Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Bangladesh is a learning ground for other nations: DG FAO

Bangladesh is a learning ground for other nations: DG FAO

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

The Director-General met the Prime Minister Madam 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 the Foreign Minister, Finance Minister, Agriculture Minister, and
Food and Disaster Management Minister, and also had discussions with the Ministers for
Fisheries and Livestock, and Environment and Forests.

Discussions with the ministers 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 a flagship FAO project
(National Food Policy Capacity Strengthening Programme), with funding from USAID and
the European Union. He also attended a discussion on food security issues with the leading
development partners from the sector, high government officials and civil society

“What’s happening in Bangladesh now is an example for other nations,” Graziano da Silva
said in a press conference with reference to the disasters and challenges regularly faced by
Bangladesh, “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.”

In the press conference and interviews, Graziano da Silva also emphasized the need to support
small farmers and promote greener farms. He highlighted the lessons learnt from the Brazilian
“Zero Hunger (Fome Zero)” programme.

He referred to the recently concluded FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific held
in Vietnam, and the interest in enhancing regional-level collaboration, especially in the areas
of crop productivity and aquaculture, which are also the mainstay of Bangladesh’s food

Graziano da Silva also met Professor Muhammad Yunus, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner,
at his Grameen office. 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.