You are currently viewing Bangladesh’s Emerging Turf Industry

Bangladesh’s Emerging Turf Industry

According to a survey by Dhaka’s Capital Development Authority, Rajdhani Unnayan Katripakkha (RAJUK), among the total of 129 wards in Dhaka’s 2 city corporations, 37 wards have no playgrounds or parks. Whereas the city requires 1,876 acres of playgrounds and 1,137 acres of parks,  at present, the city has only 294 acres of playgrounds and parks. In India’s capital, Delhi, there are 18,000 parks, including 500 parks for only children.  As per urban planners, a modern city requires 1 playground in every half square kilometer. As the total area of the 2 city corporations of Dhaka is 305.47 sq km, they should at least have 610 playgrounds. More importantly, there are no playgrounds for girls.

The city has reached a tipping point where it is virtually unfeasible to relocate the present establishments and free up spaces for playgrounds. So both the public and private sectors have to find alternatives to navigate the land scarcity for playgrounds or recreational facilities.


Overview of the Turf Industry

The global market for commercial turf grounds or artificial/synthetic turf has witnessed substantial growth in the last couple of years. According to Marketsandmarkets, in 2022, the global artificial turf market has achieved a valuation of $77.5 billion. This market is poised to attain $121.3 billion by 2032, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.9% from 2022. As per market estimates, the Asia Pacific region is likely to experience massive growth.


Commercialised Sports Facilities in Bangladesh

Commercialised sports facilities are the solution to the country’s playground scarcity. Commercialized sports facilities such as indoor and outdoor sports facilities, turfs can tackle the unavailability of sports facilities. These modern facilities offer high-quality playing surfaces, modern amenities and services that are conducive to children’s physical and mental development while fulfilling the recreational pursuits.

The turf industry in Bangladesh started with JAFF at Bashundhara R/A in Dhaka. At present, there are more than 32 turfs all across Dhaka, and over 70 in Chattogram, with 10 more facilities under construction. The industry has been expanded even in villages of Chattogram such as Hathazari, Sitakunda, Patia, etc. The collective investment in these facilities is estimated at BDT 100 crore, contributing to a monthly market value of BDT 6 crore across Bangladesh. Establishing a turf requires investments ranging from BDT 25 lakh to 5 crore, depending on the scale of operation. As a consequence, daily incomes of turfs vary as smaller turfs generate around BDT 8,000-12,000 and larger courts generate around BDT 30,000-35,000. On average, 12-14 people can play on turf for BDT 2,000 per hour, costing less than BDT 150 per person. Peak booking times in these turfs are observed on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, with additional evening to night bookings on other days. The aggregate demand for such facilities is surging from a diverse customer segment – from university students to professionals – as they serve as a viable alternative to public parks and playgrounds. As affordability is a crucial factor to access these turfs, socio-economic background is still a critical factor in this equation.


How can GoB Support the Turf Industry?

< Just the way GoB is aiming to establish day care centers, the same can be done for the playgrounds leveraging Public-Private Partnerships (PPP). PPPs are widespread in the United States for playground development. So, in abandoned spaces or the available spaces which are the property of the government, playgrounds can be built through PPP while ensuring local community engagement for ideas and feedback in order to design playgrounds according to their needs.

Navigating the land scarcity to build new playgrounds and parks is the major obstacle. So how can the government navigate through land scarcity? Leveraging the public-private partnerships, the government can utilize the emerging turf industry in the country. Several indoor and outdoor facilities, including turfs can be built  through PPPs to offer an alternative for traditional playground setup. Some of these facilities and turfs can be a major revenue source for the government as the government can rent some of them at an affordable price to various customer segments. At the same time, a lot of these facilities have to be made publicly accessible without any charge under the supervision of GoB.

In New York City, public parks can have field rentals starting around $50/hour. Drawing inspiration from other nations, these public turfs of the government can be rented at some specific time of the day or week to manage both the costs and services. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department of the Government of Hong Kong have various facilities: aquatic facilities: beaches and swimming pools, boating park, water sports centers, facilities for children: children’s play room, play equipment for all children, holiday camps, land sports facilities: archery ranges, bowling greens, cycling tracks and grounds, fitness rooms, free outdoor fitness equipment, free outdoor pitches and courts, golf facilities, grass pitches, etc.

< As the turf industry is emerging in Bangladesh, the Ministry of Youth and Sports should formulate a National Turf Industry Guidelines to address various challenges of these commercialized facilities, including health, safety, environmental concerns, renting, quality-maintenance issues, etc.

Author: Shah Adaan Uzzaman

Leave a Reply