POST TIME: 11 October, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Second country investment plan launched
Ministers see bright future of agriculture sector
Staff Reporter

Ministers see bright future of agriculture sector

There will be no famine in the country if the present flurry of development activities continues in the agricultural sector. Besides, the number of poor people has already gone below 12 per cent of the total population thanks to various poverty-alleviaton measures taken by the government.

Agriculture minister Matia Chowdhury and food minister Qamrul Islam made these remarks while addressing the launching ceremony of "Bangladesh Second Country Investment Plan: Nutrition-Sensitive Food Systems" in the city’s CIRDAP auditorium yesterday.

Fisheries and livestock secretary Raisul Alam Mondal, FAO representative in Bangladesh Robert D. Simpson, European Union (EU) delegation head Mario Ronconi and USAID Bangladesh mission director Derrick Brown also spoke on the occasion. Food secretary Shahabuddin Ahmed chaired the programe.

“Years ago, Bangabandhu had called for a green revolution. The country is now witnessing an agricultural revolution even in the face of climate change and loss of arable land,” Matia Chowdhury said.

The government has introduced agricultural incentives for farmers and agricultural production has increased tremendously, she also said.

“The country will face no famine if the present spree of development activities continue in the agricultural activities. Bangladesh is now self-sufficient in food grain production,” she added.

The agriculture minister said the government has introduced incentives for scientists. These would encourage them develop new rice varieties, she added.

“The nutrition value of minicate rice is very low as this rice is being produced by cutting coarse rice. A strong syndicate is behind producing such rice. The media can play a vital role to create awareness in this regard,” she also said.

According to Qamrul Islam, farmers are now cultivating two to three crops, while they used to cultivate only a single crop even a few years back.

The government has introduced various programes like OMS, VGF and fair price cards to help reduce poverty, the food minister said, adding now the number of ultra poor has gone to below 12 per cent of the population.

At least 30 lakh poor people are now getting rice at Tk. 10 per kg under the government’s fair price programe, he noted.

“Earlier, the food stock capacity was only 16 lakh tonnes at the government level. But it increased to 21 lakh tonnes after the Awami League (AL) came to power. The capacity will be increased to 30 lakh tonnes by 2030,” he said.

The food minister also said that they were working now to ensure safe food and nutrition for the people in keeping with the Prime Minister’s directive. “We'll also introduce Pusti rice for the people. We've already distributed some Pusti rice among poor people on a pilot basis—the programe will continue across the country if the pilot project succeeds,” he added.

He said the government was determined to ensure safe food, nutrition and other basic rights of the people.