Greater role for agro-based production and processing in post-COVID 19 economic recovery and food security was underscored by the Principal Secretary Dr. Ahmad Kaikaus at a Webinar on Post COVID-19: Challenges and Opportunities for Entrepreneurship and Employment in Agro-based industry held on evening of 29 August 2020. He was speaking as the Chief Guest of the event jointly organized by Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and France Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CCIFB).
In his opening remarks, the President, CCIFB Syed Mahmudul Huq said that agriculture in Bangladesh played the most important role in providing food security, creating jobs, generating income, and reducing poverty since independence. emphasized on the combined efforts of the Government, the industry, and the academia to make agriculture not only as the guarantor of food security; but also, it emerges as an engine of growth for overall economy.
Mr. AKM Hafizullah Khan, Project Director, Entrepreneurship & Skill Development Project (ESDP), BIDA gave an overview of BIDA’s initiatives to promote employment and entrepreneurship under their Entrepreneurship & Skill Development Project.
Emeritus Professor Dr. Sattar Mandal led the discussions on the role of agro-based industry in addressing the challenges and harnessing the opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment in post COVID-19. The panel of discussants in the webinar included Dr. F. H. Ansarey, Managing Director & CEO, ACI Agribusinesses, ACI Limited, Mr. Moshiur Rahman, Managing Director Paragon Group, Ms. Fawzia Yasmeen, Director, Ispahani Agro Limited, Dr. Md. Saleh Ahmed, Chairman, KERNEL Foundation and former Consultant of World Bank and FAO, Dr. Asif Naimur Rashid, Chief Information Officer (CIO), Robi Axiata Limited, Mr. Md. Ashraful Alam, Country Project Coordinator, Shaping Inclusive Finance Transformation (SHIFT), United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), Mr. Eric Fajole, Director, Business France for South Asia and Dr. Mahfuzuddin Ahmed, former Adviser and Chief, Rural Development and Food Security, Asian Development Bank and former Director, World Fish.
BIDA Executive Chairman Mr. Md. Sirazul Islam, in his closing remarks, reiterated BIDA’s commitment to work with agro-industry stakeholders to increase investment and employment in agro-based industries. At the end Mr. Shah Syed Kamal, Chairman, Policy & Advocacy Sub-Committee, CCIFB offered a vote of thanks.