November 29-30, Thimphu: The first workshop on Bay of Bengal initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) on promotion of Agriculture Trade and Investment in Bay of Bengal region was organised by the Department of Agriculture Marketing and Cooperatives (DAMC), Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF).
The workshop opening was graced by Director General, DAMC and Director, BIMSTEC. It was attended by two participants each from Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Thailand, BIMSTEC secretariat and one participant from Sri Lanka.
Mr. M.K Dutta, Director of Trade and Investment, Department of Mekong Institute in Thailand facilitated the workshop who also shared his Mekong sub-region experience on agriculture trade and investment related to BIMSTEC.
The Director, BIMSTEC highlighted that the BIMSTEC nations are primarily agrarian economies with good share of their GDP coming from agriculture. “Therefore, agriculture requires meaningful investments in potential areas of cooperation between and among the member countries”, he said. He added that this workshop is one among the nine identified proposed projects.
The workshop provided an important platform for all member states of BIMSTEC and delegates to discuss on the agro-businesses linkage to the regional value chain through innovation, application and transfer of technologies. “Each member state has its own strength and weaknesses in the agriculture industry, and it is imperative that we compliment, support, trade and invest for mutual benefits”, said the Director General for DAMC.
During the workshop, participants shared current status and trends in agriculture trade and investment, shared agriculture trade and investment opportunities, identified challenges of trading and investments and provided recommendations for each member state to help them boost trade and investments between and among BIMSTEC member states.
The project will not only help enhance local businesses and trade relations, it will work towards achieving food self-sufficiency which will be cost effective both in terms of economic and environment.
Reported by Tashi Yangzom with photo by Choidup Zangpo, ICTD
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