Support entrepreneurs to transform agro-food system: Speakers

_: Speakers in a workshop have stressed encouraging and supporting successful agro-food entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas and food production plans for sustainable initiative to transform the agro-food system in Bangladesh.

Senior officials from different ministries and government agencies working in the food and agriculture sector reaffirmed their commitments and alliances made in the National Pathway Document for the UN food System Summit 2021 for transforming food systems.

The Ministry of Food under its Food Planning and Monitoring Unit (FPMU) organised the workshop on ‘UN Food System Summit 2021’ on Sunday at the BIAM Foundation Auditorium in Dhaka, in collaboration with the UN agencies in Bangladesh including Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Global Alliances for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).

Around 100 participants representing ministries and government agencies and development partners attended the workshop.

The workshop aimed at following up the National Pathway Document for the UNFSS Summit 2021, and taking forward the pathway commitments for collaborative effort from different ministries and stakeholders- for transforming food systems and accelerating progress towards Agenda 2030.

The workshop also intended to accelerate the process of implementation as well as commit necessary technical assistance and financial resources for implementation of the pathway commitments.

Dr. Ahmed Kaikaus, Principal Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office attended the workshop as the chief guest while Md. Ruhul Amin Talukder, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Dr. Mohammad Yamin Chowdhury, Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock attended the program as special guests and spoke on the occasion.

Dr. Mosammat Nazmanara Khanum, Secretary, Ministry of Food chaired the program.

Dr. Ahmed Kaikaus said, “The goal of pathway is to improve nutritional impact across the country. In this relation, rice-centric agriculture and the food system could be a sustainable source of livelihood and nutrition for us.”

“In recent years, rice production has been the focus of our national food and agriculture policies. However, despite the pressure of overpopulation, from the production point of view, we are almost there to meet the demand. Bangladesh has done wonder in increasing its rice production,” he added.

Dr. Kaikaus further stressed on the importance of taking necessary strategies to reduce the food waste.

He urged all concerned to encourage and support the young and innovative entrepreneurs to bring sustainable changes in our agri-food system.

Food secretary Dr. Mosammat Nazmanara Khanum said, “In Bangladesh, an estimated 65kg of food is wasted per capita. However, people in Bangladesh are wasting about 5.5 percent of the total procured food. Of the total wastage, 3 percent is being made during procurement and preparation stages, 1.4 percent during serving, and another 1.1 percent from the plates (BIDS, 2016).”

Among this, nearly 68 percent of food wastes coming from urban food markets and households and can be easily composted to make humus material to be used as soil conditioner, she said.

Among others, Md. Shahiduzzaman Faruki, Director General (Additional Secretary), FPMU, Ministry of Food and National Convenor, UNFSS, Dr. Rudaba Khondker, Country Director, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Mr. Robert D. Simpson, FAO Representative in Bangladesh took part and delivered their speech.

The COVID-19 pandemic added considerable pressure on the food system of Bangladesh from production to supplies and to markets – but innovations supported by UN agencies including FAO and international donors have helped address some of those challenges.

In line, FAO implemented the ‘Meeting the Undernutrition Challenge (MUCH)’ project, supported by the USAID and European Union steps forward to respond to those affected by the crisis, with focus on promoting positive nutrition and healthy food in-take practice.

Source: United news of Bangladesh