SAARC Food Bank to Deliver Now

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Dhaka, 26 October 2010. Today in a seminar title “SAARC Food Bank and South Asian Hungry People” held in national press club, speakers has urged SAARC leaders to implement integration of right to food in their respective country constitution and also demanded immediate operationalization of SAARC food bank. On the eve of SAARC food bank official meeting to be held during 27 and 28 October in Dhaka the seminar has been organized by Agriculture Reporters Forum, EquityBD, Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Coastal Development Partnership, Nagorik Uddouge, Media Foundation for Trade and Development and South Asian Allaience for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE) . The seminar was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, spoken by Food and Disaster Management Minister Dr. Abdur Razzaque MP, Ex Agriculture Minister and BNP Leader M K Anwar, Chairman Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture Shawkat Momen Sahajahan MP, Dr.Asaduzzaman of BIDS, Golam Mortoza of Shaptahik, Rashed Al Titumir of Unnayan Anneshan, Elahi Dad Khan of Bangladesh Nodal Piont for SAARC Food Bank, and Debayoni Baus of IMSE India.

On behalf of organizers a paper has been presented by Dr Sohel Iqbal that jointly prepared by Altab Hossain, and Farooque Ahmed. Mostafa Kamal Aknada has given welcome speech. They have raised four specific recommendations to make a functional food bank, these are food reserve have to be raised at least 1 million metric tons, four step tiers in between food bank to council of ministers have to reduced, price have to be settled as half of the international market price, and there should be SAARC agriculture perspective 2020 and SAARC food security plan have to be prepared in participatory way.

Minister Dr. Abdur Razzaque calls on responsibility of big countries to look on interest of the small countries in the region, he emphasized political intentions and good will is a necessity to solve other practical problems. He mentioned names of several SAARC based regional institutions as a result of SAARC process, although he said that in view of expectation it is slow and little. He cited example from European Union, and urged for a regionalism which will facilitate a win win situation for all the countries. He mentioned that investment in agriculture has to enhanced, and a long term perspective in agriculture and food security plan has to be taken in SAARC, as there are 40 % of world poor population living in this South Asia.

Opposition Leader and ex Agriculture Minister said that man made disaster is also responsible for creating food insecurity in the region, he criticized the 8 % less production as eligible criteria for a country to get access, he said that if it is 8 % less then it means a country already in famine condition. He raise question, if SAARC food back still has not deliver anything, then its necessity is in question. Showkat Momen Sajahan MP, Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee, criticized the approach of having politics in favor of Pakistan or in favor of India, he urged on top of all above controversy there must be a South Asian regionalism. Debayoni Bose of IMSE India and Zakir Hossain of Nagarik Uddogue given emphasize on Right to Food of the South Asian people, which has to be integrated in the respective country constitutions of SAARC countries. Fazlur Rahman a farmers leader from Baraguna has also spoken in the events, who stated present crisis of farming in grass root level. Apart from those speakers, Kawasar Hossain, Rafiqul Islam Azad, Shamima Akhter, Fakrul Ferdous, Zaid Iqbal Khan and Mahbub Hasan also spoken on the occasion.

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