FAO in Bangladesh

Agricultural transformation and the Bangladesh Delta Plan


As part of the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 international conference (26-27 May), FAO and the Embassy of the Netherlands organised a breakout session on agricultural transformation which was attended by the Minister of Agriculture.

Over the past 50 years, Bangladesh’s agricultural sector has played a crucial role in providing food and nutrition security, as well as livelihoods for tens of millions of people. Due to its success, the focus is increasingly shifting from food security to nutrition, sustainability, and food exports.

BDP 2100 aims to ensure long-term water and food security, economic growth, and environmental sustainability while reducing vulnerability to natural disasters and building resilience to climate change and other delta challenges through integrated strategies and equitable water governance. The primary objective of the conference was to focus on implementation issues.

The Agricultural Transformation Programme, initiated and supported by FAO, and adopted by the government of Bangladesh, is naturally aligned with the Delta Plan because of the crucial importance of water to agriculture. Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of all freshwater withdrawals globally, on average.

Muhammad Abdur Razzak, Minister of Agriculture, presided over the event. Anne van Leeuwen, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Bangladesh, and Christian Berger, Senior Rural Development Specialist, World Bank, were special guests.

Robert D. Simpson, FAO Representative in Bangladesh, said: “Agriculture cannot be transformed without an appreciation and respect for water. Water is an essential input for agricultural production. But far too much water, or far too little, can spell disaster not only for individual farmers and their families, but for communities, regions, and even whole countries. But the right amounts, at the right time, maximise production, leading to profits, prosperity, and food security. “No ambition or plan to transform agriculture will succeed without appreciating these facts. This is why the Delta Plan and the country’s Agricultural Transformation Plan need to be considered together, as parts of a whole.”

ATP links national and local operations, combining short, medium, and long-term aims to support the country’s food security and strengthen its food export industry through increased production, improved productivity, and enhanced nutrition-sensitive food planning and marketing. This will be achieved through innovation, digitalization, mechanization, and coordination.