Agriculture Secretary Md Sayedul Islam on Friday stressed the need to highlight the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) as the orchard of Bangladesh.
“Cold storages need to be built to preserve the fruits grown in the CHT. Besides, the number of collection centres needs to be increased to collect and store fruits coming from the remote parts of the region,” Sayedul said.
He made the remarks during a views-exchange meeting with agricultural scientists from Chattogram and the three hill districts that comprise the CHT region, at the conference room of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in Bandarban.
Speaking as the chief guest, Sayedul pointed out various measures that need to be taken in order to boost fruit production in the CHT.
“The agricultural loan at 4 percent interest rate announced by the government needs to be ensured. State-of-the-art technologies must be used to enhance the irrigation system. Most importantly, participation of educated people is necessary for a technology and knowledge-based agricultural system,” Sayedul said.
The secretary claimed that no other country in the world provides as much subsidy as Bangladesh in the agricultural sector.
“The government provides subsidies worth Tk 30,000 crore every year to the agricultural sector, an amount equal to the total cost of the Padma Bridge. The government is doing it for the sake of making the nation food-sufficient,” Sayedul added.
Sayedul also said that focus should be given on fruit production rather than rice production in the CHT.
“Rice is produced in most parts of the country, so we need to use CHT to grow various fruits that we have to import from other countries. The fruits grown in the CHT have the potential for export. That’s why our concern has to be ramping up fruit production in this area,” Sayedul said.