REZAUL KARIM |
Dec. 14, 2021, 9:24 a.m.
Boosting agricultural production and productivity and cultivating high-value, export-grade crops are seen as urgently needed to cushion possible external shocks to Bangladesh’s export trade in the post-LDC era.
To this end, the researchers recommend that the government take steps to develop a diversified agricultural production plan and intensify the commercialization of agriculture, including its sub-sectors.
The recommendation comes from the Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council (BARC) in a report submitted to the government, at a time when Bangladesh has fulfilled all the criteria set to exit the club of the poor countries of the world – the group of least developed countries or LDCs, and preparations are being made on how to move into the global marketplace in the post-graduation era.
It places particular emphasis on adopting the know-how to produce safe and quality food for export through commercialized agriculture with the latest means.
The government agency prepared the report through research led by an Additional Secretary (Policy), Ministry of Industry, under the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Subcommittee on Bangladesh Passage from LDCs to DC (developing countries).
When contacted, a senior Ministry of Industries official involved in the process declined to comment in this regard.
“The required investments should be increased in agricultural research, extension and human resource development to facilitate innovation and technology diffusion,” the report said.
The institutional capacity of public bodies involved in agricultural research and development should be strengthened.
The necessary planning and measures should be taken for the use of the blue economy and to strengthen natural resource management activities.
A necessary step should be taken to establish modern and export oriented food industries.
The report also suggests formulating a trade policy favorable to exports by making the necessary changes to the import-export policy.
For market expansion, the country should opt for signing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with developed and developing countries / regions.
BARC’s report recommended preparing time-bound planning (short, medium and long term) to overcome possible challenges after obtaining LDC status.
It also calls for a study to be carried out on access to the existing international market, the advantages to be lost as a result of graduation, and the possible business opportunities to be opened up in this way.
The report predicts that the country’s export trade is likely to face multiple challenges, including the loss of duty and quota allowances, and reduced benefits during the post-graduation period.
The process of agricultural mechanization, production of safe and quality food, agricultural processing and value addition to agricultural products and overall productivity may also be hampered after graduation due to the withdrawal of some business advantages as a than PMA, the report says.
BARC, under the Ministry of Agriculture, warns that the export of agricultural and non-agricultural products will face increased competition in the international market.
There will be a negative impact on pharmaceuticals and chemicals due to the effectiveness of the patent provisions of the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement after graduation.
This will lead to an increase in pesticides and chemical fertilizers, thus affecting overall agricultural production, the report said, adding that Bangladesh will have a transition period until 2033 to prepare for political and technological homework.
The global export of agricultural products can have a negative effect on the granting of subsidies and cash assistance on these export products, he also mentioned.
After graduation, Bangladesh will have little or no opportunity to benefit from various facilities including grants / low rate loans / ODA for short and long term agricultural research and development projects. .
The agricultural sector has been one of the main engines of growth and rural development, accounting for nearly 14% of gross domestic product (GDP) and providing employment opportunities to over 40% of the workforce. country, the report notes.
Currently, Bangladesh has achieved self-sufficiency in food production as well as excess production of rice and potatoes.
Besides crops, Bangladesh shows higher growth in livestock and fisheries, especially meat production and inland fisheries.