Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina with recipients of Bangabandhu National Agriculture Award at Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the city yesterday. -PID
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said people will not suffer from any food crisis as there is enough stock of food grains in the country. "We're hearing the footfall of another flood. Some crops have already got damaged in flashflood but we've enough stock and we're importing more," she said. The prime minister said this while distributing the medals of Bangabandhu National Agriculture Award 1421 and 1422 at Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the city. Citing official data, she said, there are about 1.06 crore metric tons of food grains in stock in the country, including the ones in public silos and private, mills and farmers levels.
"Above all, we're importing more food grains to make the stock stronger, we're importing foods from various countries spending cash," Hasina said. The prime minister said the government is doing this so that the country's people must not suffer because of flood. "We've already done that."
Besides, she said, the government has reduced the import duty on food grain import from 28 percent to 10 percent. Describing various steps taken by her government for developing the agricultural sector, Hasina urged the private sector to supplement the government efforts to expedite the pace of agriculture development. She underscored the need for concerted efforts for packaging and preservation of farm products alongside boosting agricultural production.
The prime minister called upon all to protect the marshy land and water bodies across the country.
Hasina laid emphasis on integrated efforts of all to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 of the United Nations and asked the Agriculture Ministry to remove hunger, ensure food security, develop nutrition and create a sustainable agriculture system. She, however, mentioned that it is quite normal that people have to live on facing various types of natural calamities due to the country's geographical location.
Hasina said her government for the first time allocated Tk 12 crore for the research and development of agriculture. During its second term in 2009, the cabinet at its first meeting reorganized fertilizer distribution system and reduced the prices of fertilizers thrice.
Besides, the farmers are now being encouraged about the use of compost fertilizers to maintain the fertility of land and announced National Compost Agriculture Policy 2016, she said. Hasina said her government is extending all sorts of cooperation for the establishment of agro-based industries in the country. "We can earn foreign currency exporting surplus argo-products after fulfilling the domestic demand."
The prime minister mentioned the use of pesticides has come down significantly as emphasis is being given on integrated pest management program. "Crop zoning maps have been introduced to select crops as per the nature of soil, climate and areas."
She said the government is working to enhance the capability of argo-scientists and fieldworkers who are working hard to bring in a basic change in the country's agriculture system. Laying emphasis on bringing change in food habit to increase the nutrition of people, the prime minister said crop diversification is a must in this regard. "Production of onion, garlic, pulse and species should be increased along with that of rice and wheat."
Hasina said the existing stable condition in agriculture should be maintained through introduction of sustainable agriculture system and there is a huge demand for organic food across the world. "We can earn huge foreign currency taking advantage of this demand."
Earlier, the prime minister distributed 'Bangabandhu National Agriculture Award 1421 and 1422 among the 64 recipients. Ten 10 individuals and organizations received gold medals. The gold medal carries Tk one lakh and a citation each.
Eighteen individuals and organizations received silver medal, which carries Tk 50,000 and a citation, while 36 got bronze medal that carries Tk 25,000 and a citation each. Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury presided over the function. Environment and Forest Minister Anwar Hossain was present as a special guest.
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