Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said the common people are now getting the benefits of her government’s development programmes as it has been able to lower the inflation rate with sustainable GDP growth.
"Bangladesh economy has made a good progress...we’ve been able to lower the inflation rate…it’s now 5.4 to 5.6 percent, and the economy is strong as we’re maintaining 7.78 percent GDP growth. Now the grassroots are getting the benefits," she said.
The Prime Minister was speaking at the 6th National Convention of Krishibid Institution Bangladesh (KIB) its premises in the city.
Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury was present as a special guest at the programme held with KIB President AMM Salehin the chair. KIB Secretary General MdKhairul Alam delivered the welcome speech.
Returning to power in 2009, Sheikh Hasina said, the Awami League government has taken long,-mid,- and short-term programmes to take the country forward. "We’re now marching ahead with the programmes."
She said the government wants to lead the country towards prosperity as Bangladesh is now the third largest vegetable-producing country, while 8th in potato, 7th in mango and third in fish production.
"Our country is now totally self-reliant…now we’ve to go for value addition to our products…we’ve to go for food processing as well," the Prime Minister said.
Hasina said the socioeconomic status of people is improving while the local market is expanding. "We can sell our processed foods within the country as well as export those after fulfilling the local demand and earn foreign exchange."
Hasina said the government has given a special attention to food processing and encourage investment in this sector. "We’ll produce more foods, process those, meet our own local demand and export the surplus ones to fetch foreign currencies."
The Prime Minister said the government has also given importance to research to enhance production. “Through research, the government has improved the production of rice, fish and vegetable. We also decoded the jute genome," she added.
Hasina said the government is providing all-out support to farmers through investing in research and giving all agri-related facilities.
Describing irrigation as the important component of agriculture, she said the government wants to encourage the use of renewable energy for this purpose.
Hasina said she requested the Agriculture Minister to encourage cooperative system for using solar panel in irrigation as its use by a single person is costlier.
The Prime Minister said the Awami League government is in power for the two consecutive times. "If people cast their votes for us, we’ll be in power again, if they don’t we won’t be there in power," she said.
Referring to some natural disasters like floods in the past, Sheikh Hasina said the agriculture sector is first affected by various calamities like early and long-lasting floods, draughts, landslides, tidal upsurge and earthquakes.
Keeping these in mind, she said, the government has been developing modern food storages and silos in the county to ensure up to 22 lakh metric tons of food storage to meet crisis during any crisis.
She sharply criticised the post-75 governments like of Zia, Ershad and Khaleda who never wanted Bangladesh to be self-sufficient in food.
Governments after 1975 violated the agriculture policy framed by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and they never wanted development of the farmers and improvement of the lifestyle of the common people.
They destroyed institutions like BADC for which the country could not achieve desired development in the agriculture sector, she added.
Earlier, the Prime Minister inaugurated the convention by hoisting the national flag and releasing doves and balloons.
President and CEO of IFDC Scot J Angel also spoke on the occasion.