If Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s speech in Rome at the 41st session of the International Fund for Agricultural Development has highlighted one truth, it is this: It has never been more important to invest in sustainable rural economies to fight poverty and hunger.
For countries like Bangladesh, which continue to suffer from the loss of arable land to the adverse effects of climate change, the only way to nurture resistance is by ensuring continued investment in climate-resistant methods of agriculture.
Under the PM’s leadership we have managed to remain ahead of the curve in meeting the SDGs, and the rest of the world would do well to take a page out of her book.
Bangladesh has, in many ways, shown the path forward in this regard, having more than tripled its food production despite having lost one-third of arable land since 1971.
This not only speaks to the Bangladeshi people’s resilience, but also the extent to which we as a nation have understood the long-term benefits of agricultural investment and innovation.
But, moving forward, nations with extensive rural agricultural economies will need help from development partners as the world braces itself for climate change. Bangladesh is set to lose 40% of its cultivable land by 2080, while global food demand is set to rise by at least 60%.
Now the world needs to work together to prevent an impending food crisis, both home and abroad.
The key to poverty alleviation remains inclusive and sustainable agricultural innovation, which would tap into the rural resources of nations and seek to create resilient and sustainable methods for continued crop production.