The inaugural of the Bangladesh Agricultural Investment Forum heralded a dynamic initiative aimed at propelling agricultural transformation within the nation.
Spearheaded by the Ministry of Agriculture, this pioneering endeavor seeks to amplify targeted investments and foster access to financial resources for food producers and agro-processing enterprises.
The event congregates vital stakeholders across the agro food value chain, encompassing industry magnates, visionaries, investors, financial institutions, and policymakers.
Agriculture Minister Dr. Abdur Razzaque, acting as the chief guest, set the tone for the forum’s unfolding. Agriculture Minister Secretary Wahida Akter presided over the opening session, imparting a sense of purpose to the proceedings.
Noteworthy international partners who were present included CGIAR, the Embassy of Denmark, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Bank Group, and the World Food Programme. All of them are supporting the initiative. Their support underscores the global significance of the endeavor.
Having chalked up remarkable achievements in the agricultural domain, Bangladesh is poised to transition from a stance centered on food security to one focused on nutrition security, coupled with enhancements in food quality, processing, and exports.
Simultaneously, escalating demand for sustenance within the nation, coupled with evolving dietary preferences, has set the stage for transformation. The burgeoning middle-income demographic’s predilection for pricier comestibles like meat, fish, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables is reshaping the consumption landscape.
As urbanization continues to gain momentum, the call for processed and convenient sustenance is poised to surge. Consumers, increasingly discerning, are demanding an expanded array of choices, superior nutrition, and heightened food safety. These evolving dynamics not only present opportunities for local food producers but also pave the way for ventures within the food sector to thrive.
In light of the challenges encountered by farmers and small to medium-sized enterprises, innovative financial solutions emerge as an imperative. The Bangladesh Agricultural Investment Forum 2023 endeavors to address this vital requirement, effectively dismantling a significant impediment to growth.
Spanning two days, the forum has convened at the prestigious InterContinental hotel in Dhaka. It will cast a spotlight on strategic investment prospects within designated agricultural sectors, explore diverse ingenious financial instruments, and facilitate collaborations with private investors, domestic banks, and international financial institutions. By fostering the exchange of insights and networking opportunities, the event aspires to unlock avenues for lucrative investments.
Expressing the collective stance of the developmental partners, Robert D. Simpson, the FAO Representative in Bangladesh, articulated, “The burgeoning agrifood enterprises within the nation necessitate substantial investments to cater to heightened local demand and capitalize on export potential. As Bangladesh progresses and its economy burgeons, it is destined to attract a wider gamut of investors. This pioneering investment forum, a first in Bangladesh, will serve as a pivotal conduit linking prospective investors with those poised to reap the benefits of such investments.”
Simpson further added, “The coalition of developmental partners takes immense pride in collaborating to bolster the Ministry of Agriculture’s endeavors, thereby contributing to the comprehensive transformation of the nation’s agricultural sector.”
The forum’s agenda spans in-depth deliberations on fortifying Bangladesh's agricultural competitiveness, financing agrifood systems transformation, crop production, farming systems, and the realms of livestock, fisheries, and overarching governmental policies.
Anticipated to establish a recurrent presence, the forum takes root from the FAO Investment Forum hosted last year in Rome, Italy. Both these forums coalesce under the FAO's Hand-in-Hand Initiative, steadfastly advancing nationally-led programs aimed at expediting agri-food systems transformation.
Notably, Bangladesh figures among the approximately ten countries slated to participate in this year's FAO Investment Forum, scheduled for October.
The Bangladesh Agricultural Investment Forum 2023 stands as a monumental step toward sculpting a prosperous and progressive agricultural trajectory, ushering in a new era of growth, sustainability, and prosperity for the nation.