Bangladesh Agriculture Minister visits CFC virtually
At the invitation of the Ministry of Agriculture of Bangladesh, Amb. Sheikh Mohammed Belal, Managing Director of the Common Fund for Commodities, met virtually with H.E. Dr. Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, Minister of Agriculture of the Government of Bangladesh. In the meeting, the Minister was accompanied by Ms. Tajkera Khatun and Ms. Zohra Khatoon, Joint Secretary and other high officials of the Ministry, while Amb. Belal was accompanied by Mr. Hector Besong, Portfolio and Risk Manager of the CFC. They briefed Bangladesh Minister on the activities of the Common Fund for Commodities as well as ways of future cooperation between Bangladesh and CFC at this challenging time of post-pandemic recovery and war in Ukraine.
The Hon’ble Minister Dr. Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, in his remarks, while appreciating the good work of the CFC, expressed his hope for further collaboration and assistance in the days to come to provide necessary support for the smallholders and SMEs in Bangladesh. The Minister expressed his desire to see more investments from CFC to Bangladesh and assured his government’s support for the CFC in its drive to do more for the people of Bangladesh and beyond.
Minister Razzaq highlighted a snapshot of the agricultural success stories that Bangladesh has been able to achieve under the leadership of Honble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and enquired how CFC could be a catalyst to this movement of development in Bangladesh. Minister Razzaq specifically highlighted his government’s priority in innovation led agri-processing to create an infrastructure of agripreneurs in Bangladesh.
Following an introductory presentation on CFC, Ambassador Belal recorded CFC’s appreciation for numerous successes in the agri-commodity value chains in the recent past. He highly appreciated that sense of resilience and quest for efficiency gains in the agri-commodity sector in Bangladesh. CFC MD assured the Minister that CFC is both willing and able to be a part of this shared journey of sustainability. Amb. Belal also elaborated on the current discrepancy between CFC’s financing resources and the increased demand for CFC investment. CFC MD further highlighted the newfound reality of overwhelming demand for its services and as such, would like to see greater support infrastructure so that CFC could live up to the expectation of the member countries. Details on CFC’s loan system has also been explained.
Mr. Hector Besong shared information on the ongoing initiative on the formulation of a fund entitled Agricultural Commodity Transformation (ACT) Fund (formerly referred to as ‘CIIF’) designed to enable CFC to contribute more for alleviation of poverty. Once the ACT Fund is formed, member countries are welcome to join this impact investment fund as anchor investors.
Ambassador Belal assured to pursue more innovative outreaches in the days to come to make the services of CFC available to as many people as possible in Bangladesh and beyond with a heightened sense of innovations and creativity.
Both parties agreed to meet again to follow-up the outcome of the meeting soon.