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World Food Day, 16 October 2016

World Food Day Ceremony in Bangladesh

Bangladesh - 16/10/2016

World Food Day was celebrated in Bangladesh on 16 October through a series of events. Around 800 guests, including FAO staff members, participated in a morning rally, where they marched with themed yellow umbrellas towards the venue of the WFD seminar from the south gate of the National Parliament. The crowd was later joined by a group of top policy makers – The Minister of Finance Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, the Minister of Agriculture Matia Chowdhury, the Minister of Food Qamrul Islam, and the Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Md Moinuddin Abdullah -  to open the Annual Food Fair and the official Seminar.

A presentation on the WFD theme was given by Dr M A Sattar Mandal, former Vice-Chancellor, Bangladesh Agriculture University, Mymensingh, and Member Secretary, Planning Commission. Mike Robson, FAO Representative in Bangladesh then presented a short video illustrating farmers’ perceptions of climate change.  He also underlined the fact that the food system in Bangladesh has changed dramatically in recent years.  Climate change has added an additional level of stress to a system already challenged by a growing population, urbanization, changing food distribution and consumption habits, and the loss of productive agricultural land to other economic uses.

 

In her remarks, the Minister of Agriculture Matia Chowdhury underlined how the government has been taking measures by employing the latest technologies, including stress-tolerant crop cultivation, animal breed development, soil-less plantation and rice-fish culture, which focuses more on the Southern delta region, as a result of falling groundwater levels in northern areas of the country. She also praised the scientific community of Bangladesh for developing salinity-tolerant rice verities, which are suitable for the coastal districts, and introducing genetically modified crop varieties as a further boost for food security.

 The Minister of food Quamrul Islam highlighted the newly-found success in rice exports, and his wish to expand the market to African countries after reaching markets in Sri Lanka and Nepal. “The food storage capacity, currently at 2 million tons, aims to reach 2.5 million tons by 2021, and will achieve a total 3 million tons by 2030”, he added.

The seminar was also attended by the Chairperson Md. Mokbul Hossain, MP, Parliamentary standing committee on Agriculture Ministry, and BARC Executive Chairman Abul Kalam Azad.