Developed countries must keep food out of the purview of war, sanctions: Agriculture Minister tells Berlin conference

Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque has urged developed countries to keep food and agricultural products out of the purview of war and sanctions.

Developed countries should be more responsible and proactive in ensuring global food security, the minister said at the 15th Berlin Agriculture Ministers Conference in Germany on Saturday.

Bangladesh is a victim of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, he said, adding that as a result of this war, price of fertilisers has quadrupled, and price of food grains has increased significantly -- impacting food security.

“I call upon the developed world to take flexible, unbureaucratic, and fast steps to mitigate this negative impact,” he told the conference.

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Highlighting state measures to ensure food security in the future, Razzaque said the current government under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is working to build a developed, sustainable, and climate-tolerant agricultural system, through which food security will be sustainable, nutritious food will be ensured, and farmers will have a better life.

Land depletion, population growth, climate change, Covid-19 and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war have become obstacles, he added. “In this situation, I request the developed countries to promptly implement the commitments made in COP26, COP27 and other global forums.”

The conference was held on the last day of the four-day (January 18-21) 15th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA), organised by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Agriculture ministers of more than 70 countries and representatives of 10 international organisations participated in this conference.

At the conference, it was mentioned that according to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), global hunger is to be eradicated (Zero Hunger) by 2030. But the reality is that the number of people suffering from hunger is increasing day by day.

Around 70.2 to 82.8 crore people were affected by hunger in 2021, which is 4.6 crore more than in 2020 and 1.5 crore more than in 2019. Species extinction, Covid-19 and Russia-Ukraine war have added new dimensions to the food crisis.

Read more: International community urged to address triple challenge of food, fuel, fertilizer shortages

In view of this situation, increasing cooperation to build a crisis-proof, climate-resilient food system, to protect biodiversity, and to build a sustainable global food system were emphasized in the conference.

A 'Joint Manifesto' (Communique) titled 'Food System Transformation: A Worldwide Response to Multiple Crises' was also announced by high-level representatives and agriculture ministers of the countries participating in the conference.

Source: United News of Bangladesh