Speakers at a webinar discussion here underscored the need for bilateral cooperation in agriculture between India and Bangladesh to overcome the existing problems caused by COVID-19.
South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) and Asian Confluence jointly organised the discussion meeting titled “Regional Cooperation in Trade and Development of Agriculture: Perspectives from Bangladesh and India.”
Conducted by Dr Selim Raihan, Executive Director of SANEM, the webinar hosted an expert panel discussion as academicians, researchers, journalists, agriculture experts, development practitioners, businessmen and students took part in it.
Dr Selim Raihan, also a professor of Economics department at Dhaka University, hoped that SANEM and Asian Confluence will continue to collaborate in fostering intellectual discussions promoting regional cooperation and trade.
“Farmers in Bangladesh don’t have any expertise on marketing of their products and thus they should be trained in this regard. However, increasing bilateral cooperation and trade in agriculture, political willingness is most important,” he added.
Sabyasachi Dutta, Executive Director of Asian Confluence, India East Asia Center at Shillong in India, described the necessity of cooperation between India and Bangladesh in agricultural sector.
“In the context of the ongoing pandemic, cooperation in agriculture has become all the more important. The effective role of think-tanks in increasing regional cooperation,” Dutta pointed out.
Abdus Salam, Managing Director of Organic Bangladesh Limited, said Bangladesh can gain advantage in export of agricultural products, in competition with other countries through regional cooperation.
“Such collaboration can benefit farmers of both countries, increase regional trade and assist in export earning,” he added.
Dr M Nahid Sattar, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics department at Bangladesh Agricultural University, said the pandemic has affected income and in turn the consumption of the mass people, which has significantly decreased the sale of agricultural products.
To tackle these problems, he stressed the need for commercial transformation of agriculture and development of market management structure in Bangladesh.