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CG centres have a clear role to play, says Bangladesh agriculture minister

Bangladesh agriculture minister Dr. Mohammad Abdur Razzaque has called upon the CGIAR centres to strengthen their support for the development of agriculture in Bangladesh by innovating suitable technologies and ideas. He made the remark on Tuesday (23 February 2021) while attending the 7th meeting of the CGIAR Advisory Committee (CAC) at the auditorium of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Although Bangladesh has achieved incredible progress in agricultural development and food production, there are still major challenges ahead of the country in upholding the food security for an ever increasing population, the minister said. 

In order to face these challenges and cope up with the changed global scenario, countries like Bangladesh would have to rethink how research was being done. In this context, CGIAR could help Bangladesh in expanding research activities and by introducing new projects and programs, said Dr. Razzaque, who was the minister for food before taking over his current portfolio.

Out of the 15 organizations belonging to the CGIAR platform, six organizations including International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), WorldFish, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and International Potato Centre (CIP) have been implementing a total of 47 projects and programs across Bangladesh. The 22-member CAC, headed by the executive chairperson of BARC, has been working since 2013 to make sure there are reflections of the Bangladesh government’s policies, priorities and guidelines in the projects run by the CG centres.  

During the meeting, the Bangladesh agriculture minister, himself an agriculturist by education, urged WorldFish to strengthen cooperation in Bangladesh to control fish diseases and prevent local species from extinction. He also said CIMMYT could play a key role in helping Bangladeshi farmers prevent deadly attacks of armyworm on maize and control damages from blast disease of wheat. In addition, he also hoped that IRRI and other CGIAR centers would come up with stronger agricultural research initiatives to support Bangladesh’s development.

Md. Mesbahul Islam, senior secretary to the minister of agriculture, presided over the CAC meeting.