BIMSTEC connectivity for food security

BIMSTEC connectivity for food security

SAM Report,


Connectivity and infrastructure development received the utmost importance at the meeting of the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) member countries in Thimphu, the Bhutanese capital. Experts at the meeting highlighted that connectivity as well as a long-term plan is essential to achieve food security.

BIMSTEC is an international organization involving Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.

The two-day meeting ended on Friday, emphasizing regional connectivity although the main focus lay on issues related to agriculture. Governments in the region were urged to accelerate investments in connectivity and infrastructure in South Asia.

With 12 percent of the region’s population or 490 million people being undernourished, most of them located in South Asia, the region is faced with an alarming situation.

Nearly one out of three children suffers from stunting, which results in severe, irreversible consequences on both physical health and cognitive function. With more than 60 percent of the world’s hungry living in the Asia-Pacific, the slower progress in the region has led to high global numbers of the chronically hungry, experts said.

Sumith Nakandala, the BIMSTEC secretary general, said, “Asia’s importance for food markets is becoming amplified by higher economic growth in Asian economies, which will have an impact on both the composition and the level of food consumption.”

Despite unprecedented technological advancements, the agriculture sector in BIMSTEC countries faces uncertainty. Climate change and reduction of cultivable land area are the foremost hindrances.

When the BIMSTEC leaders met in Goa, India in October 2016, they reiterated their commitment to sustainable agriculture and food security and agreed to deepen cooperation in the agriculture sector, including crops, livestock and horticulture as well as to intensify cooperative efforts towards increased productivity and yields of agricultural produce in the region.

The next meeting of the grouping will be held in Thailand next year.