In order to sustain food security in the future, agricultural productivity must be increased by reducing production costs and developing crop varieties suitable for adverse environments, Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque said.
Photo: Mostafa Shabuj

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In order to sustain food security in the future, agricultural productivity must be increased by reducing production costs and developing crop varieties suitable for adverse environments, Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque said.
Photo: Mostafa Shabuj

The agriculture ministry is working to reduce production costs and increase the variety of crops being cultivated with the aim of doubling agricultural productivity by 2030, according to Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque.

He made this comment while speaking as chief guest at a roundtable on “Climate Adaptation: Opportunities for Bangladesh in Development of Agro-based Industries”, held at the Sheraton Dhaka in Banani yesterday.

The event was jointly organised by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Bangladesh, Standard Chartered and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.

“The country’s agriculture is always at risk whether climate change is involved or not as crops are being grown in an adverse environment,” Razzaque said.

“So, in order to sustain food security in the future, agricultural productivity must be increased by reducing production costs and developing crop varieties suitable for adverse environments,” he added.

The minister commented that the country’s agricultural sector has achieved amazing success due to the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Citing how Bangladesh was once known as a country where persisting food shortages were met through imports and foreign aid, he said the country is now self-sufficient in food grains and many other crops.

Vegetable production has increased exponentially in the past 15 years, with the cultivation of corn and onion having risen by eight times and five times respectively while rice acreage saw 30 percent growth. “This success in agricultural production is being appreciated worldwide today,” Razzaque said.

“This success was not achieved through Aladdin’s magic, it was achieved through the magic of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership. This was possible due to the Prime Minister’s agri-friendly policy of giving top priority to agriculture,” he added.

While chairing the programme, ICC Bangladesh President Mahbubur Rahman emphasised on the dynamic expansion of a sustainable agro-processing industry to keep the economy and its agriculture sector vibrant amid changing climate conditions.

He said Bangladesh is responsible for only 0.4 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is insignificant compared to other mega industrial economies. However, Bangladesh is high on the list of countries that are most vulnerable to climate change.

Given the current trajectory, Rahman said the rapidly changing climate conditions will trigger annual GDP losses in the range of 1 to 2 percent.

Agricultural exports from Bangladesh have been growing by more than 18 percent for the past five years. Besides, global demand for agricultural products is expected to grow by 15 percent annually between 2019 and 2028, providing a great opportunity for local food processors to expand their exports and thereby help diversify the country’s export basked.

Speaking as a special guest, Md Shahab Uddin, the minister for environment, forest and climate change, said agroforestry plays an essential role in climate adaptation by promoting biodiversity, enhancing soil health and reducing the impacts of natural disasters.

“Integrating agroforestry practices into our agricultural landscape can foster resilience and sustainability while addressing climate change challenges,” he added.

Naser Ezaz Bijoy, chief executive officer of Standard Chartered Bangladesh, said that as per the government’s National Adaptation Plan, the funding required in this area is $230 billion.

“This investment cannot be done by the government and multilaterals alone,” he added. Ruhul Amin Talukder, additional secretary to the agriculture ministry, presented the keynote paper.

AK Azad, vice-president of ICC Bangladesh, Md Khurshid Alam, executive director of Bangladesh Bank, TS Amjath Babu, agricultural economist of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre, and FH Ansarey, managing director of ACI Agrolink Ltd, were among the panel discussants.

AFM Asif, chief executive officer of Bengal Meat Processing Industries, Md Abdul Kader, lead national agronomist at the FAO, and Bitopi Das Chowdhury, head of corporate affairs, brand and marketing at Standard Chartered Bangladesh, also spoke.



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