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Foreign Ministry holds inter-ministerial meeting on land lease in Africa

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 23rd November, 2021 10:09:42 PM
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Foreign Ministry holds inter-ministerial meeting on land lease in Africa

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An Inter-ministerial meeting co-presided by Minister of Agriculture, Abdur Razzaq as well as Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on leasing of land in African countries for contract farming by Bangladeshi entrepreneurs was held on Tuesday afternoon at the Foreign Service Academy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The meeting was attended by Executive Chairman, BIDA, Foreign Secretary (Senior Secretary), representatives of Ministry of Agriculture, Commerce and Foreign Affairs, representative of Armed Forces Division, representative of Hon’ble Prime Minister Office and Bangladesh Bank.

The meeting focused on identifying ways and means for establishing of contract farming in African countries by Bangladeshi farmers and entrepreneurs.

At the outset of the meeting, Hon’ble Foreign Minister remarked that by leasing land in the African countries, employment opportunities may be created for a very large number of Bangladeshi workers and farmers.

He suggested that our Peacekeeping Missions in the African countries may establish contacts with local authorities for contract farming opportunities. The Foreign Minister also suggested that exchange of trainings on agriculture may be made with the African countries to acquaint them with our advancements made in the field of agriculture.

Agriculture Minister said that since Bangladesh has huge population, contract farming could be a viable source of creation of employment abroad.

He mentioned that our farmers could be employed in the African countries for the purpose of import and commercialization of the products that they would produce in the countries.

He underlined the importance of identifying suitable countries in Africa in this regard.

It may be mentioned that Ministry of Foreign Affairs has organized inter-ministerial meetings attended by representatives from Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment, Ministry of Agriculture, Armed Forces Division, BIDA and Bangladesh Bank on opportunities of contract farming in Africa in the recent time.

At the meeting, the representatives of Agriculture Ministry informed that huge potentials exist in the African countries of growing food staples, fruits, vegetables and cash crops for import to Bangladesh and export to other countries from the countries.

The Foreign Ministry official commented that there exist opportunities of crop production and import of produced crops from the African countries back to Bangladesh as well as exporting the produced crops to other countries.

The Foreign Ministry representative informed that contract farming would contribute to food security for both Bangladesh and Africa.

The representative of the Armed Forces Division mentioned that there exist huge opportunities of contract farming in the African countries that we need to explore.

The official underscored the need for long term planning for contract farming in Africa.

The representatives of Ministry of Commerce recommended that trade bodies including FBCCI and BGMEA may be involved in government initiatives for establishing contract farming in African countries.

The Foreign Secretary commented that Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Commerce should work together on exploring contract farming opportunities in Africa and indentifying particular countries for initiating pilot project.

He underlined that a framework agreement needs to be signed with the potential African countries.

He suggested offering training to the African agricultural scientists in Bangladesh as well as demonstrating to them the remarkable advancement of Bangladesh achieved in agriculture sector.