group, one of the biggest conglomerates of the country, started its journey in 1981. The company currently exports around 200 brands in ten different categories to over 400 million consumers in 145 countries, according to their website. They began exporting in 1997, to France. The first-ever PRAN products to reach foreign land were canned sliced pineapples and puffed rice.