‘Instructions had been given to not allow the import of onions or tomatoes from across the border when farmers harvested the homegrown crops,’ says the agriculture minister
Steps are underway to move quickly from subsistence agriculture to commercial farming with the aim of making agriculture profitable for farmers.
"We want to make farming profitable for growers and commercialize agriculture in Bangladesh," said Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque on Wednesday.
The minister said farmers needed to get fair prices for their produce and food security needed to be ensured.
Speaking at a book launch and discussion in the city, Dr Abdur Razzaque also said instructions had been given to not allow the import of onions or tomatoes from across the border when farmers harvested the homegrown crops.
“Farmers should not get poor prices for the crops during the peak season,” he added.
The Forum for Information Dissemination on Agriculture (FIDA) and Syngenta Bangladesh jointly organised the event at the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC).
BARC Executive Chairman Dr Shaikh Mohammad Bokhtiar, FIDA President Reaz Ahmad, Syngenta Bangladesh Managing Director AMM Golam Towhid and high officials of agricultural research institutions spoke at the program.
The minister and other guests formally launched a book, titled “Farm Sector of Bangladesh: Prospects and Challenges.” The book is the 9th in a series brought out under a FIDA-Syngenta joint initiative.
The latest edition features 14 articles written by journalists focusing on a wide range of issues from agrobiotech to the impact of climate change, and safe food to the fallout of excessive pesticide use.
Dr Razzaque emphasised farm mechanization and said his ministry was exploring opportunities so that farm machine manufacturing plants could be set up in Bangladesh.
He said one of the main targets was to bring down production costs and create a conducive environment where the private sector could get more involved, commercial farming got a boost and farmers made reasonably good profits.
BARC Executive Chairman Dr Shaikh Mohammad Bokhtiar attached importance to promoting biofortified crops and frontier research in agriculture to reduce import dependency.
Delivering the keynote presentation, FIDA President Reaz Ahmad emphasised the mobilization of more resources in agriculture research, development and release of biotech-derived crops, development of climate-smart stress tolerant crops, and necessary policy support for fisheries and livestock.
Syngenta Bangladesh Limited Managing Director AMM Golam Towhid sought policy interventions in busting the clandestine plants that manufacture and market counterfeit agricultural inputs.
Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) Chairman Dr Amitabh Sarkar, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) Director General Dr Nazirul Islam, Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM) Director General Mohammad Yusuf, Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) Director AKM Monirul Alam, FIDA General Secretary Salahuddin Bablu, its ex-President Kawser Rahman, HarvestPlus Bangladesh country head Dr Khairul Bashar and ex-DG of DAE Dr Hamidur Rahman, also spoke, among others.