The United States has said it looks forward to working with Bangladesh to "enhance economic investment" over the next 50 years and beyond. The visiting US delegation met Salman F Rahman, Private Industry and Investment Adviser to PM Sheikh Hasina, to hear how government and private companies are collaborating. Eileen Laubacher, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for South Asia, US National Security Council (NSC); Michael Schiffer, USAID Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Asia; and Afreen Akhter, US Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, are on a three-day visit to Bangladesh. For over 50 years, the US has partnered with the government and the people of Bangladesh, providing over $8 billion to tackle issues like public health, education, energy, environment, food security, natural disasters, and more. Read: Want to create a new chapter in our relations: Foreign Minister says after meeting with US delegation The United States is one of the largest investors in Bangladesh and its largest single country export market, said the US Embassy in Dhaka. "Our leadership from Washington D.C. joined local economic experts to discuss a range of issues impacting the bilateral trade relationship," said the US Embassy. The United States "stands ready" to help Bangladesh create a business climate that attracts more investment from the US. The delegation discussed ways to improve the business environment, making investment in Bangladesh more attractive to American companies. Read: Bangladesh-US relations will be stronger based on environment, climate actions: Environment Minister The three officials, according to the US side, are visiting Bangladesh to discuss with the government of Bangladesh ways to "strengthen diplomatic ties, address challenges, and promote a shared vision for the advancement of mutual interests in the Indo-Pacific region." They also met Foreign Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, civil society representatives, labour leaders, youth activists and those engaged in developing a free and uncensored media. "We discussed with the Foreign Minister how our two countries can work on mutual interests, including economic development, security, refugees, climate, labor, and trade," said the US Embassy in a separate message after the meeting. Bangladesh is an important partner in the Indo-Pacific region, it said. Read more: US Deputy Assistant Secretary meets Bangladeshi civil society members including Zillur and Adilur
Russian Ambassador to Bangladesh, Alexander Mantytskyi, has expressed his country’s keen interest in exporting wheat to Bangladesh. This intention was conveyed today (January 18, 2024) during a courtesy visit to Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder at his office. The meeting, which also included Secretary to the Food Ministry, Ismail Hossain; Director General of the Food Department, Shakhawat Hossain, and other high-ranking officials, served as a platform to discuss a range of issues. Key topics included the progress of Bangladesh’s economy, potential expansion of trade and business relations between the two countries, and wheat export from Russia. Import 300,000 metric tons of wheat from Russia gets cabinet body’s nod Food Minister Sadhan Chandra expressed his gratitude towards the Russian ambassador for the proposal and recognized Russia as a significant development ally of Bangladesh. The discussions highlighted the mutual benefits and opportunities that enhanced trade and investment ties could bring to both nations. Ambassador Mantytskyi underscored the substantial potential for trade and investment that exists between Bangladesh and Russia. He emphasized his government’s readiness to contribute to Bangladesh’s food security goals by capitalizing on these trade opportunities. Discussions underway on possibility of supplying LNG, wheat, fertilisers from Russia: Lavrov The proposed wheat export from Russia to Bangladesh marks a significant step in strengthening the economic and trade relations between the two countries. It reflects Russia’s willingness to play a constructive role in supporting Bangladesh’s ongoing development and food security initiatives.
"Food for All" is the core goal and commitment of the Awami League. The manifesto pledges to build a hunger-free Bangladesh. On Wednesday (December 27), the Awami League announced this manifesto for the 12th national parliamentary election. Agriculture is a primary driving force of Bangladesh's economy and livelihoods. Agriculture plays a crucial role not only in fulfilling the food and nutritional needs of the population but also in providing employment in rural areas, supplying raw materials to industries, and increasing export earnings. Following independence, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, initiated an agricultural revolution by taking ground-breaking steps to enhance production and ensure food security, giving utmost importance to the development of agriculture and farmers. Currently, under the leadership of Bangabandhu's daughter, Sheikh Hasina, the Awami League government also prioritizes agriculture in state governance. With the commitment of "Food for All," the party emphasizes agricultural development in its manifesto for the 12th national parliamentary election. PM Hasina unveils AL election manifesto promising dev, peace, prosperity In the fiscal year 2022-23, rice production surpassed all previous records. Currently, Bangladesh ranks third globally in the production of rice, vegetables, and onions. Additionally, it holds the second position in jute production, fourth in tea, and seventh in potato production. Significant progress has been made in cultivating both domestic and foreign fruits. Farmers are encouraged to cultivate profitable but unconventional crops like coffee, cashew nuts, black pepper, malta (a type of citrus), and dragon fruit. The per capita fruit consumption rate, which was 55 grams in 2006, increased to 85 grams in 2023. In the last 15 years, 699 new crop varieties resilient to adverse environments and 708 technologies have been developed. The mechanization of agriculture is underway to modernize it. From 2010 to 2023, nearly 133,000 agricultural machineries, including combine harvesters, reapers, seeders, and power tillers, have been distributed to farmers at subsidized prices. A 3,000 crore taka agricultural mechanization project is ongoing. Overall, the country's agricultural system is transitioning from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture. AL to announce election manifesto Wednesday To maintain this trend, the Awami League, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, pledges to follow sustainable development strategies based on planned initiatives. The strategy aims to meet the growing population's nutritional needs, ensure the supply and accessibility of nutritious food for all, develop commercial agriculture, expand agriculture-dependent industries, improve rural infrastructure, increase and diversify exports of agricultural and non-agricultural products, and enhance the quality of life in rural communities through poverty alleviation. The annual budget allocation will be increased, and private investment in the rural sector will be encouraged. Awami League’s Commitment "Food for All" remains the Awami League's primary goal and commitment. The trend of following sustainable development strategies, based on a contextualized plan for the development of agriculture, farmers, and the rural economy, will continue. The strategy includes ensuring nutrition for the growing population, supplying and accessing nutritious food for everyone, developing commercial agriculture, expanding agriculture-dependent industries, improving rural infrastructure, increasing and diversifying exports of agricultural and non-agricultural products, and enhancing the living standards of rural communities through poverty alleviation. The annual budget allocation will be increased, and private investment in the rural sector will be encouraged. The daughter of Bangabandhu pledges to expand the initiatives already taken to increase agricultural production. The provision of agricultural loans at 4% concessional interest will continue; the central bank will refinance commercial banks at a 0.5% rate, encouraging them to distribute more agricultural loans. The Awami League will continue to provide assistance and subsidies for agricultural production and investment in agricultural inputs. Easy access to and availability of agricultural machinery will be ensured to alleviate labor shortages in agriculture and increase productivity. Subsidies on agricultural machinery will continue. The Awami League government has already implemented a policy to bring all land under cultivation to further increase agricultural production. Sheikh Hasina's commitment is that no land will remain uncultivated. Emphasis will be placed on developing an integrated agricultural system. Furthermore, to build a smart, agriculture-dependent Bangladesh, strategies will be adopted for commercial agriculture, biotechnology, genetic engineering, robotics, artificial intelligence, and nano-technologies, as well as for developing the rural non-agricultural sector and facing globalization challenges. The focus on modernizing agriculture, innovating technology, and increasing opportunities and facilities for agricultural research will continue. Environmental protection will also be seriously considered in the use of various products in agriculture. Read more: Govt prepared to ensure food security into the future: Agriculture Minister Not only agriculture, but also the fisheries and livestock sectors are immensely important for ensuring food security, meeting nutritional needs, creating employment, alleviating poverty, expanding export trade, and overall socio-economic development in Bangladesh. To meet the animal protein demand of the growing population, create entrepreneurs and employment, and keep the rural economy active, Sheikh Hasina's government is also giving equal importance to the fisheries and livestock sectors. The Awami League's commitments in this continuity are: 1. To increase the productivity of livestock by one and a half times by 2028. 2. To establish commercial dairy and poultry farms, increase self-employment, and alleviate poverty by providing loans on easy terms, necessary subsidies, technical advice, and policy support. 3. To increase the domestic production of quality animal feed ingredients, expand processing technology, and ensure reasonable prices. 4. To diversify, process, and expand export-oriented industries of animal products. 5. To expand farm mechanization and automated production systems in preparation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 6. To increase fish production from 4.915 million metric tons to 5.840 million metric tons and to raise the per capita fish consumption from 67.8 grams/day to 75 grams/day by ensuring sustainable fish production and achieving food security through maximum utilization of resources. 7. To strengthen sustainable management of marine fisheries resources and ensure responsible fishing for the development of the blue economy. 8. To adopt projects/programs based on delta hotspots for coping with the adverse effects of climate change, improving the quality of life of local communities, adaptation, and capacity building. 9. To reduce fish waste by 10% and create employment for about 600,000 people in the next five years by ensuring sustainable use of fish resources through value chain development and diversifying value-added fish and fishery products. 10. To encourage the private sector to increase fish and fishery product exports and expand new markets abroad by organizing Fish Expos and establishing exclusive economic zones for fishery product processing, aiming to increase export earnings from 4,790 crore to 15,000 crore taka. 11. To expand ongoing programs for increasing livestock production and to enhance opportunities and facilities for processing, marketing, and value addition of these products. 12. To continue fish farming in ponds and, where possible, in rice fields by providing quality fish fry, food, and disease treatment. 13. To provide easy access to capital, electricity connections, and other facilities for farmers. Read more: Food security remains protected amid int’l crisis: PM Hasina tells Parliament
When the roof or terrace of a building is covered with plants such as trees, shrubs, bushes, and grass, it is termed as a roof garden. This farming practice is also known as, terrace farm, rooftop farm, rooftop garden, green roof, living roof, or eco-roof. The concept of Smart urban agriculture focuses on adequate production of crops, vegetables and fruits utilising advanced farming techniques along with IoT and AI. As Dhaka has scarcity of arable land, the methods of smart agriculture can be applied here through terrace farming. Let's take a look into the prospects of smart rooftop farming in Dhaka city. Threats to the Food System of Dhaka City Decreasing Arable Land To cope up with the increasing pressure of population, the agricultural lands are being converted to residential, commercial or industrial land uses. Such practices are reducing the scope of growing agricultural food products in different urban areas of Bangladesh including the Dhaka metropolitan city. Rising Food Inflation One of the major impacts of the Russia-Ukraine crisis was the disruption of global trades of some key foods and agricultural commodities. Like many other countries, Bangladesh has been experiencing rising prices of foods and agricultural products which is threatening the country's food security. According to BBS data, the food inflation rate in Bangladesh climbed to 12.54% in August 2023. The demands and prices of food commodities are also rocketing in Dhaka city. Read more: Inflation ticks up again as food prices remain sticky upwards Harmful Chemicals The usage of inorganic fertilisers and harmful pesticides to increase agricultural productions are making the yields hazardous for human health. Furthermore, food contamination practices such as application of harmful chemicals to ripen fruits or keep vegetables fresh for long hours are posing threat to the health of Dhaka city residents.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday (September 13, 2023) told the parliament that the Bangladesh’s food security remains protected even amid the ongoing international crisis. “Bangladesh has successfully faced Covid-19 pandemic. The food security remains protected in the country amid the current international crisis as well,” she said. The premier made the remarks while replying to a question from Awami League lawmaker Md Shahiduzzaman Sarkar (Naogaon-2). Earlier, Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhry presented the question-answer session at the beginning of the day’s business. Despite move to rein in price hike, food inflation rose to 12.54 percent in August: BBS The PM said Bangladesh has already attained food autarky. “The government has been working intensively to maintain our (food) self-sufficiency,” she said. She said the crisis has been created in the global supply chain of different commodities including foods following the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war. “In this situation, the government has regularly been taking various steps on national and international levels to ensure food security by facing this crisis,” said Hasina. She said Bangladesh has successfully attained the food autarky thanks to agricultural research, extension, continuous materials support and policy support in the agriculture sector. “Bangladesh has now become a role model on the global stage in case of food security,” she said. Dhaka finds Russian agri commodities competitive on price, but payment issues linger She said the country’s food grains production was 328.96 lakh metric tons in 2008-09 fiscal year, which went up to 477.68 lakh metric tons in 2022-23 fiscal year. Efforts to continue for recognition of 1971 genocide: PM In reply another question from Awami League lawmaker Anwer Hossain Khan (Laxmipur-1), the prime minister said many countries demanded the recognition of genocide committed in their respective countries as International Genocide Day. Later, the United Nations General Assembly on September 11, 2015 adopted a resolution through discussion to observe December 9 as the International Day for the Prevention of Genocide. “Since December 9 has been observed as the International Day for the Prevention of Genocide, the proposal to observe another International Day on the same issue would not be rational,” she said. She, however, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs and the Liberation War Museum and some members of the martyrs' families are making efforts to achieve international recognition of the genocide taken place in Bangladesh in 1971. The leader of the House said individuals and organizations working on the genocide are also working to attain the recognition of the genocide. She said international recognition of the 1971 genocide taken place in Bangladesh is as complex and time-consuming as any other genocide in the world. However, it would be easy to get international recognition of genocide by creating the global public opinion in favor of recognizing the genocide committed in Bangladesh. “Efforts will continue on the part of the government in this regard,” she said. Onion prices cross Tk 100 per kg in Dhaka after India imposes extra duty 854km highways made four-lane, 1,131 bridges constructed since 2009: PM Some 854 kilometers of highways have been upgraded to four-lane ones, while 11,434 kilometers of highways have been developed and construction of 1,131 bridges (123,254 meters) has been completed through 431 projects under the Department of Roads And Highways during the three terms of the present government from 2009 to 2023, said the Prime Minister replying to a question of Jatiya Party lawmaker Hafiz Uddin Ahmed (Thakurgaon-3). In the current financial year, she said the works are underway to upgrade some 574km of highways to 4-lane ones, develop 4,634km of highway and construct 750 bridges (64,844 meters) under 131 projects. Sheikh Hasina said the highway development projects completed during her three consecutive tenures from 2009 to June 2023 includes Up-gradation of Dhaka-Chattogram National Highway to 4-lane (Daudkandi-Chattogram Section) project, Joydebpur-Mymensingh Highway Development Project, Joydevpur-Chandra-Tangail-Elenga Highway Project with service lanes on both sides; Jatrabari Intersection-Mawa section of Dhaka- Khulna (N-8) Highway (including Ekuria-Babubazar link road). Read more: Despite move to rein in price hike, food inflation rose to 12.54 percent in August: BBS Among the bridges constructed in the three terms of the government were 2nd Kanchpur Bridge, Meghna Bridge, Gomti Bridge, Payra Bridge (Lebukhali Setu) over Payra River on Barisal-Patuakhali highway and Madhumati Bridge constructed over Madhumati River under Cross-Border Road Network Improvement Project (Bangladesh), she added. Proposed investment in economic zones rose to US$ 26 billion: Answering a question from AL lawmaker Md. Mamunur Rashid Kiron (Noakhali-3), the Leader of the House said that the overall proposed investment in the economic zone has now reached USD 26 billion. Besides, 41 companies have started commercial production and 50 industries are under construction in different zones, she said, adding that these industries have produced products worth USD 14.8 billion and exported products worth USD 291 million, creating 50,000 jobs in these industries. Read more: Half of Boro paddy procurement target not achieved yet, Food Minister tells JS
The United Nations is racing to extend a deal that has allowed shipments of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea to parts of the world struggling with hunger, helping ease a global food crisis exacerbated by the war Russia launched more than a year ago. The breakthrough accord that the U.N. and Turkey brokered with the warring sides last summer came with a separate agreement to ease shipments of Russian food and fertilizer that Moscow insists hasn't been applied. Russia set a Thursday deadline for its concerns to be ironed out or it's bowing out. Such brinkmanship isn't new: With a similar extension in the balance in March, Russia unilaterally decided to renew the deal for just 60 days instead of the 120 days outlined in the agreement. U.N. officials and analysts warn that a failure to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative could hurt countries in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia that rely on Ukrainian wheat, barley, vegetable oil and other affordable food products, especially as drought takes a toll. The deal helped lower prices of food commodities like wheat over the last year, but that relief has not reached kitchen tables. “If you have a cancellation of the grain deal again, when we’re already at a pretty tight situation, it’s just one more thing that the world doesn’t need, so the prices could start heading higher,” said William Osnato, a senior research analyst at agriculture data and analytics firm Gro Intelligence. “You don’t see relief on the horizon.” U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths told the Security Council on Monday that the deal was “critical” and talks were ongoing. Negotiators who gathered in Istanbul last week made little apparent headway. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said the grain deal “should be extended for a longer period of time and expanded” to “give predictability and confidence" to markets. Moscow says it opposes broadening or indefinitely expanding the deal. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday that there's an “intense session of contacts” but that ”a decision is yet to be made.” Russia, meanwhile, is rapidly shipping a bumper harvest of its wheat through other ports. Critics say that suggests Moscow is posturing or trying to wrest concessions in other areas — such as on Western sanctions — and claim it has dragging its heels on joint inspections of ships carried out by Russian, Ukrainian, U.N. and Turkish officials. Average daily inspections — meant to ensure vessels carry only food and not weapons — have steadily dropped from a peak of 10.6 in October to 3.2 last month. Russia denies slowing the work, with shipments of Ukrainian grain also declining in recent weeks. “We cannot agree that the role of the Russian representative (inspector) should be reduced to automatic rubber-stamping, or approval, or appeals submitted by Kyiv,” Russia’s ambassador in Geneva, Gennady Gatilov, told reporters last month. Asked whether a blockade of Ukraine's coast or more attacks on its ports could follow any withdrawal from the agreement, Gatilov said Russian authorities were “considering all possible scenarios if the deal is not extended.” Russia has five main asks, according to Gatilov: — A restoration of foreign supplies of farm machinery and replacement parts. — A lifting of restrictions on insurance and access to foreign ports for Russian ships and cargo. — Resumed operation of a pipeline that sends Russian ammonia, a key ingredient in fertilizer, to a Ukrainian Black Sea port. — An end to restrictions on financial activities linked to Russia's fertilizer companies. — Renewed access to the international SWIFT banking system for the Russian Agricultural Bank. The U.N. says it's doing what it can, but those solutions mainly rest with the private sector, where it has little leverage. The deal has allowed over 30 million metric tons of Ukrainian grain to be shipped, with more than half going to developing nations. China, Spain and Turkey are the biggest recipients, and Russia says that shows food isn't going to the poorest countries. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says Ukrainian corn for animal feed has headed to developed countries, while “a majority” of grain for people to eat has gone to emerging economies. Even if a “meaningful part” of the shipments goes to developed nations, that “has a positive impact to all countries because it brings prices down," Guterres told reporters in Nairobi, Kenya, this month. "And when you bring prices down, everybody benefits.” Osnato, the analyst, said markets aren't reacting to Russia’s threats to exit the deal, with wheat recently hitting two-year lows. If the agreement isn’t extended or negotiations drag on, the “loss of Ukraine grains wouldn’t be a disaster” for a month or two, he said. He says there is “bluster” coming from Russia to push for easing some sanctions because it's shipping record amounts of wheat for the season, and its fertilizers are flowing well, too. “It’s more about trying to get a little leverage, and they’re doing what they can to put themselves in a better negotiating position,” Osnato said. Trade flows tracked by financial data provider Refinitiv show that Russia exported just over 4 million tons of wheat in April, the highest volume for the month in five years, following record or near-record highs in several previous months. Exports since last July reached 32.2 million tons, 34% above the same period from last season, according to Refinitiv. It estimates Russia will ship 44 million tons of wheat in 2022-2023. The issue is more pressing with Ukraine’s wheat harvest coming up in June and the need to sell that crop in July. Not having a Black Sea shipping corridor in place at that point would “start taking another large chunk of wheat and other grains off the market,” Osnato said. Ukraine can send its food by land through Europe, so it wouldn’t be completely cut off from world markets, but those routes have a lower capacity than sea shipments and have stirred disunity in the European Union. Uncertainties like drought in places including Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Syria and East Africa — big importers of food — are likely to keep food prices high, and an end to the U.N. deal wouldn't help. “Any shock to the markets can cause massive harm with catastrophic ripple effects in countries balancing on the brink of famine," said Shashwat Saraf, emergency director for East Africa at the International Rescue Committee. “The expiration of the Black Sea Grain Initiative is likely to trigger increased levels of hunger and malnutrition, spelling further disaster for East Africa,” Saraf said.
The government is going to provide 50 lakh families with 30 kg rice at Tk 15 per kg from March 1 under its Food Friendly Progamme, Food Minister Sadhan Chandar Majumder said on Sunday. “OMS is an ongoing programme. It will continue as long as there is demand for it. If necessary, it will continue throughout the year. Both rice and flour will be provided under the programme,” the minister said while speaking to the media after inspecting an OMS programme at Naogaon’s Atapotti and Rubir Mor area. “Although Open Market Sale(OMS) is not a year-long programme, it was undertaken so that low-income people would not suffer. That’s why we are still running the programme. What we want to see is whether people are getting the benefit and whether any dealer is smuggling. For this reason, inspection and monitoring will continue,” said the minister. Read more: Govt plans to provide 10 kg rice to 1 crore families each during Ramadan: Food Minister He also said the food stock in government warehouses has exceeded all previous records, adding that Bangladesh currently has more than 21 lakh tonnes of food stock against the safety stock of 10 lakh tonnes. Currently, the government is distributing around 14000–15000 tonnes of rice and flour per day across the country. According to the minister, other food assistance programmes (Kabikha, VGF, TR) will also run alongside OMS. “So there is nothing to panic about. There will be no food shortage in the country,” he added. The minister issued a warning to the traders not to stockpile food items for financial gain at the expense of the people. “New laws are being enacted. Cases have already been filed against many groups. Surveillance has been increased,” he said. Read more: Economic dev not possible without agriculture: Food Minister Rajshahi Regional Food Controller GM Farooq Hossain Patwar and Naogaon District Food Controller Alamgir Hossain were among the officials present. Meanwhile, the people who came to collect food items under the programme, said that the allocation is less than the demand. The minister assured the people that their problems would be taken into account.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam has said Bangladesh and Eswatini can establish cooperation in agro-production, agro-processing and food security areas in the context of growing demand for food and essential commodities. He mentioned the remarkable success that Bangladesh has achieved in agriculture and social development sectors including achieving targets of the MDGs. The State Minister had bilateral talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Eswatini Thulisile Dladla in Mbabane on February 6. The High Commissioner of Bangladesh to South Africa and high officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were present at the meeting. The visit comes following the visit of the Minister for Commerce, Industry and Trade of Eswatini Manqoba Khumalo to Dhaka in July 2022. The MoU between Bangladesh and Eswatini on “Establishment of Comprehensive Consultation Mechanism” and the memorandum of agreement on “Contract Farming and Agricultural Cooperation” were signed by State Minister Alam and his counterpart Thulisile Dladla, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday. During the talks, both sides discussed possibilities of establishing contract farming by Bangladeshi entrepreneurs in Eswatini and agreed to work on the matter. Both sides also agreed to explore possibilities of cooperation in agro-processed and food industries. Jabulani Mabuza, the Minister of Agriculture of Eswatini, said agriculture is a major potential area of cooperation between Eswatini and Bangladesh. He said a delegation from the Eswatinian Agriculture Ministry may visit Bangladesh to share knowledge in the agriculture sector. He invited Bangladeshi agricultural farms to establish contract farming in Eswatini. The Eswatinian side showed interest in sharing knowledge in agricultural production, agro-commercialization as well as agro-research and extension areas with Bangladesh. The Foreign Minister of Eswatini expressed desire to enhance the present level of relations with Bangladesh. She maintained that Eswatini looked to develop business and investment relations with Bangladesh and suggested the conclusion of the MoU between FBCCI and the Eswatinian apex chamber of commerce in the field of business cooperation. The State Minister conveyed the greetings of President Md. Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to King Mswati III. Alam stressed on promotion of trade and investment relations between Bangladesh and Eswatini to the mutual benefit of the two countries. He underlined the need of conclusion of agreements in visa waiver for diplomats and official passport holders and avoidance of double taxation with a view to promoting contacts, trade and business. The State Minister invited the Eswatinian armed forces officers to join courses in defence institutions in Bangladesh. Briefing on the opportunities of higher education in Bangladesh private universities, he suggested that Eswatinian students may opt to study in different private universities in Bangladesh.
Developed countries must keep food out of the purview of war, sanctions: Agriculture Minister tells Berlin conference
Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque has urged developed countries to keep food and agricultural products out of the purview of war and sanctions. Developed countries should be more responsible and proactive in ensuring global food security, the minister said at the 15th Berlin Agriculture Ministers Conference in Germany on Saturday. Bangladesh is a victim of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, he said, adding that as a result of this war, price of fertilisers has quadrupled, and price of food grains has increased significantly -- impacting food security. “I call upon the developed world to take flexible, unbureaucratic, and fast steps to mitigate this negative impact,” he told the conference. Read more: Dhaka, Abuja agree to explore possibilities in contract farming, cooperation in agro, food processing Highlighting state measures to ensure food security in the future, Razzaque said the current government under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is working to build a developed, sustainable, and climate-tolerant agricultural system, through which food security will be sustainable, nutritious food will be ensured, and farmers will have a better life. Land depletion, population growth, climate change, Covid-19 and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war have become obstacles, he added. “In this situation, I request the developed countries to promptly implement the commitments made in COP26, COP27 and other global forums.” The conference was held on the last day of the four-day (January 18-21) 15th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA), organised by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Agriculture ministers of more than 70 countries and representatives of 10 international organisations participated in this conference. At the conference, it was mentioned that according to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), global hunger is to be eradicated (Zero Hunger) by 2030. But the reality is that the number of people suffering from hunger is increasing day by day. Around 70.2 to 82.8 crore people were affected by hunger in 2021, which is 4.6 crore more than in 2020 and 1.5 crore more than in 2019. Species extinction, Covid-19 and Russia-Ukraine war have added new dimensions to the food crisis. Read more: International community urged to address triple challenge of food, fuel, fertilizer shortages In view of this situation, increasing cooperation to build a crisis-proof, climate-resilient food system, to protect biodiversity, and to build a sustainable global food system were emphasized in the conference. A 'Joint Manifesto' (Communique) titled 'Food System Transformation: A Worldwide Response to Multiple Crises' was also announced by high-level representatives and agriculture ministers of the countries participating in the conference.
To improve food security in Bangladesh at a time of rising commodity prices amid a global shortfall of staple crops, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) is providing $32.5 million loan to Singapore-based agricultural commodity-trading company Agrocorp International Pte Ltd, which is a leading supplier of wheat and pulses to Bangladesh. According to IFC, the largest global development institution which is focused on the private sector in emerging markets, is providing an eight-year financing package consisting of a senior secured loan of up to $18 million as well as a concessional loan of $14.5 million from the International Development Association’s Private Sector Window Blended Finance Facility. At a time when trade financing has been constrained globally amid price instability, the investment will allow Agrocorp to buy and deliver millions of tonnes of wheat and pulses from Australia and Canada to Bangladesh, providing safe, nutritious, and calorie-rich staples to the country at a time of heightened food insecurity. These staples are sold to millers and food processors, which depend on them to produce basic foods for the Bangladeshi population, a media statement by IFC said. Read more: Bangladesh Bank forms Tk 5000cr refinance scheme to ensure food security “Agrocorp plays an important role in addressing food security in Asia, which has become more vital with all the recent shocks in global food-supply chains,” said Vijay Iyengar, Chairman and Managing Director, Agrocorp International. “We are delighted to be partnering with IFC for this loan, which will allow us to scale up our work to provide an even stronger platform to secure food supplies for emerging markets such as Bangladesh,” he said. “We are pleased that IFC is able to provide financial support for Agrocorp to reinforce its position in global food supply chains, and in this instance to serve the markets in Bangladesh during these challenging times”, said Geoffrey Yeo, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Singapore. “We are glad that Singapore’s role as a global trade hub has enabled companies like Agrocorp to play an important role in managing global food supplies” he said. Read more: PMO counting on success of upcoming food security programs The war in Ukraine has exacerbated food inflation globally, sparked high and volatile energy and fertilizer prices and restrictive trade policies, and has also worsened supply-chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Wheat has been particularly affected, as Ukraine and Russia have traditionally accounted for over a quarter of the global-trade volumes. In addition, about a quarter of Bangladesh’s population of 165 million people face food insecurity due to the impacts of climate change and the rising frequency of natural hazards, such as flooding caused by monsoon rains. This convergence of crises threatens to drive more people into extreme poverty, magnify hunger and malnutrition, and erase hard-won development gains in the country. “This investment ensures the supply of essential raw materials to food producers and processors in Bangladesh, allowing the availability of safe, nutritious, and calorie-rich staple foods to be available”, said Hector Gomez Ang, Regional Director for South Asia, IFC. “ The IFC investment is in line with a new $6 billion Global Food Security Platform (GFSP), which aims to mobilise private investment to address the deterioration in food security, particularly in the world’s most vulnerable countries. Since 2010, IFC has invested over $3.6 billion to help private sector growth in Bangladesh.