With a view to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of ensuring sustainable food security, an international conference has been organized for farmers, agricultural extensionists, researchers, and academicians from SAARC countries.
The 3-day conference, organized jointly by the 'Society for Bangladesh Agricultural Extension Network' (BAEN) and the 'Participatory Rural Development Initiatives Society' (PRDIS) of India, began today (February 2, 2023) at the BRAC CDM auditorium.
Dr. Abdur Razzaque, Minister, Ministry of Agriculture attended the event as chief guest while Prof. Dr. Md. Sekender Ali, Secretary General of the BAEN, presented the welcome speech.
Dr. Daniel Gustafson, Special Representative of the Director General of the World Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Rome, presented the keynote speech. Kbd. Dr. Md. Hamidur Rahman, President of BAEN, presided over the event.
Also present were Kbd. Afzal Hossain Bhuiayn, Organizing Secretary, BAEN; Mr. Robert D. Simpson, FAO Representative, Bangladesh, and Dr. V.V. Sadamate, PRDIS Senior Advisor, among others.
The theme of the conference was “Food and Nutritional Security for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in SAARC Countries: Revisiting Extension Approaches and Strategies”.
In his speech as the chief guest, Dr. Muhammad Abdur Razzaque said, “the four key themes of this conference are very timely and very important for the development of extension services in Bangladesh and other SAARC countries. However, priority should be placed on how quickly and effectively the extension services can be delivered to the doorstep of farmers.”
He continued, “Extension service providers must remember that extension services are no longer just about technology, but also about improving farmers' livelihoods and economic development. Even thirty years ago, the agriculture sector had a 60% contribution to the country’s GDP".
He further said, “We have long been suffering from food shortage. In Bangladesh, even until 2008, there was monga (cyclical poverty and hunger); there were famines; many farmers and their families lived below the poverty line and were undernourished. But now, due to the present government’s continuous support and visionary planning in the agriculture sector, there is no food shortage in Bangladesh any longer".