Thursday, 28 September, 2023

Investing in agriculture, market system imperative for sustainable growth: Agriculture Minister

Investing in agriculture, market system imperative for sustainable growth: Agriculture Minister

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Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzaque on Thursday said investing in agriculture and the market system is not merely an option; it is an imperative for the sustainable growth of the nation.

"It is through responsible investment in agriculture and food systems that we can achieve food security, eradicate poverty, foster social equality, promote economic growth, and ultimately realize sustainable development,” he said.

The Agriculture Minister made the remarks while speaking at an event held in a hotel in Dhaka.

The Nordic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) in Bangladesh and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) hosted the event titled “Investment for catalyzing sustainable and resilient food systems” in collaboration with the three Nordic Embassies – Denmark, Sweden and Norway- in Dhaka.

The event focused on highlighting and addressing challenges faced by the private sector in the food and agriculture industry of Bangladesh.

In his welcome remarks, NCCI President Tahrin Aman said Nordic and foreign investors see the UNFSS Pathway and N4G commitment as a collaborative framework.

"They acknowledge the role of the private sector in achieving goals and consider these commitments an opportunity to align investments with Bangladesh's sustainable development objectives. This fosters partnerships for innovation, responsible business practices, and technology transfer,” he said.

Winnie Estrup Peterson, Ambassador of Denmark to Bangladesh, on behalf of the Nordic Embassies said, Denmark sees great potential in the food, agro and aquaculture industry in Bangladesh.

She said Denmark is now engaging in knowledge sharing with government authorities in food safety and greening value chains.

Country Director of GAIN, Dr. Rudaba Khondker said food systems are complex and dynamic.

"It requires the collective effort of governments, private sector, and sustainable investment. Public-private partnerships provide a platform for these stakeholders to come together, pool resources, and leverage unique expertise to drive meaningful changes," Rudaba Khondker said.

Md. Abul Bashar, Director General (Programming & Investment Promotion) and (Additional Secretary), Public Private Partnership Authority (PPPA) said Bangladesh offers an excellent investment environment and extends a warm welcome to Nordic businesses.

"With a range of incentives and concessions specifically designed for Nordic investors, we aim to create a win-win situation that benefits both parties,” he said.

The event shed light on the pressing issues faced by the private sector in the food and agriculture industry, while exploring strategies to address them.

The event brought together key stakeholders - including industry leaders, policymakers, researchers, and investors- to foster collaboration and drive positive change within the sector.

It garnered significant support from the three Nordic Embassies in Bangladesh, further emphasizing its importance and potential impact.

The Embassy of Denmark in Bangladesh, The Embassy of Sweden in Dhaka, and The Royal Norwegian Embassy are partners of this initiative, highlighting their commitment to promoting sustainable and resilient food systems.

During the event, participants had the opportunity to engage in insightful discussions, share best practices, and explore innovative approaches to driving investment in the food and agriculture sector.

Discussions were held on the development of the overall private sector environment through a food systems lens, addressed current bottlenecks in the sector and mitigation strategies through better process management, incorporation of sustainability and sustainable practices, involvement of youth as major catalysts in food systems transformation; and continued dialogue with key stakeholders and policymakers in reflection of the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) pathway document and the global effort Nutrition for Growth (N4G).

The program hosted two panel discussions titled “Investment Outlook and Opportunities for Bangladesh” and “Standardization of food market”.

Participants at the event also had the opportunity to network and build valuable connections with industry peers, potential partners, and investors.

Arla Foods supported the event as the “Gold Sponsor”, with Unilever and Dan Food as the “Silver Sponsor”. The Annual Platinum sponsors of the Nordic Chamber are Aman Spinning Mills Ltd, Arla Foods, Pran Dairy, Maersk, GraphicPoeple, Novo Nordisk and SoftwarePeople.