Global Institute for Food Security at USask partnership leads to inauguration of ag-tech centre in Bangladesh
SASKATOON – The Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) is pleased to announce the inauguration of an agricultural technology centre at the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) in Gazipur, Bangladesh, as part of its ongoing partnership with the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) of the Bangladesh Ministry of Agriculture.
GIFS and BARC signed a memorandum of understanding in 2020 to advance knowledge and technologies for agricultural research and development in Bangladesh. The partnership includes collaborations with a variety of partners in Canada and Bangladesh.
The inauguration of the ag-tech centre marks another milestone in the partnership’s goal of delivering sustainable food security through programs in Bangladesh focused on enhancing farmer incomes, addressing the effects of climate change, and strengthening the country’s delivery of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including reducing hunger and empowering women.
Based in Gazipur, the ag-tech centre will offer programs to enhance crop breeding and plant improvement, advance soil health and quality, improve soil water retention, increase data management and analytics, and deliver innovations for post-harvest food handling and processing – a specific area of concern for the country.
Bangladesh has chronic food security challenges that are increasing due to a rapidly growing population, climate-induced stress like salinity intrusion, drought and heat, loss of agricultural land because of rapid urbanization, and post-harvest loss, which in some cases is nearly 50 per cent.
Saskatchewan’s agriculture and agri-food innovation ecosystem has knowledge and expertise that are being used to help find solutions to these problems.
The technical expertise of partners within Saskatchewan and Canada’s research, development and agri-food ecosystem – including the Global Institute for Water Security, the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre, USask colleges, the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) – are being combined to deliver initiatives designed to create an efficient, effective and sustainable system of agricultural research, while promoting an increased standard of living and quality of life for the people of Bangladesh.
The inauguration of the Bangabandhu-Pierre Elliott Trudeau Agriculture Technology Centre was announced by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Gazipur on February 23rd. The inauguration coincides with the 50th anniversary of BRRI and the launch of its 2041 strategy to achieve a food surplus in the country.
Canada – led by Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau at the time – was one of the first countries to recognize Bangladesh’s independence in 1971. The name of the ag-tech centre reflects this legacy.
“Canada was one of the first countries to recognize Bangladesh’s independence in 1971, led by Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau. The Bangabandhu-Pierre Trudeau Agricultural Centre celebrates this history of bilateral relations. The centre will help bring capacity, technology, and expertise to Bangladesh as we continue to move forward to become a developed and prosperous country. We follow in the footsteps of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and will not leave a single inch of arable land uncultivated.”
– H.E. Sheikh Hasina MP, Hon’ble Prime Minister, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
“Bangladesh is an increasingly important trade partner of Saskatchewan, and agriculture is a significant driver of both economies. Saskatchewan is also home to some of the most advanced and sustainable agriculture and agri-food innovation in the world. This new ag-tech centre in Bangladesh is a showcase of Saskatchewan innovation and how the world can learn from our success in producing socially, economically and environmentally sustainable agricultural products.”
– The Honourable David Marit, Minister of Agriculture, Province of Saskatchewan
“Canada and Bangladesh share over 50 years of strong bilateral relations. Bilateral trade between our countries exceeds CAD $2.8 billion annually, including almost CAD $1 billion in agricultural exports from Canada. The potential to expand trade between our countries is significant. Both Canadians and Bangladeshis are natural innovators and connectors. The Bangabandhu-Pierre Trudeau Agriculture Technology Centre is an excellent example of Canadian and Bangladeshi institutions working to foster collaboration and innovation.”
– H.E. Dr. Lilly Nicholls, High Commissioner for Canada in Bangladesh
“Collaboration is a key strength of GIFS. We bring diverse partners together to discover, develop and deliver innovative agriculture solutions that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable. The inauguration of the agriculture technology centre in Bangladesh is an exciting example of how we are realizing our vision of a world where everyone has access to safe and nutritious food.”
– Dr. Steven Webb, Chief Executive Officer at the Global Institute for Food Security
“Saskatchewan is an important partner for Bangladesh, and, since agriculture is critical to both of our economies, we can learn a lot from each other and build more bilateral trade. The inauguration of the Bangabandhu-Pierre Elliot Trudeau Agriculture Technology Centre is a significant step forward in our continued and growing relationship and will play an essential role in our ability to increase our agriculture research capacity and increase our food production while reducing waste.”
– Dr. Shaikh Mohammad Bokhtiar, Director for the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council