Canada is keen to collaborate with Bangladesh in the agriculture sector particularly in the development of food storage and small-scale farmers.
Canadian Minister of International Development Harjit S Sajjan expressed this interest during a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the her official residence Ganabhaban on Friday.
PM’s Speechwriter Md Nazrul Islam briefed reporters after the meeting.
According to the spokesperson, the visiting Canadian minister appreciated the development of Bangladesh in agriculture and education, reports UNB.
The minister also praised Hasina for developing a large agro-farm inside her residence complex
The premier called upon the Canadian entrepreneurs to make investment in agro-processing industry and others in the special economic zones of Bangladesh.
She said Bangladesh is now setting up 100 special economic zones throughout the country. Canadian investors can make investments there.
She said her government puts emphasis on the development of the agro-processing industry to export processed foods alongside meeting the local demand.
Noting that Bangladesh is a small country with a large population, the PM said her government has been trying to boost farm production significantly in a small area in order to feed the local people and export the surplus food or assist other countries with food.
She said Bangladesh became successful as its scientists have been able to develop many high yielding varieties of crops.
A huge number of lands which once used to remain fallow in the country, particularly its southern region, have been brought under cultivation thanks to the development of varieties which are tolerant of saline and drought, she added.
About her government’s steps to promote small farmers, Hasina said the government provides them with subsidies to irrigation, agriculture appliances and agricultural mechanisation, and assists them under many other programmes.
She said the government has introduced a micro-saving programme and so, the small farmers can save their money and also take loans from it.
In irrigation, the government now puts importance to rainwater harvesting and use of surface water instead of underground water for the sake of conservation of nature, she added.
About the Rohingya issue, the PM sought cooperation from the development partners over repatriation of displaced Rohingya people to their motherland.
She, however, sought their assistance to develop more areas in Bhashan Char, island in Noakhali, to relocate more Rohingyas from Cox’s Bazar for their temporary shelter.
PM Hasina said Bangladesh developed the Bhashan Char island with its own fund to arrange a better living condition for Rohingyas. A good number of Rohingya have already been shifted to Bhashan Char.
If the area with better living conditions can be expanded there, more Rohingyas can be relocated from Cox’s Bazar, she said, seeking help from the donors in this regard.
The PM said some of the Rohingyas have got involved in various crimes like human and drug trafficking and internal conflicts in Cox’s Bazar.
She said an inhuman environmen exists in camps for women particularly children and adolescent girls. If they go to Bhashan Char, they will get a decent environment.
Talking about climate change, Hasina said Bangladesh is mainly emphasizing the adaptation and mitigation to fight the impacts of climate changes. The problems induced by climate changes are being addressed by local solutions, she said.
She said the government focuses on minimizing damages of lives and livelihood during natural disasters.
In this context, she mentioned that cyclone shelter centres, cyclone-resilient houses and greenbelts were built on the coastal area.
Turning to education, the premier said her government is putting importance to the development of skilled manpower alongside general education to create scopes for self-employment and increase remittance outflow exporting skilled labour to foreign markets.
PM's Principal Secretary M Tofazzel Hossain Miah, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Lilly Nicholls were present.