The pandemic-induced economic slowdown has made us realise again the extent to which agriculture sector has been safeguarding our macroeconomy, said Dr Atiur Rahman, Bangabandhu Chair Professor of Dhaka University and former governor of the Bangladesh Bank.
He was addressing an advisory virtual meeting on Tuesday, organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and chaired by State Minister of Ministry Md Zahid Ahsan Russel, according to a press statement.
"We are surviving because of this sector. Agriculture is delivering positive outcomes for the non-farm sector too. And consequently, the domestic market remains vibrant. Hence, agriculture will be the main driving force of the post-pandemic economic recovery," Dr Atiur Rahman said, according to the statement.
Top level officials from the relevant ministries and departments, along with agri-entrepreneurs, commercial bank officials and representatives of different media houses, also participated in the discussion, it read.
Shykh Seraj, an eminent media personality and founder director of Channel i – a private television channel, was also present at the meeting.
Zahid Ahsan said his ministry was prioritising development of young entrepreneurs with the aim of creating employment and to attain the government's goal of poverty reduction.
"To attain these goals, the Ministry of Youth and Sports is taking up different innovative initiatives related to preserving farmer interests, producing safe crops, reaching the customers with safe food, developing young entrepreneurs, and youth branding," he said.
Dr Atiur, in his remarks, also said if safe food can be delivered to the customers using digital platforms and if proper branding is ensured, attaining success should not be too difficult.
"And easing business regulations will be the best stimulus for the entrepreneurs," he opined.
He brought up the credit guarantee scheme undertaken by the Bangladesh Bank to ensure finance for small and medium enterprises.
He inferred that if all stakeholders work coherently, overcoming the financing challenge would be easy.
"Bangabandhu [Sheikh Mujibur Rahman], being a pragmatic leader, believed in 'learning by doing', and the agri-entrepreneurs and the policymakers must follow his philosophy to attain their goals," added the former governor.