Dr. Sujit Kumar Biswas
After independence when Bangabandhu took the steering of the country, as many as 85 percent people and more than half of the total national income were dependent on agriculture. Bangabandhu believed that the country's economy will not be strong if due importance is not given to agriculture.
That's why he called for 'Green Revolution' with a slogan 'Country will survive, if farmers survive'.He understood that agriculture will not only provide food for the people, but also will remain as the key source of income for majority of the people for many years to come.
So, he took some epoch-making steps to boost up agricultural production like: rebuilding the war-ravaged agricultural infrastructure, ensuring supply of agricultural equipment, ensuring adequate supply of agri-inputs on emergency basis at free of cost or at concessional rates, cancelling 1.0 million certificate cases for loan default against farmers filed during the Pakistan period, waiving tax up to 25 bighas of land including pending tax of all lands and fixed land ownership ceiling up to highest 100 bighas per family, rehabilitation of more than 22 lakh peasant families,etc.
He gave emphasis on irrigated agriculture because he realized that rain-fed traditional agriculture will not be able to feed the growing population of the country. So, he provided the farmers with 40,000 low lift pumps, 2900 deep tube-wells and 3000 shallow tube-wells at the reduced price. As a result, the quantity of land under irrigation increased by about 30 percent in 1974-75 in comparison to 1968-69.
Alongside enhancing crop productivity with irrigation facilities, 17,616 tonnes of high yielding varieties of paddy, jute and wheat seeds were distributed among the farmers only in 1972. Bangabandhu made arrangements for introduction of the G.K. Irrigation Project in full swing within eight months in 1973.
The revolution in the agriculture that Bangladesh is now witnessing is the outcome of all these steps that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman initiated after the independence and current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been pursuing for years with attaching top priority to the agriculture sector.
The writer is Senior Scientific Officer IWMD, BARI
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