Nepal has expressed its interest in importing improved rice varieties from Bangladesh – in a bid to increase rice production using the experience of the country.
"Rice is the staple food of the people of Nepal. But Nepal is not self-sufficient in rice production. Instead, it has to import a lot of rice every year," said Nepalese Ambassador to Bangladesh Dr Banshidhar Mishra.
At a meeting with Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque at the secretariat on Tuesday, he also expressed his interest in signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh for cooperation in agriculture.
"Apart from rice, it is necessary to sign an MoU for Bangladesh's cooperation in various fields of agriculture including: other crops, seeds, improved [crop] varieties, technology, and research," Dr Banshidhar Mishra added.
The Nepalese diplomat lauded Bangladesh saying that the country has made significant progress in rice production.
At the same time, Dr Banshidhar Mishra expressed his interest in the direct export of spices – including ginger and cardamom – to Bangladesh.
"At present, these products come to Bangladesh through India. As a result, prices go up in Bangladesh. In fact, the price would be much lower if the spices came to Bangladesh directly," he explained.
Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque said that there are more than 100 improved rice varieties and technologies in the country.
"Among them, many are of mega varieties. Nepal can take these varieties from Bangladesh. In addition, initiatives will be taken to sign an MoU on agricultural cooperation between the two countries," he said.
Regarding the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), Dr Banshidhar Mishra said that the deal with Nepal will be signed with Bangladesh in the next two months.
"Earlier, Nepal signed a PTA with Bhutan. Bangladesh will be the second country for Nepal to sign the deal with," he added.