'CGIAR research to help unlock agrifood potentials'

The distinguished guests and CGIAR officials pose at the research portfolio launching event at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka on Wednesday.Courtesy

The Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a global research partnership working for food security, has formally launched its research portfolio of advanced scientific innovations to help unlock the potentials of agrifood sector in Bangladesh in collaboration with the government.

The research portfolio is part of the engagement action plan that drives a 10-year strategy vision of CGIAR. The strategy focuses on delivering science and innovation to advance the transformation of food, land, and water system in a climate crisis which is very important for Bangladesh.

It is expected to have a positive impact on livelihoods, productivity, and health of millions of farmers, fishers, and food-insecure families over the next three years.

Agriculture minister Abdur Razzaque was the chief guest at the launching event at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka on Wednesday while fisheries and livestock minister SM Rezaul Karim attended it as special guest.

Addressing the event, minister Razzaque said the agriculture sector in Bangladesh is now at a crossroads as new challenges are emerging due to population growth, land and water scarcity, labour shortage, lack of improved technologies, poor market linkages, low farmer prices and income, lack of agro-processing, and climate change. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation further.

Besides, the dietary patterns are changing here in course of time. The demand for nutrient-dense foods is expanding while cereal consumption is falling. The climate change also remains a threat for the food system.

Against such a backdrop, the CGIAR research, in addition to the government initiatives, would play a crucial role in the present context, he said.

Livestock and fisheries minister SM Rezaul Karim said food safety should be a shared responsibility among government, private sector, producer and consumers.

“We all must work relentlessly to address the food security challenges by working across these sectors. We need to strengthen institutional collaboration and create knowledge and experience related to agriculture research and development,” he added.

Temina Lalani-Shariff, regional director of CGIAR for South Asia, stressed taking collaboration with government and other bodies to the next level to meet the increasingly complex environmental and nutrition challenges in Bangladesh.

Referring to the emerging issues and research gaps in Bangladesh, she assured that One CGIAR transition will offer a one-stop shop to access the platform’s global capabilities.

Shaikh Mohammad Bokhtiar, executive chairman of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC), delivered the welcome speech at the event chaired by Syedul Islam, secretary of agriculture ministry.

Among others, Martin Kropff, global director of Resilient Agri-Food Systems at CGIAR; Mohammad Khan, director of Economic Growth Office at USAID Bangladesh; and Mohammad Yamin Chowdhury, secretary of fisheries and livestock ministry, also spoke on the occasion.