Keep up agricultural progress to ensure food security: PM
Putting emphasis on keeping up Bangladesh’s progress in the agriculture sector, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said the government has been providing all sorts of assistance for ensuring food security amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is true that coronavirus is pushing us back a lot. Even then, we’ll have to keep up the progress in the agriculture sector so that our people don’t suffer, at least from food shortage. We’ll have to pay attention to it,” she said.
The Prime Minister said this at the weekly meeting of the Executive Meeting of the National Economic Council (Ecnec).
The Ecnec meeting was held virtually with Prime Minister and Ecnec Chairperson Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
The Prime Minister and Planning Minister MA Mannan joined the meeting from Ganobhaban through a videoconference, while other Ecnec members were connected from NEC Bhaban.
Describing the government’s assistance to the agriculture sector, Hasina said, “We’ve been providing all sorts of assistance so that our food security is not affected.”
She said the government reduced the prices of fertilizers, and has been distributing quality seeds and other agricultural inputs. The government also provided some 2 crore agriculture cards to avail of agricultural inputs and created scope for the farmers to open a bank account at Tk 10. Now more than one crore farmers have such bank accounts.
She said the price of DAP fertilizer was Tk 90 per kilogram during the BNP regime, her government reduced the prices in several phases and now the farmers are getting it actually at Tk 12 per kg.
“If we can keep food in our houses, we may not have so serious problems on other fronts. We’ll be able to overcome (the coronavirus crisis),” said the Prime Minister.
She said leaders and activists of Bangladesh Awami League and its associate bodies –- Chhatra League, Jubo League, Krishak League and Swecchasebak League—stood beside the farmers by joining their paddy harvesting amid the Covid-19. “Joining the harvesting works, many leaders and activists even got infected with Coronavirus and some of them also died.”
“I would like to say that standing beside people is our duty,” said Sheikh Hasina, also the President of Awami League.
Talking about the 2030 sustainable development agenda, the PM said the government will continue pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve the targets which are particularly effective for Bangladesh.
“We’ll have to achieve SDGs as well, particularly that of the 17 goals which are effective for our country. We don’t need to deal with all,” she said.
Hasina said the goals which are effective for Bangladesh have already been incorporated in the 8th Five Year Plan and the government has been working on achieving the goals. “We’ll be able to achieve that (SDGs),” she said.