PM seeks Australian support in agriculture

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today sought cooperation from Australia to boost agriculture production as Australia has technological expertise in this sector.

“We need to increase our production. Because our land is decreasing and population is going up. Australia can help us in this regard as Australia is very advanced in agricultural technology,” she said.

The premier said this while Australian Foreign Minister Senator Penny Wong paid a courtesy call on her at her official residence Ganabhaban this afternoon.

She also mentioned that Bangladesh has achieved a marked progress in agricultural production by increasing its manifold in the last 15 years, but Australia can help Bangladesh boost its production further.

Prime Minister’s Speech Writer Md Nazrul Islam briefed newsmen after the meeting.

The Prime Minister said that the developed countries are just making their commitments, but not fulfill those on climate Change issues.

She, however, expressed her frustration during the call on (due to the non-fulfillment of developed countries commitment on climate change issue), Nazrul Islam mentioned during the media briefing.

Sheikh Hasina, in this connection, highlighted Bangladesh government’s establishment of Climate Trust Fund with its own resources.

“We didn’t sit idle (for the developed countries), rather we have created our own Climate Trust Fund to save our people; we are trying from our side,” she added.

Mentioning that Bangladesh is a vulnerable country due to the climate change, she said it is hit by cyclone and flood very often.

Talking about Rohingya and Palestine issues, the Prime Minister said that 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 dialogues to send back them to their homeland, Myanmar.

The Prime Minister said that although Bangladesh has requested for the international assistance in this regard, but the progress to send them back is not getting significant progress.

She said that Bangladesh is a densely populated country although its area is very small. “For that we have put emphasis on creating employment,” She Hasina added.

In this connection, she said that the government is setting up hundred economic zones across the country.

“Australian entrepreneurs can invest in there and make their profit availing the investment-friendly facilities of the country,” the premier said.

Sheikh Hasina said that due to the timely and pragmatic steps of the government it has been able to reduce the poverty level 17.7 percent from 41 percent while extreme poverty level to 5.7 percent from 25 percent.

Both discussed various issues relating to the mutual interests of the two countries including agriculture, education and trade, said Nazrul.

“They put emphasis on increasing communication and partnership between the 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 Australia’s economy.

She requested the Australian Foreign Minister widening scope 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 Salman Fazlur Rahman, Ambassador-at-Large Mohammad Ziauddin and PM’s Principal Secretary M Tofazzel Hossain Miah were, among others, present at the meeting.

The Australian foreign minister arrived in Dhaka on Tuesday on a two-day official visit to strengthen their bilateral relationship with Bangladesh and find ways to boost cooperation for regional peace, prosperity and security.