Bangladesh to explore agricultural farming in African countries

A farmer plows his field in Uganda as his son helps guide the team. The land is rich but lack of water is always a concern.

Bangladesh is actively exploring opportunities to engage in arable farming in several African nations as a strategic move to supplement its food supply and generate employment opportunities. The focus is on cultivating key staples and cash crops such as rice, wheat, cotton, coffee, maize, and onions.

The concept of contract farming in African countries has been under consideration since 2016. However, progress so far has been minimal, leaving significant untapped potential. A senior official from Bangladesh’s foreign ministry recently highlighted the country’s dependency on imports to fulfill its grain demands and the need to explore new avenues for job creation.

A breakthrough has been achieved with Uganda agreeing to allocate 20,000 hectares of land for Bangladeshi entrepreneurs to engage in contract farming. This venture is expected to pave the way for employing over 4 million Bangladeshis in the agricultural sector across African nations such as Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, and Gambia by 2027. Furthermore, Kenya has expressed its willingness to lease 1,000 acres of land to Bangladeshi firms for cotton cultivation, signaling a growing interest in bilateral agricultural collaboration.

The move to invest in African agriculture is not unique to Bangladesh, with countries like Pakistan, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia already establishing their presence in the sector. Despite the competition, Bangladesh’s entry into this realm is seen as a critical step towards securing its food sovereignty and expanding its global footprint in agricultural outsourcing.

Experts believe that the decline in workforce recruitment in Middle Eastern countries positions contract farming as a viable option for Bangladesh to offer substantial overseas employment opportunities. This strategic pivot towards agricultural investments in Africa represents Bangladesh’s broader vision to harness international partnerships in securing its food and employment objectives in the face of global economic shifts.

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