Italy has shown interest in recruiting more manpower from Bangladesh, especially in the agriculture and service sectors. This interest was expressed during the meeting of three Italian ministers with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday (July 24) on the sidelines of the United Nations Food System Summit.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs quoted Italian ministers in the meeting at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Dr. AK Abdul Momen said, ‘Italy wants to take more workers from Bangladesh in its services and agriculture sectors.’

Dr. Momen briefed the journalists after the meeting with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh on Monday (July 24) Italian Agriculture Minister Francesco Lollobrigida, Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi and Justice Minister Carlo Nordio.

The Foreign Minister said, ‘In the meeting of the Italian ministers with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, importance was laid on maintaining proper channels in going abroad. Besides, the issue of illegal workers also came up in the meeting.

Dr. Momen said, “Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in the meeting that her country always discourages illegal workers.”

Noting that ‘both legal and illegal workers are contributing to the economy of Italy and Bangladesh’, Sheikh Hasina asked the Italian government to legalize well-educated and skilled Bangladeshi workers.

Dr. Abdul Momen said, “Italy is very happy, the Bangladesh government will support labor migration in a legal way.”

Earlier, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina held a bilateral meeting with Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal at the newly opened Bangladesh-Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Room at the FAO headquarters on the sidelines of the United Nations Food System Summit.

In the meeting, Sheikh Hasina offered Nepal to use the newly constructed Payra port.

In another meeting with International Fund of Agricultural Development (IFAD) President Alvaro Lario at FAO headquarters, Sheikh Hasina sought IFAD’s assistance to increase wheat and edible oil production in Bangladesh.

According to Dr. Momen, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh urged IFAD to help Bangladesh develop small agri-enterprise marketing and an efficient food storage system.

World Food Program (WFP) Executive Director Cindy Hensley McCain also met Sheikh Hasina at the FAO headquarters.

In the meeting, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh asked the World Food Program (WFP) to raise funds for Bangladesh, especially for the displaced Rohingyas who have taken refuge in Bangladesh, as per capita funding for the Rohingyas has dropped from US$12 to US$8.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has successfully increased food production due to various measures taken by her government since assuming power.

The head of government said that Bangladesh is in a good position in the production of not only grain, but also fish and other food.

Cindy Hensley McCain is the wife of former US presidential candidate John McCain, who adopted a three-month-old Bangladeshi baby girl in the early 1990s.

The Prime Minister also attended a reception hosted by Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization Ku Dongyu at the FAO headquarters along with other heads of government and state.

Bangladesh signed an agreement with WFP to expand and improve school feeding programs for primary school students in the presence of Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen.

The Bangladesh government launched a school feeding system in 2010 and now about 2.3 lakh students in 15,000 primary schools in 104 upazilas are getting food under this program.

Under the new agreement, the school feeding program will be expanded to more than 150 upazilas, increasing the number of beneficiaries to 3.7 lakh students. Besides, fruits, milk, bread, eggs and other nutritious food will be given instead of biscuits.

Thanking DG of WFP for the feeding program. As a result, the dropout rate has dropped by 7.5 percent and primary school enrollment has increased by 14 percent, Momen said.

Besides, Bangladesh became the 85th member of the School Meal Coalition at an event in Italy on Monday.

Prime Minister’s speech writer at the briefing Nazrul Islam and Ambassador of Bangladesh in Italy Shamim Ahsan were present.

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