Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today reiterated her call to work together in growing more food bringing every inch of lands under cultivation to protect Bangladesh from the possible global famine or food crisis against the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine war.
"I again request you all not to waste food and increase food production. Bring every inch of lands under cultivation. Protect Bangladesh from possible global famine and food deficit-like situations. I believe it is definitely possible with efforts from all," she said, reports BSS.
The prime minister was addressing a function marking the World Food Day-2022 organised by the Agriculture Ministry at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the capital.
Joining virtually the programme from her official Ganabhaban residence here, she also said the international organisations have forecasted that the world is going to face famine and food crisis in the days to come.
"We all have to be alert from now on as no food deficit is seen in our country. ---there are a lot of lands of the government and private orginsations. Cultivate food grains whatever you can including vegetables, fruits and others utilising every inch of abandoned lands," she said.
The prime minister said if all the people have attention on producing food, Bangladesh would not face any food crisis, although the world might be hit hard by the famine.
In that case, she said Bangladesh would be able to extend its helping hands to the possible famine-hit countries by giving food assistance.
The premier reminded all that the Russia-Ukraine war has disrupted the food supply chain and transportation system that is skyrocketing the prices of food globally.
Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder, Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim and Chairman of the Agriculture Ministry's Parliamentary Standing Committee and former agriculture minister Begum Matia Chowdhury addressed the function.
Agriculture Secretary Md Sayedul Islam gave the address of welcome.
A video documentary on the World Food Day and the government's efforts for the development of agriculture sector was screened at the function.
The World Food Day-2022 was observed on Sunday in the country as elsewhere in the world.
This year's theme of the day was "Kauke Poshchatey Rekhey Noy-Valo Uthpadoney Uttom Pushti, Surokkhito Poribesh Abong Unnoto Jibon".
Sheikh Hasina said her government is working tirelessly to come out from the dependency on importing foods such as edible oil, maize and wheat.
She also stressed the need for proper preserving the produced food particularly the perishable agri-products and establishing food processing industries in the 100 special economic zones being set up across the country.
The prime minister said once Bangladesh had to import onion, but now, the country has grown it on its own, adding that they are now concentrating on becoming self-reliant in producing edible oil.
She said her government's top priority is to ensure food security alongside nutrition as a balanced diet can help develop good health with sound mind necessary to build worthy citizens who would contribute immensely to the country's overall development.
The premier said her government has given priority on research since assuming power in 1996 following the footsteps of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
She added that Bangladesh became self-reliant in food production from a deficit of 40 lakh metric tonnes of rice during the BNP-Jamaat alliance government.
The Awami League (AL) government has brought 80,000 hector abandoned lands under the cultivation process, she said.
Bangladesh has got flood, drought and saline tolerant paddy and several hundreds of improved and quality seeds of various food grains due to the research, she said.
The prime minister however criticised the then BNP government's policy of begging to survive instead of making Bangladesh a self-reliant country in food on the plea of getting no food assistance from abroad.
She said Bangabandhu had allocated Tk 101 crore in the first budget of Tk 500 crore of independent Bangladesh, attaching the topmost priority on agriculture.
The Father of the Nation had also called for the second revolution to increase food production by mechanising the agricultural system and thus make Bangladesh a developed and prosperous country and gave its people a better and improved life, she continued.
Being inspired by Bangabandhu, the prime minister said her government is working on six thematic areas such as agriculture research and development, supplying agricultural inputs, expansion of agriculture, economical use of water in cultivation, facing the climate change effect and enhancing institutional capacity and human resources development to ensure food and nutrition security.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has taken various measures that included enacting laws, establishing food testing laboratories, observing national safe food day, introducing instant screening system and engaging mobile courts to ensure safe food to the countrymen.
She said her government has ensured use of digital technologies in the agriculture so the farmers can easily get information regarding their problems through "Krishi Batayan" "Krishak Bondhu Phone Seba (3331)", Krishoker Janala, Krishi Call Centre (16123) using the advantage being a Digital Bangladesh.
Around two crore farmers have got the agriculture cards to get subsidy from the government directly in their bank accounts, she said, adding that one crore farmers have opened their bank accounts with Tk 10 only.
The prime minister said her government is relentlessly working to transform Bangladesh into a developed and prosperous country for which Bangabandhu had dedicated his entire life.