At the outset, I would like to align with the statements delivered by Egypt, as the Chair of the G77, and Malawi, as the Chair of LDCs. I would also like to thank the Secretary General for his reports and all documentation relevant to this agenda item.
The 2030 Agenda has recognized the intrinsic connection between ending hunger and malnutrition and sustainable development. We express our deep concern at the findings of the Secretary General’s Report that global hunger is on the rise and with the current trend the SDG 2 will not be met by 2030. It is indeed a shocking news that in this age of highly interlinked global economy and unprecedented technological advancement which have unleashed remarkable potential for prosperity, millions of people would spend days without meals. The recommendations made in the Secretary General’s report are timely, action-oriented and provide good basis for us to revitalize our efforts to reverse the global hunger trend.
Bangladesh began its journey in 1971 with a production of 10 million Metric Ton of rice, the staple food for its about 76 million people inhabiting in a 142 thousand square kilometers of land. Despite shrinking of cultivable lands due to the growing population, expansion of industrial sectors, and also severe impacts of climate change, Bangladesh managed to triple its rice production which is over 34 million Metric Ton now in a cultivable land of 8.5 million hectares only. The country has ranked third in the world in terms of inland fish production in 2018 and the average per capita fish consumption in the country is 62.58 grams per day, against the daily requirement of 60 grams.
These remarkable successes could be achieved as the current Government under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina adopted bold policies aiming at transforming the agriculture sector, promoting rural development, empowering the marginalized people and protecting smallholder farmers and small- scale producers within local food systems.
The contribution of agriculture sector to our GDP is 14.75% and it still absorbs the biggest share of labour force. Bangladesh has aligned its development plans with the SDGs and we are committed to implement the SDG 2. Our farmers are being provided with timely supply of agriculture inputs including high-yeilding seeds, fertilizer, irrigation, pesticides etc. The government has made all out efforts to reach the farmers in the remote and difficult terrains and ensure their integration with the overall agriculture development. “The National Agriculture Policy 2018,” aims at ensuring profitable agriculture, nutrition and food security in Bangladesh. It has focused on enhanced investment on research on agriculture development, technology transfer and agriculture extension, mechanization, specialized agriculture, ICT, marketing of agricultural products, women empowerment and nano-technology. The Government has undertaken various steps to ensure productivity of crops, boosting production and raising farmers’ income, diversifying crops, producing safe foods and developing marketing system, profitable agriculture and use of natural resources. Micro-savings have been introduced for rural, marginalized communities through the innovative project namely “One House, One Farm’.
Climate change impacts have the potential to halt our success in agriculture and nutrition sector. Hence, Bangladesh has been spending over 1% of its GDP in addressing climate change impacts and has invested significantly in making its agriculture sector climate-resilient. Our agriculture scientists and researchers have played an important role in ensuring food and nutrition security in the country by inventing climate change and salinity-resistant varieties of crops. We have also been building modern food storage facilities to prevent food damage and ensure the quality of food.
After having attained food autarky, Bangladesh has now targeted ensuring nutrition for its people. The second Bangladesh National Plan of Action for Nutrition (NPAN2) 2016-2025 is now being implemented. It has provided a strong basis for the multi-sectoral response needed to fight against malnutrition. Specifically, it focuses on children, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers to improve nutrition and eradicate all forms of malnutrition across the country. Strong legal provisions have been put in place to prevent food adulteration. Also, several steps have been taken for the development of the fisheries sector which is a significant contributor to food and nutrition of the people. Mr. Chairman, Before I conclude, let me highlight that cooperation from our development partners for more trade and investment in the agriculture sector is vital for agriculture development, food security and nutrition for countries like Bangladesh.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.