BANGLADESH GOVT TO MODERNIZE AGRI SECTOR: PM
DHAKA, Mar 23, 2009 (AsiaPulse via COMTEX) -- Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said the government would introduce latest technology to modernize the agriculture sector and increase the storage capacity of food to ensure food security of the country.
She made the remark when Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) Representative in Bangladesh Ad Spijkers called on her at the Prime Ministers Office in the morning.
The Prime Minister said more godowns and silos would be built to preserve food and if necessary, the private sector would be encouraged in this regard, her Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad told newsmen.
Hasina briefed the FAO official of her government's various plans to make Bangladesh self-sufficient in food again.
She said necessary steps would be taken to reduce salinity through forestation across the coastal belt while the navigability of rivers would be restored through massive dredging.
The Prime Minister also said the government would inspire and help the farmers to increase production of organic food and processed fish as such products have increasing demand in the global market.
Spijkers suggested that Bangladesh can produce coffee and cashew nut in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) districts in larger volume which will help the country boost sources of food.
The FAO representative appreciated the Prime Minister for her government's food policy and mentioned the success of the Awami League government during the 1996-2001 period in turning Bangladesh into a food surplus country.
Spijkers hoped that under the skilled and farsighted leadership of the Prime Minister, Bangladesh would be able to become a food-sufficient country again.
The Prime Minister thanked the FAO for its cooperation in improving food situation of Bangladesh and its assistances during various natural calamities including the cyclonic storm Sidr on November 15, 2007.
As the current world economic downturn came up in the discussion, the Prime Minister said the government is fully aware of the urgency of protecting the country from the negative impact of the recession.
Already an all-party taskforce has been set up to monitor the situation and take necessary steps, she said.
The FAO official recalled the successful participation of Bangladesh in the 1996 World Food Summit under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina.