Razzaque says the country has shown remarkable progress in the agriculture sector in the last 50 years
Agriculture Minister Dr Mohammad Abdur Razzaque on Thursday urged people to invest more in the agriculture sector as it is playing an important role in reducing poverty across the country.
“The agriculture sector is one of the key drivers of the growth for the economy of Bangladesh. The GDP stood at around 13% in FY21 due to the contribution of the agricultural sector to the economy. It was also one of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s dreams to make Bangladesh highly developed agriculturally,” the minister added.
The minister urged entrepreneurs to specifically invest more in the agro-processing sector and encouraged them to market the products internationally so that Bangladesh can benefit from higher export earnings.
Razzaque also said the country has shown remarkable progress in the agriculture sector in the last 50 years.
“Now more than 60% of the land is being used to cultivate various types of crops, ensuring our food security,” he added.
“We should try to get our agri-products into chain stores like Walmart and other similar places,” he further said.
The minister also mentioned that the government is providing subsidies on agricultural machinery to help mechanize the sector so crops can be cultivated with more efficiency.
Razzaque made these comments while speaking as the chief guest at a webinar organized by the International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) titled “The Dream of Bangabandhu: Agricultural Development of Bangladesh in the Last Five Decades."
The minister also urged IBFB to organize more events like this and to have dialogues with entrepreneurs to encourage them for new investments in the sector.
At the webinar, experts expressed concern over the “brain drain” of Bangladeshi young talents, and the lack of bright young minds wanting to involve themselves in agriculture as often students opt for other subjects.
This will hamper the growth of the sector in the near future, they said.
Notable experts from the agricultural sector also urged the government to allocate at least 10% of the budget to agricultural research and innovation.
The government has allocated Tk3,020 crore in subsidies for a five-year farm mechanization program, however in reality, a little over Tk200 crore has been channelled in the first year of the program.
In the welcome remarks, MS Siddiqui, legal economist and vice president of IBFB, said: “In order to provide loans to farmers on simple terms and conditions, Bangabandhu established the Bangladesh Krishi Bank.
“He also took measures to distribute khaas lands to the landless farmers of the country. In 1973, he made the arrangements to rehabilitate 2.2 million farmers. In his period, various types of low-lift pumps and deep tube-wells were set up. The farmers were distributed hybrid paddy (IR-8) and wheat seeds which were then brought from the Philippines,” he further said.
Dr Jahangir Alam, the vice-chancellor of the University of Global Village (UGV), presented the keynote paper at the webinar.
Dr Shahidur Rashid Bhuiyan, the vice-chancellor of Sher-e Bangla Agricultural University, and Dr Lutful Hassan, the vice-chancellor of Bangladesh Agricultural University, were also present in the webinar as special guests.
Humayun Rashid, president of IBFB and managing director and CEO of Energypac Power Generation, presided over the ceremony.