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Bangladesh is a learning ground for other nations, says Graziano da Silva


Dhaka, 20 March 2012 - FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, visited Bangladesh from 18 to 20 March, in his first official visit to the country. 

The Director-General met the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and reassured her of FAO’s increased support to Bangladesh, especially in achieving comprehensive food security, improving nutrition and food safety, and combating avian influenza. 

Graziano da Silva also met with the ministers of Foreign Relations, Finance, Agriculture, Food and Disaster, Fisheries and Livestock, and Environment and Forests. 

Discussions were focused on enhancing collaboration and FAO support in various areas, including: knowledge exchange; increasing agricultural productivity, especially in the southern delta; introducing modern technologies; making advances in biotechnology, aquaculture, biosecurity and food safety; improving nutrition and safety net programmes; supporting women and small farmers; promoting greener agriculture, and on working together in global platforms like the Rio+ 20 conference.

The FAO Director-General inaugurated, jointly with the Food and Disaster Management Minister, an IT-based documentation centre established under the National Food Policy Capacity Strengthening Programme), supported by FAO with funding from USAID and the European Union. They also attended a discussion on food security issues with the leading development partners from the sector, high government officials and civil society representatives.  

“What’s happening in Bangladesh now is an example for other nations,” Graziano da Silva said in a press conference, referring to the way government is responding to natural disasters and challenges regularly faced by the country, “I see Bangladesh progressing in the right direction.”

Reaffirming FAO commitment to local and regional collaboration and decentralized actions the Director-General said, “We don’t eat globally, we eat locally, we eat in our houses, where the actions should take place.” 

Graziano da Silva also met Professor Muhammad Yunus, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner. They identified some areas for potential cooperation between the two institutions in Bangladesh. Globally, the Director-General briefed Professor Yunus on the ongoing strategic thinking process within FAO and the Nobel Prize Winner showed interest in participating in its future discussions. 

Graziano da Silva visited Bangladesh after attending the FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific held in Vietnam. He noted the interest countries raised in the conference in enhancing regional-level South-South cooperation, especially in the areas of crop productivity and aquaculture, which are also the mainstay of Bangladesh’s food security.