PM pushes for setting up Saarc food and seed banks

PM pushes for setting up Saarc food and seed banks

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Dhaka – Urging the South Asian leaders to promise to ensure food and nutritional security across the region, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday underscored the need for speedy
materialisation of the initiatives taken for setting up Saarc Food Bank and Saarc Seed Bank, unb news agency reported.
“Since it’s essential for tackling any kind of disaster, I would like to urge the South Asian leaders to take necessary steps to establish the Saarc Food Bank as soon as possible. Let the Saarc Food Bank be a friend of need so that no one dies of starvation in our region,” she said.Sheikh Hasina was addressing the inaugural session of the 3rd meeting of Saarc Ministers of Agriculture held at a city hotel.
The Prime Minister also requested the policymakers for taking steps to formulate policies the Saarc Seed Bank to ensure the participation and empowerment of farmers in seed areas.
Mentioning that ensuring food security is a multifaceted and complex issue, Hasina hoped that the ministers and experts attending the conference will formulate recommendations that would help eradicate poverty from this region through increasing agri-production in a sustainable manner.
“In this august conference, it should be our commitment to ensure food and nutritional security across south Asia region. Let’s work together for building a poverty- and hunger-free peaceful prosperous South Asia,” she said.
Agriculture plays a formidable role in creating jobs in rural areas, providing food and nutrition and supplying raw materials for industries, she said adding, “Now it’s time for all to cooperate and collaborate more concretely to develop sustainable agriculture for the region and overcome local and global challenges and vulnerabilities.”
Citing that the Saarc countries are there at high risk because of the adverse impact of climate change, Hasina said, “We won’t be able to prevent natural disasters, but we can minimise the losses of lives and property through reducing the causes of disasters and improving the post-disaster management.”
To ensure sustainable agriculture, the Prime Minister said emphasis should be given on some issues like ensuring improved seeds at reasonable price, proper water management in agriculture reducing dependence on underground water and increasing the use of surface water; introducing organic farming, reducing the use of chemical fertiliser and ensuring fair prices of agricultural produces at farmers level.
“We don’t want a single human being to remain starved and suffer from malnutrition. We want to meet the basic rights of every citizen. But, it’s not possible for an individual country to achieve it; rather a joint effort is required for this purpose,” she said.
Listing various successes and achievements of her government in various socioeconomic fields, Hasina said in Bangladesh her government has been working relentlessly to fulfill the basic needs of citizens.
After achieving remarkable success in MDGs, Hasina said her government adopted SDGs last year. “The Goal 1 and Goal 2 are directly related to ending extreme poverty and hunger, and get
priority than other goals. Without development of agriculture ensuring food and nutrition for all will be a distant dream.”
Rice and wheat productions have increased by three times while that of vegetable has increased by five times during the last one decade.
Besides, during the last three decades, fish production has increased almost five times with the current annual production of around 3.6 million metric tons, Hasina said.
Mentioning that Bangladesh has always been keeping regional cooperation high on its foreign policy agenda, she said there is no alternative to joint initiatives of the countries of the region to
eradicate poverty and hunger from the region.
Chaired by Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury, the programme was addressed, among others, by Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare of India Radha Mohan Singh and Saarc Secretary General Arjun Bahadur Thapa. Agriculture Secretary Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah delivered the address of welcome.
The Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs jointly organised the meeting.

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