Common food safety standards to promote regional trade

Dr Shamsul Alam tells SAPLING regional dialogues in Dhaka

Published : 03 Dec 2022 09:15 PM

State Minister for Planning, Dr. Shamsul Alam emphasized the need to bolster regional trade on food products along with setting up common food safety standards for the region.

He also said, to ensure accessibility and availability of safe and nutritious food in South Asia, institutional setup complemented by multi-sectoral and multi-country cooperation is necessary. He was addressing a dialogue, organized as part of a series of regional dialogues of the South Asian Policy Leadership for Improved Nutrition and Growth (SAPLING), at Hotel Pan Pacific Sonargaon in Dhaka recently.

BRAC - the current SAPLING Secretariat, in collaboration with IPE Global Limited, an India based international development consulting firm and SAPLING’s knowledge partner organized the event. 

The Dhaka congregation witnessed participation from government delegations, multilateral organizations, private sector entities, research institutions and civil society organizations from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. The three thematic areas, namely climate-smart food systems, post-harvest losses, and food safety standards, were the main focus of the discussions.

Chief guest of the event, Begum Matia Chowdhury, Chair, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Agriculture, said, “The government has ensured substantial progress in ensuring food security for the population. Bangladesh is prone to frequent climate shocks that can potentially disrupt the food system, increase inequality and jeopardise people's access to food.”

Siddharth Chaturvedi, Senior Programme Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation spoke on the importance of connecting dots and translating country level issues to regional collaborations for effective solutions in SAPLING countries.

Amadou Ba, Senior Agriculture Economist at The World Bank, Dhaka re-emphasized on the need of regional collaboration among South Asian countries and established its alignment with the UN Food Systems Summit.   Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, SAPLING was established as a regional platform for consensus building among various stakeholders for mainstreaming evidence-based policy, action and leadership to combat malnutrition in line with policymakers' needs and priorities through a whole-of-systems approach.