Saturday, 1 April, 2023

PM’s Initiative at Ganabhaban: An Inspiration for Others

Pranab Kumar Panday

PM’s Initiative at Ganabhaban: An Inspiration for Others
Pranab Kumar Panday

On a recent episode of Shykh Seraj's agricultural development and media show, "Hridoye Mati O Manush," the Prime Minister of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, made an appearance. The prime minister was spotted tending to her crops inside the Ganabhaban on that particular date. The land inside the Ganabhaban is used to cultivate fruit trees and vegetables, as shown in a video interview that has now gone viral online. Her enthusiasm for farming shone through during the conversation. A worldwide economic downturn has resulted from the coronavirus pandemic and the recent war between Russia and Ukraine. Many nations are facing a famine-like situation. The economies of a significant number of nations have tanked. Due to the rising cost of living, people are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their standard of living.
Food shortages were feared at the outset of the corona pandemic. The prime minister has repeatedly encouraged citizens to cultivate fruits and vegetables in their backyards or on the unused or fallow ground adjacent to their houses as a means of dealing with the current crisis. She then encouraged the people of Bangladesh to start small farms in their own yards. The point she was trying to make to the populace was that a decrease in vegetable supply at the market wouldn't affect demand as long as individuals could meet their requirements.
Social distancing was among the most critical mechanisms in fighting the epidemic. As a result, there was a possibility of a decline in agricultural production. If the supply of goods decreases in the market, it is natural that the price of the goods will increase. We all know that human needs are infinite, but resources are limited. The vital issue is how to meet the infinite demands with these limited resources. Considering this, the prime minister always inspires the people to increase farming.
The prime minister has long advocated for an increased emphasis on rooftop farming and rural communities. If rooftop agriculture is expanded further, it will provide for people's basic necessities while also contributing to a more habitable environment. Rooftop farming might help the city's residents get the oxygen they need (especially in Dhaka city).
Bangabandhu is the inspiration for the premier's passion for agriculture. Bangabandhu urged the people of Bangladesh to grow food in their own yards, on fallow ground, and even on their roofs during the 1974 famine. At the same time, Bangabandhu encouraged social forestry through several initiatives and prioritised agriculture and other programs essential to turning war-torn Bangladesh into a golden Bengal. Several initiatives were launched to encourage agricultural and tree planting on both sides of important roads. Bangabandhu planted several species of trees along the roadway that connects the northern and southern parts of the country; many of these are now massive banyan trees. Such trees, on the one hand, add to the scenic value of the route and contribute to a serene atmosphere. Considering agriculture as the backbone of Bangladesh's economy, Bangabandhu prioritised revolutionising the strife-torn country's agricultural sector.
In the same way as her father, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina considered agriculture a key part of Bangladesh's economy and was a leader in helping farmers get subsidies. Due to the various steps taken by her government, revolutionary changes have been achieved in the country's agricultural sector, and Bangladesh has achieved self-sufficiency in food production.
In the past, Bangladesh had to import a significant amount of rice. Nonetheless, due to its near-sufficiency in food grain production, Bangladesh needs to import rice only seldom. To a similar extent, diversifying crop and vegetable production beyond rice has allowed for the satisfaction of the population's demands. Following the prime minister's example, citizens and farmers have turned their attention to growing food in their backyards. Rooftop farming has undergone a revolutionary transformation in rural areas, most notably in Dhaka, and other towns. Many Dhaka city dwellers living in high-rises grow crops on the rooftops. The proliferation of rooftop farms has greatly helped Dhaka's attractive atmosphere. Shykh Seraj has been instrumental in advancing the cause of rooftop farming with the prime minister. Yet, the Dhaka North and South City Corporations, led by the prime minister, have long offered incentives to promote rooftop farming.
In the vast backyard of Ganabhaban, the prime minister farms ducks, chickens, pigeons and cows. Not only does she grow a wide variety of paddy but also vegetables, flowers and fruits. It was reported in the media that on the first day of harvesting onions from the area planted in Ganabhaban soil, about 46 maunds were collected. Onions in the remaining acreage are predicted to exceed 50 maunds. Growing food in this way on the land behind the premier's official house can serve as a wonderful example for the rest of the country. Self-sufficiency may be achieved by farming nearby fallow land for one's own use. Since the country's total output is modest, there will be no undue strain on the market, which is good for keeping commodity prices stable.
Each nation may serve as an inspiration to others if its leader sets a good example. Bangabandhu was at the forefront of every major campaign in Bangladesh from the time of the partition of India in 1947 until independence in 1971 and again after that until 1975. On March 7, 1971, Bangabandhu delivered an address outlining the path to independence for Bangladesh, and on March 26, 1971, he officially declared the country's independence. At his call, the people of Bangladesh were prepared to give their lives.
Sheikh Hasina has also done many wonderful things for the people of Bangladesh since she came to power in 2009 following the elections of 2008. Because of her leadership, Bangladesh is now often regarded as a developmental role model. Sheikh Hasina's message to the people, which she has sought to spread by promoting farming in her official house, is that there is no shame in hard labour. A similar situation may be created by cultivating unused land, which will benefit the individual on the one hand and the state on the other. And thus, the people will look up to Sheikh Hasina and her plans. It is anticipated that the PM's plan would encourage individuals in both rural and urban regions to use unused land surrounding their houses to produce food for themselves and the community.

The writer is a Professor in the Department of Public Administration at the University of Rajshahi