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Statement by the Minister of Agriculture of the People's Republic of Bangladesh

Location:

Mr. Chairperson,
Distinguished Governors,
President of IFAD,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentleman;

As-salamu Alaikum and Good Morning

I extend my own and my delegation’s warmest felicitation to the Chair on your election as the Chairperson of the Governing Council of IFAD. I wish you every success and assure you the fullest cooperation of the Government of Bangladesh. I also extend my thanks to the outgoing Bureau of the Governing Council for their hard work in steering IFAD’s noble endeavors of eradicating rural poverty in developing countries.

I am delighted to be present at the 39th session of the Governing Council meeting of the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

Let me at the outset compliment IFAD for holding the meeting at a time when sustainable food security is identified as a key issue for coming years. I intend to focus on policies, major programs and investments relevant for my country.

Mr. President,

IFAD has been a valuable development partner for our agricultural sector in the past three decades. In the recent years, its attention appears to be in the areas of agricultural technology,aquaculture, microfinanceand value chain developmentin Bangladesh.

However, I would like to emphasize the need for IFAD’s greater attention to address the challenges in irrigation and water management in Bangladesh.

Distinguished Members of the Governing Council,

Heavy dependence on groundwater has been costly for farmers in terms of resource use. Further, given growing water scarcity, groundwater pumping has become less equitable. Besides, heavy dependence on groundwater has increased the risk of arsenic contamination in food production.

Irrigation management, therefore, requires urgent attention. Constraints that hinder the cost-effective use of surface water resources need to be addressed urgently to ensure balanced use of available water resources in the country.

In this context, the economics of water management in general, and ground and surface water irrigation in particular should be examined for improved agricultural productivity in Bangladesh.

Moreover, the regional dimension of water resources development and management need to be explored to ensure its balanced use across different regions in the country. In particular, the barriers to water resources development in South-West region should be explored, and appropriate policy interventions suggested.

Distinguished Delegates,

Technological solutions and other innovations could make irrigation more efficient in Bangladesh. Our strategy now is to implement small-scale irrigation systems with complementary device to optimize the use of water.

Such small irrigation systems will reduce the adverse impact of drought on rain fed crops. It is estimated that about 2.8 million hectare cropped area are drought prone. Our research results show that supplementary irrigation can lead to 15-25 percent increase in crop productivity.

Some of our agricultural development institutions have a long and proven experience in this field. Their knowledge and expertise can be exploited to benefit the farmers.

For instance, the Irrigation and Water Management Division of the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute has developed a technology called Alternate Wet and Drying that has the potential for increasing water management efficiency. In some areas, suitable Rubber Dam technology can be used for promoting crop production as well as agriculture.

Let me invite the urgent attention of IFAD to explore and develop integrated water management for both foodgrain and fish production. Keeping in view the overriding need for achieving sustainable development goals.
Mr. President,

Bangladesh has been a consistent supporter of IFAD. Among the least developed countries Bangladesh is one of the highest contributors to IFAD’s financial resources. Bangladesh’s contribution to replenishment is rising. Bangladesh has pledged one million US dollar which is 54% more than the 9th replenishment.

I would like to call upon the Member States to fulfill their commitments to IFAD and contribute more to its financial resources and the IFAD Management to explore other avenues for generating additional financial resources. I wish a great success for IFAD’s 10th Replenishment.

Thank you all for your patience.

Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu
Long Live Bangladesh.

Begum Matia Chowdhury
Minister for Agriculture