Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for support in enhancing domestic production of wheat and edible oil while highlighting Bangladesh’s successful strategies in enhancing food production.

She said enhancing food production in Bangladesh have been pivotal in driving crop diversification and promoting business-oriented agriculture, which resulted in Bangladesh a favourable position in the production of fish and horticultural products.

The Prime Minister told this when a delegation led by IFAD President Alvaro Lario called on her on Monday (July 24) at the UN Food Systems Summit +2 Stocktaking Moment held in Rome, Italy. 

The three-day summit, held from July 24 to 26 July, took place at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and was organised 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.

Acknowledging the support from IFAD, the Prime Minister sought 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.

President Alvaro Lario highly praised Bangladesh’s remarkable achievements in food production, climate-smart agriculture, and including women and youth in rural enterprises.

The delegation members appreciated the Bangladesh government’s willingness to partner with IFAD to promote innovation in multiple sectors.

The need to foster engagement with the private sector was also highlighted in the discussion, reads a press release of IFAD in Dhaka on Thursday (July 27).

It may be mentioned that 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.

In earlier remarks, Lario emphasised 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”.

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

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