Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sought people’s cooperation to ensure economic freedom for the citizens of Bangladesh.
“We will protect the country from poverty. We want your cooperation to that end,” Hasina said in her speech at the Bangabandhu National Agriculture Award ceremony held at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium on Monday.
This year, four people were awarded gold medal, seven got silver, and 17 bronze for their contribution to agriculture.
“We want all citizens to enjoy their rights. We want people have a better living standard. We are working towards that,” Hasina said.
“We have done many things in a short while,” she said, mentioning her government’s various development initiatives.
She said the food processing industry was being backed up to boost the rural economy.
Hasina emphasised research in agriculture. “Research is our priority because agricultural extension is not possible without research.”
The Prime Minister said the award was introduced in 1973 to inspire farmers.
After Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s assassination, ‘Bangabandhu’ was dropped from the name of the honour, and the award ceremony, too, became irregular.
Awami League restored its regularity in 1997, a year after coming to power, renaming the medal Bangabandhu National Agriculture Award.
However, ‘Bangabandhu’ was struck off the nomenclature yet again after the BNP-led alliance came to power in 2001.
Elaborating on the government’s agricultural initiatives, the Prime Minister said, “When we took over in 1996, the country was facing a food deficit of four million metric tonnes. We boosted production, and Bangladesh had a food surplus of 2.6 million metric tonnes after five years.
“This time (after assuming power in 2009) we found a three-million-metric-tonne food deficit.” she said.
Hasina said at present TSP was selling at Tk 22, MOP at Tk 15 and DOP at Tk 27. “It is the government’s responsibility to make agricultural components available for farmers. Why should they sacrifice their lives for that?”
The Prime Minister said the government had given Tk 24,000 crore as agricultural subsidy in the last four and a half years, and disbursed Tk 46,000 crore as farming loans.
She said 98 percent of farm loans had been repaid. – bdnews24.com