President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Alvaro Lario has praised Bangladesh’s remarkable achievements in food production, climate-smart agriculture, and including women and youth in rural enterprises.

The IFAD delegation appreciated the government’s willingness to partner with IFAD to promote innovation in multiple sectors, said a media release on Thursday.

Lario emphasized the urgent need for transforming current food systems, saying “today’s food systems have failed to make nutritious diets accessible or affordable for all.

Four out of 10 people worldwide are unable to afford a healthy diet.

“We must build a world where healthy and nutritious food is available and affordable for everyone, everywhere. If we don’t act now, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate targets remain completely out of reach”.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met with Alvaro Lario on 24 July at the UN Food Systems Summit +2 Stocktaking Moment held in Rome, Italy.

Read: Bangladesh seeks IFAD support to boost wheat and edible oil production

During the meeting, PM Hasina asked IFAD for support in enhancing domestic production of wheat and edible oil while highlighting Bangladesh’s successful strategies in enhancing food production, which have been pivotal in driving crop diversification and promoting business-oriented agriculture, resulting in Bangladesh enjoying a favourable position in the production of fish and horticultural products.

The three-day summit, held from 24 to 26 July 2023, took place at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and was organized by the government of Italy in partnership with the Rome-based UN Agencies (FAO, IFAD, and World Food Programme- WFP), the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub, and the broader UN system.

PM Hasina acknowledged this support and requested IFAD’s continued assistance to support small Bangladeshi agro-enterprises to market their products and to develop an effective and streamlined food storage mechanism in Bangladesh.

Read: IFAD president urges new Global Financing Pact to prioritize small-scale farmers in poverty

The need to foster engagement with the private sector were also highlighted in the discussion.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Minister for Food Sadhan Chandra Majumder, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, Bangladesh Ambassador Shameem Ahsan, Nayem Uddin Ahmed, Chief of Protocol, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Donal Brown, Associate Vice-President, Programme Management Department, IFAD, Reehana Raza, Director, Asia and the Pacific Region, IFAD, and Arnoud Hameleers, IFAD Country Director for Bangladesh were present in the meeting.

The summit brought together around 2000 participants from 161 countries including 22 Heads of State and Government, over 100 Ministerial delegates, and more than 150 Non-State-Actor organizations along with the UN System and other International Organizations.

IFAD’s Bangladesh country programme is consistently one of the largest portfolios globally with six ongoing projects with a total cost of total USD 2.02 billion. IFAD’s financing to Bangladesh totals USD 1,016.56 million.

Read more: Poorest countries show strong support for IFAD in global efforts to combat hunger and poverty

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