Sheikh Hasina says Bangladesh is now fourth in the world in rice production, third in both vegetable and fish production, eighth in potato and seventh in mango production
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked agriculturists to pay special attention so that Bangladesh does not need to beg for food in future as the country has become self-reliant.
“We want Bangladesh’s march forward to continue and we don’t want to move with a begging hand,” she said while opening the 6th National Convention of the Krishibid Institution Bangladesh in Dhaka.
Hasina said Bangladesh has achieved self-reliance in food but “our government and the Awami League’s policy is that we will become self-reliant in all sectors.”
“We will not beg of anybody (in line with our policy) … So, I would like to request the agriculturists to give special focus so that Bangladesh no more needs to beg for food,” she said.
The prime minister said the BNP government pursued a policy to remain dependent on others and that was why they always wanted to bring food aid from abroad.
Hasina also urged the agriculturists to work with utmost sincerity to materialize Bangabandhu’s dream of a hunger and poverty-free Bangladesh.
She said the agriculture sector is one of the main driving forces of Bangladesh’s economic development and advised the agriculturists to work for producing more food grains from limited land and pay more attention to food processing.
Hasina said Bangladesh is now fourth in the world in rice production, third in both vegetable and fish production, eighth in potato and seventh in mango production.
“We are going to become self-reliant in meat and egg production and this development has been possible due to coordinated effort of agri-research, inputs supply and expansion and service sectors,” she said.
The prime minister said special focus will have to be paidin processing agri-products to further strengthen the country’s economy.
“We’ll produce more food grain and process the food which have huge demands at home and abroad. We want to earn more foreign currencies by exporting food and thus strengthen our economy … we’re working towards this goal,” she said.
Hasina said the government has started construction of modern silos and food go-downs to keep stock of food of 2-2.2 million tons or for 2-3 years so that the country does not need to beg of others for food.
She recalled that the government brought the price of non-urea fertilizers within the reach of the farmers in its first cabinet meeting. Fertilizer prices were cut twice later. The agriculture sector has also received a huge amount of subsidy.
She said collateral-free agri-loans are being disbursed to sharecroppers at a nominal interest rate and agriculture assistance cards were distributed among the farmers and allowing them to open bank accounts at only Tk10.
As a result of the initiatives, Bangladesh has now achieved an unprecedented success in producing agri-products. “The total food grain (rice, wheat and maize) production has increased to 4.15 crore MT in 2017-2018 from 3.28 crore MT in 2008-2009,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government also given importance to agriculture education and research.“We’ve set up two new agriculture universities alongside 12 science and technology universities,” she said.
Referring to Bangabandhu’s contributions to the development of agriculture, she said: “It was the Father of the Nation who gave class one status to the job of the agriculturists to attract students to agri-education and introduced ‘Bangabandhu Krishi Puroshkar Tahabil’ for contributions to the agriculture sector,” she added.