Director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Dr Shenggen Fan on Tuesday stressed using biotechnology in agriculture to grow more food grains considering the future demand.
"In the future, we'll need to feed nine billion people. Agricultural biotechnology use, along with the traditional technology, will help increase food production," he told a press conference at Sonargaon Hotel in the capital.
About the biotechnology, specifically genetically modified (GM) crops, Dr Fan said many countries like China and the USA have been using biotechnology in agriculture and have achieved a marked progress in food production.
The adoption of GM crops like Bt Brinjal can help reduce pesticide in Bangladesh's agriculture, he said. "So, we invite so many people, so many countries to adopt the technology."
About the ongoing debate over GM crops, the IFPRI director general said there is a misconception that GM crops benefit the multinational companies, but the reality is that the countries like Bangladesh will be benefited by adopting the GM crops.
Replying to a query, Dr Shenggen Fan said there is no fair evidence that GM crops pose negative impacts on animal health.
Highlighting its achievements, he said Bangladesh has shown a marked progress in food production, women empowerment and other social indicators in the last one decade. "All the social indicators help Bangladesh drive into the right direction."
Despite making its progress in food production, he said, a large number of people in Bangladesh suffer from malnutrition.
"Without addressing hunger and malnutrition, it can’t remove its poverty…I hope Bangladesh has taken the issue seriously," said Dr Fan.
Dr Akhter Ahmed, chief of party of IFPRI’s Bangladesh Policy Support and Strategy Support Programme, said IFPRI will work to expand the cultivation of GM crops like Bt Brinjal and Zinc-rice in Bangladesh over the next four years.
IFPRI organised the press conference before going to organise its workshop on 'Evidence-Based Policy Options for Food and Nutrition Security in Bangladesh' at Sonargaon Hotel on Wednesday.
The objective of the policy workshop is to share research evidence, policy experiences and practical lessons and to generate dialogue to help improve the effectiveness of the current and future agricultural and food security strategies in Bangladesh.