Agriculture Minister Dr. Abdur Razzaque urged Bangladeshi businesses to invest more in packaged food and promote the country’s agro products in international market.
He laid emphasis on promoting the country’s global branding and ensuring profitability on the farmers’ end.
He came up with the remarks while addressing a meeting of the International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) as the chief guest on Thursday.
IBFB organized the webinar titled “Dream of Bangabandhu: Agricultural Development in Bangladesh in the Last Five Decades.”
Agriculture minister said Bangladesh “ensures food for its 160 million people during this pandemic situation through leveraging the cultivable land which is around 61 percent of total plain area.”
“We have a limited amount of land. We need to focus on diversification in food cultivation,” Razzaque said.
“For example, the salinity is a big challenge for cultivating rice in the southern belt of the country.”
He urged the farmers to choose profitable products irrespective of geographical locations.
Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University vice chancellor Prof Shahidur Rashid Bhuiyan was the special gues.
University of Global Village vice chancellor Prof Dr Jahangir Alam Khan made the keynote presentation.
Prof Shahidur Rashid Bhuiyan said, “The country lags behind in productivity per hector land comparing China, Japan or Vietnam.”
“There is no option to increase productivity without genetic research on food and other agriculture items,” Prof Shahidur said.
He said, “We are working to establish a genetic research institute in support of Agriculture Ministry.”
“No country can advance in agriculture without cross-border cooperation in the field of research and development,” he added.
In presentation, Dr Jahangir Alam Khan said “The contribution of agriculture has declined in gross domestic product in the last five decades.”
He said, “Bangabandhu has focused on agricultural development in the post-liberation Bangladesh to restore the economy.”
“He allocated 31 percent of the total outlay for agriculture and rural development during the first Five-Year Plan apart from announcing waiver on land tax for farmers,” said Dr Jahangir.
Former chief of army staff M Harun-Ar-Rashid, also an agro entrepreneur, proposed the implementation of crop insurance countrywide as the farmers become helpless during calamities.
ACI Agro Business managing director FH Ansary said, “The country has to connect the knowledge of graduates in agriculture to the field level experience of farmers to get maximum result in any initiative.”
Former National Board of Revenue (NBR) chairman Dr Abdul Mazid Khan, IBFB vice presidents MS Siddiqui and Lutfunnisa Saudia Khan also spoke on the occasion.