24 August, 2021:
Foreign Minister Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen met the South African Minister for Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Angela ThokoDidiza at her office on 23 August, 2021.
The meeting of the two Ministers focused on possible cooperation in agriculture areas between the two countries. Ms. Angela Thoko suggested that both countries may cooperate in Environment including forests, fisheries and land reforms and other areas. Dr. Momen apprised the South African Agriculture Minister about the measures undertaken by the Bangladesh Government to cope up with the current Covid -19 situation.
The Bangladesh Foreign Minister briefed Ms. Angela Thoko about the remarkable achievement that Bangladesh has made in the area of agriculture. He proposed that cooperation between the two countries in different segments of agriculture including fisheries and livestock as well as institutional cooperation would engender a win-win situation for both the countries. In this vein, Dr. Momen proposed that taking into account the plenty of unutilized land in South Africa joint venture agricultural projects may be set up by both countries. With knowledge and expertise of Bangladesh entrepreneurs and land of the South African side, contract farming projects may be initiated.
The Foreign Minister proposed to the South African side for establishment of a center on agricultural cooperation in South Africa which may be named as Bangabandhu-Mandela Agricultural Research Centre. The Agricultural Minister of South Africa stated that both sides may assign agricultural experts to discuss the project.
The Agricultural Minister of South Africa also enquired to know how micro credit is helping the agricultural sector in Bangladesh. The Foreign Minister informed her that the Bangladesh Government has dedicated organizations which extend financial assistance to the farmers. He proposed that a delegation of experts and officials of the agricultural sector may visit Bangladesh from South Africa to see the agricultural activities in Bangladesh. He also suggested that there may be joint venture in sectors like readymade garments, ICT and pharmaceuticals to expand the relations.
The Minister of Agriculture enquired to know how development in agriculture sector in Bangladesh is contributing to women empowerment in Bangladesh. The Bangladesh Foreign Minister explained that it is due to the targeted approach of the Bangladesh Government, the participation of women in the workforce in the job sectors has increased to 38% from 6%, when the Government had taken power. The South African Minister of Agriculture then underlined the importance of P2P contacts beyond government for strengthening cooperation in agricultural sector. She suggested that technical teams may be formed to cooperate in the areas like microcredit, market excess, trade, skill development and digitalization in agriculture areas. She also suggested the conclusion of Memorandum of Understanding in the agricultural area in near future and establishing contacts betweenAgricultural Councils of the two countries to promote the overall agricultural relations.
The Foreign Minister conveyed the greetings of the birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as well as the 50th anniversary of the Golden Jubilee of the independence of Bangladesh. Dr Momen mentioned that Bangladesh went through a painful history to achieve its independence by making supreme sacrifices. He referred to the support and solidarity of the people of Bangladesh in favour of anti-apartheid movement of the South African people. He particularly mentioned the support extended by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the UN for the South African people in this regard.