SAARC to begin food security drive
Seven countries of the Bay of Bengal rim will plan a common agenda
for agriculture development to ensure food security and measures at
poverty alleviation at their first ministerial meeting on July 9.
The number of poor in the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral
Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) region has gone up, even as
the member nations have failed to come up with any worthwhile programme
during the last decade, unnamed Bangladesh government sources preparing
for the meet told New Age newspaper.
The member nations of this group of countries in South Asia and South
East Asia are Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan
The meeting is being held in the backdrop of global price hikes of
food and energy, hurting the poor people of the region the most, the
sources pointed out.
“Agriculture and food security will get prominence in the first-ever
meeting on such an issue apart from climate change and its impact on the
poor,” a high official of the Bangladesh foreign ministry told the
The meeting is set to devise a guideline in that regard in view of
“A formal and institutional mechanism may need to be developed for
strengthening the networking system among the member countries,” read
the draft agenda of the meeting.
The draft stipulates that the member countries of the group are
required to describe the strategies being followed with a view to ensure
national and household food security.
The meeting is expected to highlight importance of agriculture
development to reduce influx of population from rural to urban areas by
creating rural employment.
Asked about the slow progress of the Bimstec since its initiation in
1998, an official, who was involved in the process earlier, pointed out
that potentials of the Bay of Bengal grouping could not be exploited due
to “lukewarm responses” from the member states, each assigned for
“The member countries have achieved substantially the goals of
cooperation in trade matters as they showed interest in and contributed
enthusiastically to the issue,’ the official argued.