Reported on: March 01, 2012 15:20 PM
Reported in: National
Gazipur, Mar 1 (UNB) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday urged the agriculture scientists to ensure the optimum use of their talents in research works keeping in mind the interests of farmers and thus give a boost to farm output.
She also called upon the researchers to conduct researches in resolving the problems caused by climate change as it endangered the agriculture sector.
“New flood, drought and saline resistant variety of crops should have to be invented alongside increasing the intensity of crops,” she said while addressing the inauguration of Agriculture Technology Fair 2012 here today.
Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury, parliamentary standing committee chairman on Agriculture Ministry agriculturalist Shawkat Momen Shahjahan, parliamentary standing committee chairman on Land Ministry AKM Mozammel Haque and parliamentary standing committee chairman on Youth and Sports Ministry M Zahid Ahsan Russel spoke on the occasion as special guests. Agriculture Ministry Secretary M Monzur Hossain presided.
Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Sheikh Md Wahid Uz Zaman, Press Secretary to the Prime Minister Abul Kalam Azad, Abdul Mannan, MP, Bangladesh Agriculturists Institution secretary general agriculturalist AFM Bahauddin Nasim were, among others, present on the occasion.
Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (Barc) executive chairman Dr Wais Kabir presented the keynote paper titled ‘Present and Future of Agriculture Research in Bangladesh’.
Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (Bari) director general Dr. M Rafiqul Islam Mondol gave the welcome address and made a presentation on the activities of the BARI while Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) Director General Dr. M Sidul Islam made a presentation on the activities of BRRI.
At the function, the Prime Minister unveiled the cover of a handbook on agriculture technology.
Later, she inaugurated ‘Agriculture Technology Fair 2012’ and visited different stalls. She also planted a sapling of Bari Mango-4 (hybrid) developed by Bari and visited agriculture technology demonstration field.
She said no country can move ahead with the interference and conditions of the donors. “So, we’ll have to keep the wheel of the economy moving as we’ll have to stand on our own feet.”
Mentioning that there is a specific distinction between research and job, she said the satisfaction of any creation is unique. “We want you will ensure maximum utilisation of your talents and make the researches fruitful.”
The premier also urged the researchers to conduct researches on the issues which would be more applicable to Bangladesh as well as give more emphasis on practical researches rather than basic researches.
She recalled that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman established the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (Barc) to create scope for conducting researches in the agriculture sector apart from setting up separate institutes for conducting researches in paddy, jute and fisheries.
Hasina said her government has formulated law to set up 12 science and technology-based universities and upgraded four engineering institutes to universities.
Listing the steps taken by her government to augment agricultural production as well as flourish the sector, she said the government has promoted diversification of agricultural produces. “We’re providing stimulus to the farmers and strengthening the research activities.”
Besides, steps have been taken to expand the techniques of supplementary crops for which the export of agricultural commodities is increasing and the government is also providing cash incentives to the exporters.
The Prime Minister mentioned that when the Awami League government assumed power, there is bumper production of crops as the government provides assistance and gives subsidy to the farmers, industrialists and exporters.
In the last three years, she said, her government provided Tk 17,000 crore in subsidy to fertiliser, electricity and diesel reduced the prices of the non-urea fertilisers in three phases.
The availability of fertilisers at the farmers’ level has already been ensured along with increased production of high quality seeds. Besides, deal has already been inked to establish Saarc Seed Bank.
She said the Bangladesh achieved food autarky when the Awami League government was in power in its previous term and alleged that the agricultural sector again plunged due to severe negligence and callousness of the BNP-Jamaat led government.
“Food production then reduced drastically and the country faced severe food shortages,” she added.
After getting back to power again in 2009, the Prime Minister said, her government had taken a mega plan to boost agricultural production.
She said the government has facilitated the farmers with opening up of bank accounts against Tk 10 as well as agri-input cards. As a result, the agriculture subsidies are directly going to the accounts of the farmers which had also kept the middlemen at bay. She mentioned that rice production in the last year stood at a record 3.36 crore metric tonnes.
In the last years, Hasina said, the government disbursed Tk 12,615 crore as agricultural credit and is providing Tk 13,800 crore in the current year.
Besides, the government is also providing agricultural equipment at subsidised prices apart from excavating canals for improvement of irrigation system, setting up deep and shallow tube-wells.
The Prime Minister also expressed her satisfaction that the Bari has single-handedly innovated around 750 agricultural technologies which is already in operation.