Asia-Pacific countries must join efforts in agricultural research to ensure food security: Hasina

“Food security is certainly the most pressing issue for the people,” she said in her opening address to the 36th FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific, which she delivered virtually from Abu Dhabi. Dubai on Thursday.

The regional conference session is held in Bangladesh for the first time.

“Around 305.7 million people in South Asia still suffer from hunger. We can easily organize food for them if we all make a sincere effort.

She proposed three measures to ensure this food security: collaboration on agricultural research and education, transfer and sharing of cutting-edge technologies in the agricultural sector, and special funds to finance and support the huge investments needed to modern farming.

She quoted the nation’s father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who said at the UN in 1974: “Let us together create a world capable of eradicating poverty, hunger, war and human suffering and achieving peace and global security for well-being. of humanity “.

It was Bangabandhu’s initiative that led Bangladesh to join the FAO in 1973. The Prime Minister said that Bangabandhu was well aware that 85% of the people of Bangladesh live from outdated agriculture dependent on the vagaries of nature. when he came to power. Due to low yields and damaged crops, people were forced to starve, she said.

During his three-and-a-half years in power, Bangabandhu introduced a host of measures to achieve food self-sufficiency while rebuilding the war-ravaged country, Hasina said. The Awami League has followed in her footsteps, making agriculture a top priority, she said.

Bangladesh has diversified in the years since, but agriculture remains the main source of employment for Bangladeshis, with 40% of the workforce depending on it for their livelihoods, she said. .

“Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in the production of rice, vegetables, fruits, fish, meat, eggs and milk over the past 13 years. Bangladesh has also become self-sufficient in rice production by producing nearly 38 million tons of rice annually,” Hasina said.

Bangladesh has also adopted the “Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan” and the Delta Plan 2100 to address the threat that climate change poses to sustainable agriculture.

“To ensure sustainable production, we are converting to modern farming practices like mechanization, floating farming, rooftop farming, hydroponic and aeroponic farming and integrated farming.”

“Our scientists have developed flood, drought and salinity resistant crop varieties that can be grown in these harsh environments,” she said.

In order to continue this progress in agriculture, nations in the region must come together, Hasina said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed how vulnerable human beings are in the face of such a catastrophe. It also revealed how the human race, acting together, can face such challenges.

Lana T. Arthur