'This strategy reflects that Bangladesh has really impressive research capability, very strong visions of the directions it wants agricultural research to take'
The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) has launched a new strategy with Bangladesh outlining key agricultural research priorities for the coming decade.
The Bangladesh Collaboration Strategy 2021-2030 was launched on Wednesday virtually and will underpin future research partnerships between Australia and Bangladesh, said a press release.
Australia’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Jeremy Bruer said that the new strategy would further strengthen the partnership between the two countries.
"ACIAR’s expertise in agricultural research for development contributes to Bangladesh’s sustainable economic growth, supports rural livelihoods and enhances regional stability," said the high commissioner.
"The strategy reflects the research collaboration between Australia and Bangladesh, which has thrived since the mid-1990s, and recognises the current and emerging challenges and opportunities in the agriculture sector."
Prof Andrew Campbell, ACIAR CEO, said that the new strategy affirmed the commitment to an equal, mutually beneficial, long-term research partnership between the two countries.
The new strategy outlines research priorities: crop improvement, improved farming systems, water management, soil fertility and management, markets, and agricultural mechanisation.
It also emphasises the continued importance of building research capacity within Bangladesh.
"This strategy reflects that Bangladesh has really impressive research capability, very strong visions of the directions it wants agricultural research to take, and resources to co-invest in this research," said Campbell.
A 10-year strategy also enables longer-term and flexible programs to deal with complex issues such as climate change, he also said.
The strategy highlights the memorandum of understanding that ACIAR has with Bangladesh's Krishi Gobeshona Foundation.
First signed in 2015 and refreshed and renewed earlier this year, the agreement frames how the organisations jointly support and conduct research, development and other activities to improve food security.
Campbell said that these types of agreements—and the new strategy—demonstrate the positive relationship, mutual trust and goodwill between the two countries.
Agriculture has been playing a very significant role in ensuring food and nutritional security, employment generation, export market promotion and thereby increasing economic growth and sustainable development of Bangladesh, said Shaikh Mohammad Bokhtiar, executive chairman of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC).
"While Bangladesh has made impressive progress in achieving national food security, we must continue to progress agricultural research to boost productivity and resilience to challenges including climate change," he added.