Experts and economists on Monday stressed the need for bilateral cooperation in agriculture between Bangladesh and India to cope with the ongoing crisis in the sector due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Opening up the land ports, reviving the marketplaces along the borders of Bangladesh and North East India, strengthening business-to-business communication and enhancing political motivation can help to overcome the problems, they said at a webinar. The economic shutdown is hampering movement of products between the two countries and affecting farmers of the countries, they said.
The South Asian Network on Economic Modeling and the Asian Confluence jointly organised the webinar on ‘Regional Cooperation in Trade and Development of Agriculture: Perspectives from Bangladesh and India’.
SANEM executive director Selim Raihan said that bilateral cooperation and political willingness were most important in improving the trade in agriculture.
Enhanced cooperation will help farmers of both countries to market their agricultural products, he said.
Sabyasachi Dutta, executive director of Asian Confluence, India East Asia Centre at Shillong in India, said that cooperation in agriculture had become all the more important in the context of the ongoing pandemic. He put emphasis on the role of the north-eastern states of India in this regard.
Associate professor of the agricultural economics department of Bangladesh Agricultural University Nahid Sattar identified three areas — trade and commerce, institution and environment — for cooperation in agriculture between the two countries.
SANEM research associate Mahtab Uddin said that Bangladesh had only been able to realise only 20 per cent of its export potential worth $6 billion to India due to various problems, including the non-tariff barriers imposed by India.
Organic Bangladesh Ltd managing director Abdus Samad, ACI Logistics Ltd’s business strategy and consumer engagement team leader Mahadi Faisal, among others, spoke at the programme.