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20 June, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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UAE urged to invest in agro processing industries

United Arab Emirates wants to import rice, mango from Bangladesh
DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT, DHAKA

Bangladesh has invited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the investment in agro processing industries and importing fruits and vegetables from here.

State minister Md Shahriar Alam placed the invitation before the UAE minister of state for food security Mariam AlMheiri during a lunch in honour of UAE minister at State Guest House Padma on Tuesday.

UAE state minister invited the Bangladesh state minister to visit the UAE while a discussion could be arranged with the top UAE investors in this sector.

During the lunch they exchanged views on different issues of bilateral relations and cooperation, particularly in the area of agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries, agro-processing and other sectors of food security.

They also discussed on the mutual cooperation in the international fora for food security.

The two state ministers referred to the successful visit of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to the UAE in February this year and emphasised on the implementation of the MoUs signed during the visit with regard to UAE investment in Bangladesh.

Among others, acting foreign secretary Mahbubuzzaman and UAE Ambassador in Dhaka Saed Mohammed Saed Hmaid Almheiri attended the lunch programme.

Mariam arrived Dhaka Tuesday on an official visit.

Foreign ministry sources said Bangladesh has been inviting UAE to invest in agriculture, fisheries and agro-processing. UAE also showed their interest to tap this area in Bangladesh.

Earlier on Tuesday, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) said the country is willing to import food items like fine rice, vegetables and mango from Bangladesh.

It has also offered to provide assistance in sectors like food production research and development, food production technology, food trade and food policy governance, food waste and food loss, food export opportunities, germplasm exchange and skill development between the two countries.

The visiting minister of state for food security of the UAE government, Mariam bin Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, expressed such interests during a meeting with agriculture minister Dr Abdur Razzaque at the secretariat on Tuesday.

The UAE aims to ensure productivity and production, despite problems like water scarcity and arable land, soil salinity, difficult environmental conditions, high production costs, agricultural pests and post-harvest losses, Mariam informed Razzaque.

The UAE state minister said: “The UAE government has given prioritised increasing the use of hydroponic technology, which relies on nutrient-rich water without soil. Farmers are switching to organic farming.”

The UAE government is ready to import fine rice, fruits like mango, and vegetables from Bangladesh if they are produced and processed through hygienic methods, she added.

“There are huge opportunities in the field of food production research and development, food production technology, food trade and food policy governance, food waste and food loss, food export opportunities, germplasm exchange and skill development. We need bilateral talks on the matter,” said Mariam.

She also sought bilateral cooperation to share exchange of knowledge and experience to reduce food waste and losses. Besides, there are export opportunities of  potatoes and processed products, jute, jute products and allied materials, tropical fruits and vegetables, arid agriculture and germplasm of fruits and vegetables, the visiting UAE state minister said.

“Usually people of rich countries take fine rice like Jesmin and Bashmoti. But, Bangladesh’s rice is little bit bigger in size (coarse rice). The UAE government has expressed its interest to import fine rice, fruits and vegetables from Bangladesh,” Abdur Razzaque told this correspondent after the meeting.

He also said the UAE side has submitted several agriculture and food related proposals. The Government of Bangladesh will examine their proposals for further action, he added.

When asked about the ongoing low price of paddy, the agriculture minister replied: “We are trying to find out rice markets especially in African countries and Philippines. A delegation from Philippines will visit Bangladesh soon.”

The government is very much concerned over the low price of paddy. Rice millers have been asked to communicate with different countries to export rice, he said.

“The government has taken various initiatives to benefit farmers. A total of Tk 9,000 crore has been allocated in the current budget for agricultural incentive purposes. Of them, Tk. 6,000  –6,500 crore will be spent as incentive for fertiliser purposes.

The remaining Tk 3,000 crore will be spent as subsidy for the mechanisation of agriculture as finding agricultural labour is a problem these days,” Razzaque said.

The government will provide 70 per cent and the remaining amount will be borne by farmers to purchase agricultural machineries, Razzaque said in reply to a query.

When asked about the huge discrepancies between prices of paddy and rice, the agriculture minister replied: “Traders have to spend 70 per cent additional costs to bring rice from Iswardi to Dhaka. I won’t like to explain as there are many factors behind it.”

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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