FBCCI's Standing Committee on Agriculture, Agricultural Processing and Agro-based Industries have called for increasing local seed production to make Bangladesh's food security sustainable.
Members of the committee made the call during their first meeting on Wednesday at the office of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) in the capital, according to a press statement.
According to BADC, locally produced seeds account for only 7% of the domestic demand. The remaining 93% is imported.
Speaking at the event as its chief guest, FBCCI President Md Jashim Uddin said food security is one of the most important issues for any country.
He said the agri-production kept Bangladesh's economy in a relatively better position during the Covid-19 pandemic. The government has taken initiative to turn agro-based industries into export-oriented industries.
The FBCCI president urged the private sector entrepreneurs to come forward to invest in this sector.
He said although Bangladeshi agricultural products are exported abroad, their buyers are mainly expatriate Bangladeshis.
"The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries are interested in taking halal food from Bangladesh. Hence there is a lot of potential in this sector," he added.
Echoing Jashim's remarks, Ferdousi Begum, director in charge of the standing committee, said the huge import dependence on seeds is a risk to the food security of the country. Achieving capacity in seed production requires long term investment.
Meanwhile, Tasfia Jashim, co-chair of the committee, spoke about gender inequality in the agriculture sector.
She said 54% of the labour force in agriculture is women. Equal pay for this huge number of workers has not yet been ensured. At the same time, women own 10% or less of the land.
Tasfia said formal recognition of women's contribution to sustainable development in agriculture is important.
Also speaking at the meeting, Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Bab, senior vice-president of FBCCI, assured that the recommendations received at the standing committee meeting would be conveyed to the concerned government officials for implementation.