Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) on Wednesday urged the government to enhance local capacity of seed production and marketing to reduce severe dependency on its import.
The apex chamber leaders said 93 percent of different crops' seed are imported to meet the local demand while Bangladesh Agriculture Development Authority (BADC) can produce 7 percent of the total demand in the country.
Also read:FBCCI to boost business with Mexico
The self-reliance in seed production necessary for sustainable food security, said the leaders of FBCCI.
In such a situation, the members of the FBCCI's Standing Committee on Agriculture, Agricultural Processing and Agro-based Industries have called for increasing local seed production to make Bangladesh's food security sustainable at their first meeting.
FBCCI President Md. Jashim Uddin was present at the meeting as the chief guest, held at the FBCCI office on Wednesday.
He said that food security is one of the most important issues for any country. The agricultural production kept Bangladesh economy at a relatively better position during Covid-19 epidemic, he added.
The government has taken initiative to turn agro-based industries into export-oriented industries, he said.
The FBCCI Chief urged the private sector entrepreneurs to come forward to invest in this sector.
He said that although Bangladeshi agricultural products are exported their buyers are mainly expatriate Bangladeshis.
An expert’s team has been appointed to conduct research in the London market to find out why these products are not being sold in the mainstream market.
After receiving the research data, the FBCCI President hopes that it will be possible to further increase the export of Bangladesh agricultural products abroad.
“The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries are interested in taking halal food from Bangladesh. Hence there is a lot of potential in this sector.” The President said.
Earlier, the director in-charge of the committee Dr. Ferdousi Begum said huge import dependence of seeds is a risk for the food security of the country.
Tasfia Jashim, co-chair of the committee, said, “54 per cent of the labor force in agriculture is women. Equal pay for this huge number of workers has not yet been ensured. At the same time, women own 10 percent or less of the land.”
Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Bab, senior vice-president of the FBCCI, the chairman of the committee Md. Abul Hashem,FBCCI Director Bijoy Kumar Kejriwal, Harun or Rashid, Secretary General Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque, Co-Chairmen of the Standing Committee, among others, spoke in the meeting.