Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for establishment of regional food bank and seed bank for greater cooperation among the South Asia countries at the time of disasters.
She made the proposal while inaugurating the third conference of the SAARC agriculture ministers at Sonargaon hotel in Dhaka on Thursday.
“We want to establish SAARC food bank and SAARC seed bank…This initiative should be taken so that we can extend cooperation to each other at the time of disasters.”
SAARC Secretary General Arjun Bahadur Thapa and India’s Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh also spoke at the inaugural session, chaired by Bangladesh Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury.
Hasina termed poverty the biggest enemy of mankind and said South Asian countries needed to forge greater cooperation for its alleviation.
She said, “We want not a single human (of the world) should suffer from hunger and malnourishment. Our target is to fulfil the basic needs of every individual.
“But it is not possible for a single country to attain the goal. Joint efforts are needed for that.”
The prime minister highlighted the role of agriculture in the economy of the region.
Stating that contribution of agriculture sector to the GDP growth was 16 percent, she said the country had attained ‘huge progress’ in last several years.
“With a yield of 34 million tonnes a year, we are now self-sufficient in rice production,” she said.
Hasina also called for further cooperation among the SAARC countries to tackle climate change impacts.
She said several matters including supply of high-quality seeds at low prices, better water management for agriculture, reduction of dependence on underground water, cut in the use of chemical fertilisers and better marketing system were necessary for a sustainable development of agriculture sector.