Dhaka,   Friday 14 June 2024

The South Asian Times | সাউথ এশিয়ান টাইমস

PM Hasina seeks Australian support in agriculture

Published: 20:36, 21 May 2024

PM Hasina seeks Australian support in agriculture

Staff Correspondent
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday expressed frustration that the developed countries are not fulfilling their commitments on climate change issues.
The prime minister opened her mind to visiting Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong during a meeting at her official residence Ganabhaban, according to PM’s speech writer M Nazrul Islam.
“She was a bit frustrated (due to the non-fulfillment of developed countries commitment on climate change issue),” Nazrul said.
The prime minister in this connection told the Australian minister that Bangladesh government has formed the Climate Trust Fund with its own resources.
“We did not sit idle (waiting for the developed counries), we have created our own Climate Trust Fund to save our people, we are trying from our side,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said that Bangladesh is vulnerable to climate change as it is often hit by cyclones and floods.
Talking about Rohingyas sheltered in Bangladesh and the Israeli aggression on Palestine she said Bangladesh is against any sort of war or conflict.
“We want discussion and dialogue for resolving every conflict,” she said.
She said that Bangladesh is trying to resolve the Rohingya issue through bilateral negotiations to send them back to their homeland in Myanmar.
She mentioned that although Bangladesh has requested for international assistance in this regard, there has been no significant progress in the repatriation efforts.
Bangladesh has been hosting about 1.3 million Rohingya since 2017 in Cox’s Bazar district, most of them fleeing to Bangladesh to escape killings, rapes and arson unleashed by Myanmar’s military. Myanmar has yet to agree to take its nationals back home.
The prime minister said that Bangladesh is a densely populated country although its area is very small. “For that we have put emphasis on creating employment,” she said.
She said that the government is setting up 100 economic zones across the country to host industries for creating jobs.
“Australian entrepreneurs can invest in there and make profit by availing the investment-friendly facilities of the country,” she said.
Regarding agriculture, the PM said that Bangladesh has been successful to produce food grains in the last 15 years.
“We have been able to increase our production many fold, but we have to produce more as our lands are decreasing with the growth of population,” she said.
She sought Australian assistance in sharing its advanced agricultural technology.
She said that due to the timely and pragmatic steps taken by the government Bangladesh has been able to reduce the poverty level to 17.7% from 41% and extreme poverty level to 5.7% from 25%.
Both discussed various issues relating to the mutual interests of the two countries including agriculture, education and trade, said Nazrul.
“They emphasized increasing communication and partnership between the two countries on these issues,” he said.
The prime minister said that currently some 90,000 people of Bangladesh origin are living in Australia and they are contributing to the country’s economy.
She requested the Australian foreign minister to take steps to allow more Bangladeshi students in their country.

The Australian foreign minister laid emphasis on further strengthening and deepening existing bilateral relations between the two countries.

PM’s Advisor on Private Industry and Investment Salman F Rahman and Ambassador-at-large M Ziauddin were among others present at the meeting.

Penny Wong arrived in Dhaka on Tuesday on a two-day official visit to strengthen bilateral relations with Bangladesh and find ways to boost cooperation for regional peace, prosperity and security.

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