Fertiliser and seed prices will not be raised: Agriculture Minister
The prices of agricultural input products including fertiliser and seed will not be increased to continue the current production volume and ensure food security, said Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque. "Increasing food production at any cost for sustainable food security is the current government’s policy," said the minister while addressing the opening ceremony of an international conference on Food and Nutrition Security. The Bangladesh Agricultural Extension Network (BAEN) and India’s Participatory Rural Development Initiative Society (PRDIS) jointly organised the three-day conference. “Thus, the government will not increase the prices of agricultural products despite the current economic situation. The government will continue subsidising the agriculture sector. We’ll do whatever it takes for sustainable agriculture production,” he said. Read more: Bangladesh to buy fertiliser at lower cost, thanks to declining global price “We had a bumper yield of aman paddy this year. A record amount of food grain is in stock. I can guarantee we won’t have to witness a famine,” he said. He also stated that agricultural extension workers must investigate why new crop varieties and technology take so long to reach farmers.
CPD working with 'political motive': Agri Minister
One of the country's leading think-tanks, the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD), is working with a political motive to bring a particular party to power, Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque said on Monday. “CPD conducts many polls with political motives in mind. They want to bring a particular political party to power and are affiliates of that party,” he said. The AL leader made the remarks while speaking to reporters in the conference room of the Ministry of Agriculture at the secretariat. He questioned the results of CPD's recent survey, 'Corruption Still the Biggest Barrier to Business in Bangladesh,' saying, "People need to know their survey method. Their survey method and objectivity are highly questionable. They are neither sinless nor unbiased." Also read: Business environment in Bangladesh deteriorated in 2022, says CPD He stated that countries such as the United States, Japan, and India experienced negative growth as a result of the Covid pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, and asked, "How does the CPD perceive Bangladesh's positive growth despite this situation?" Abdur Razzak also stated that corruption exists in countries such as the United States and Germany, as well as in Bangladesh. "Khaleda Zia was imprisoned on corruption charges. Corruption has not yet been completely eradicated," he said. During the meeting, the minister discussed increasing agricultural exports and the progress of implementing export roadmaps. He said that two roadmaps were implemented in order to increase agricultural goods and potato exports. He also mentioned that the ministry is working to reduce some barriers, such as banking complications and the allocation of export incentives.
Developed countries must keep food out of the purview of war, sanctions: Agriculture Minister tells Berlin conference
Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque has urged developed countries to keep food and agricultural products out of the purview of war and sanctions. Developed countries should be more responsible and proactive in ensuring global food security, the minister said at the 15th Berlin Agriculture Ministers Conference in Germany on Saturday. Bangladesh is a victim of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, he said, adding that as a result of this war, price of fertilisers has quadrupled, and price of food grains has increased significantly -- impacting food security. “I call upon the developed world to take flexible, unbureaucratic, and fast steps to mitigate this negative impact,” he told the conference. Read more: Dhaka, Abuja agree to explore possibilities in contract farming, cooperation in agro, food processing Highlighting state measures to ensure food security in the future, Razzaque said the current government under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is working to build a developed, sustainable, and climate-tolerant agricultural system, through which food security will be sustainable, nutritious food will be ensured, and farmers will have a better life. Land depletion, population growth, climate change, Covid-19 and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war have become obstacles, he added. “In this situation, I request the developed countries to promptly implement the commitments made in COP26, COP27 and other global forums.” The conference was held on the last day of the four-day (January 18-21) 15th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA), organised by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Agriculture ministers of more than 70 countries and representatives of 10 international organisations participated in this conference. At the conference, it was mentioned that according to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), global hunger is to be eradicated (Zero Hunger) by 2030. But the reality is that the number of people suffering from hunger is increasing day by day. Around 70.2 to 82.8 crore people were affected by hunger in 2021, which is 4.6 crore more than in 2020 and 1.5 crore more than in 2019. Species extinction, Covid-19 and Russia-Ukraine war have added new dimensions to the food crisis. Read more: International community urged to address triple challenge of food, fuel, fertilizer shortages In view of this situation, increasing cooperation to build a crisis-proof, climate-resilient food system, to protect biodiversity, and to build a sustainable global food system were emphasized in the conference. A 'Joint Manifesto' (Communique) titled 'Food System Transformation: A Worldwide Response to Multiple Crises' was also announced by high-level representatives and agriculture ministers of the countries participating in the conference.
Germany to assist with technology to monitor soil: Agriculture Minister
Minister for Agriculture Dr Abdur Razzak said German businesspeople will assist Bangladesh in monitoring the quality of soil through satellite technology to boost agricultural production. He said this after a meeting with the Germany Agriculture Alliance and leading agriculture businesses in Berlin on Friday. The minister said several issues including establishment of Better Life Farming, implementation of global Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) and assistance in agricultural products were discussed at the meeting. He said pilot programmes on the issues will be taken soon in the country. Also Read: Bangladesh, France keen to build partnership in aviation, space, aerospace technology Germany Agriculture Alliance Chairperson Julia Harnal, Managing Director Elina, Global GAP Director Christina Mueller, Deutschland Managing Director Peter Mueller, Additional Secretary to Bangladeshi Agricultural Ministry Md Ruhul Amin Talukdar and Minister for Bangladesh Embassy in Berlin Md Saiful Islam among others were present in the meeting. Besides, Minister Razzak had a bilateral meeting with Canadian Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau.
Broilers chicken not harmful to health: Minister
There is no health risk in eating broiler chicken as it contains antibiotic and heavy metal residues far below the maximum tolerable levels in meat, said Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque on Thursday. Broiler chicken meat, bones and composites mainly contain small amount of two antibiotics (oxytetracycline and doxycycline) and three heavy metals (arsenic, chromium and lead), which is not unusual and is far below the maximum tolerable level, he said referring to a research report. He was speaking at a press conference revealing the outcome of the research on whether there are antibiotics, heavy metals and other elements harmful to human health in broiler chicken meat at the secretariat. Read more: Govt aiming to become self-sufficient in onions: Agriculture Minister He said broiler meat available in supermarkets has lower levels of antibiotics and heavy metals than those in farms and kitchen markets. Campaigns in various newspapers and social media show that broiler meat contains antibiotics, heavy metals and other harmful substances that are harmful to human health. For these kind of misleading information, a misconception has been created among public about broiler meat leading to less consumption of broiler meat, said Razzaque. “As a result, the broiler industry faces a great loss which we have seen during the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020. Consumption of nutritious broiler meat was reduced in the early stages of the disease outbreak," added the minister. If the demand for broilers can be increased, it is possible to increase the production by making full use of the existing farms and infrastructure in the country, said the agriculture minister, urging all to popularise broiler meat among people. So, the broiler chicken market will grow rapidly, the establishment of the poultry meat processing industry will increase, employment will be created and a large amount of foreign exchange will also be earned through exports, he said. Read more: Agriculture minister writes to other ministers to use fallow lands for cultivation "Besides, campaigns and public awareness should be created on the consumption of broiler chicken to build a healthy nation, meet the demand for meat and create employment." Speaking at the press briefing, Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim said the government is trying to modernise the poultry sector and provide government support for its development. “We have also requested NBR (National Board of Revenue) to give duty concession on import of poultry feed.”
Govt to save Tk10,000 cr annually from importing edible oil: Agri Minister
The government of Bangladesh is likely to save Tk 10,000 crore annually from importing oil in the next three years as a revolution is taking place in mustard cultivation, said Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzaque on Sunday (January 08, 2023). “The government has to import 90 percent edible oil from abroad to meet the demand for edible oil. As a result, it has to spend Tk 25,000 crore in a year. In such situation, the government has taken a roadmap to reduce import dependency by producing 50 percent of the demand in the country,” he said. Read: 5% cut in VAT on imported edible oil extended till April 30 Razzaque came up with the information, while talking to reporters after a views-exchange meeting with farmers at Kalaroa upazila in Satkhira district. Honey cultivation has also been increased in the country, he added. On the other hand, the farmers are benefitting by cultivating mustard in their Aman, Boro and barren lands, said the minister. Read: 50 percent edible oil to be produced in country by next 3 years: Agri Minister He also assured people of providing necessary support to ensure fair prices to the mustard growers. Talking about BNP’s movement, Razzaque said “People have no connection with BNP’s movement and BNP cannot topple the government through movement, so there will be no difference to their movement.” Referring to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the minister said ACC is doing its work independently and the government has no control over it. “ACC has established the rule of law by taking action against corruption. So BNP is misguiding people by saying ACC is suppression commission." Read More: TCB to procure 1.65 cr litres of edible oil from local suppliers again.
With or without BNP, election to be held on time: Razzaque
Awami League presidium member and Agriculture Minister Md. Abdur Razzaque has said the next general election will be held on time whether or not BNP participates. “The election will be held 0n time as per the constitution. But we will do everything possible until the last minute to ensure that the BNP participates,” he said, expecting greater clarity on the subject by next September. Razzaque made the remarks on Saturday at the Shaheed Smriti High School reunion and golden jubilee ceremony in Madhupur, Tangail. Read: EC has 'no legal obligation' to bring parties to election “Even without BNP’s participation, the election will be accepted internationally,” he said, adding that a faction of BNP may even participate in the election. "After assessing and examining the election's overall condition, the world community will make a conclusion,” he added. The agriculture minister also stated that the Awami League will always keep the door open for dialogue with the BNP. “Dialogue is the most effective way to solve any problem. The Awami League is always open to dialogue. However, everything should be done in accordance with the constitution,” he said. He claimed that the BNP is attempting to create chaos prior to the 12th JS election and said, “Recurrence of violence like in 2014-15 in the name of protest will be strictly dealt with. No blockade or strike will be allowed.” Read: No new dialogue possible with BNP or any other party: CEC The minister continued by pointing out that the BNP's calls to movement represent repeated failure over the course of the last 14 years. “They will continue to fail and introduce a new program after failing once more this time. This unsuccessful movement will keep happening again,” he said. The BNP and 32 like-minded opposition parties separately announced sit-in programs across the country on January 11 as their next course of action, to press home their 10-point demand, including the resignation of the current government and the formation of a poll-time caretaker government.
'No way' BNP can topple govt through movement: Agriculture Minister
BNP will not be able to topple the government through unconstitutional methods like movement and threat, Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque said on Monday. “There is no way to bring down the current government through unconstitutional way and the government will be changed through election as the next election will be free, fair and neutral. The government will provide all assistance to the Election commission. So if BNP wants to bring down the government they have to participate in the election, he said. The minister revealed this information while talking to reporters after attending a programme, marking World Soil Day, in the city’s Khamarbari area. Read: Don’t trust people who mislead, spread rumours: PM “BNP can’t do anything by holding their December 10 rally and if they do any excess they will be cleaned like Hefazat. Country’s stability will be maintained at any cost,” he said. Referring to the soil of the country, the minister urged the scientists to play a strong role in sustainable soil management. He also urged the authorities concerned of the universities to take the students to the field and teach them practically.
Diplomats’ interference in country’s internal affairs not acceptable: Agri minister
It is not acceptable that the diplomats posted in Bangladesh will interfere in the country’s internal affairs including election, Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque said on Wednesday. “They will be warned. Bangladesh is a sovereign state. It will never bow down to anyone. We must maintain its dignity,” he said while responding to questions from reporters at an event at Mujibnagar Amrakanan, a memorial of the great liberation war, in Meherpur. His remarks came following Japanese Ambassador Ito Naoki’s recent remakes about election in the country. Read more: It’s my strong hope to see free, fair election in Bangladesh: Ambassador Naoki On Monday, Japanese envoy Naoki said he heard about the example of “ballot box stuffing” and some police stuffed the ballot box the previous night which is something he did never hear in any other country. Razzaque said a free and fair election will be held in Bangladesh in the future which will be acceptable to the whole world. Article 126 of the Constitution clearly states that the election will be conducted by the Election Commission assisted by Deputy Commissioners, Superintendents of police and all branches of the government, he added. Read more: Election Bangladesh’s own issue, not foreigners’ concern: Turkish Ambassador Regarding BNP’s movement, he said BNP had waged movement in 2013 and 2014 over election issue. “ They can wage movement if they want, we have come to this stage after dealing with those movements. We will deal with their movement politically in the future as well.”
Govt aiming to become self-sufficient in onions: Agriculture Minister
The government is emphasizing cultivation of onions during summer or the off season for onion self-sufficiency, Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque said on Tuesday. During the peak onion season, the country cultivates enough onions, but due to lack of storage technology, many onions get rotten, the minister said at the Aman paddy harvesting festival and Liberation War memorial centre inauguration in Damurhuda upazila of Chuadanga. “For this, we have to import onions to meet the demand,” he added. The Agriculture Ministry is implementing a roadmap to reduce onion import dependency. And the production of onion has increased by 10 lakh tonnes in the last two years, said Razzaque. Read more: Bangladesh to export onions in 2-3 years: Agricultural Minister “We also focus on off season or summer onion cultivation. It has many possibilities.” Self-sufficiency can be achieved through summer onion cultivation, said the minister. He also said farmers are being provided all the support including seeds, fertilisers and technology in this regard. Besides, the country has enough food in stock. There will be no crisis of food in Bangladesh, and no famine if no major natural disaster occurs, he said, expecting bumper yield of Aman paddy in the upcoming season. Read more: Instability in onion price as import declines through Hili land port “The current government is working tirelessly to make agriculture profitable. Instead of cultivating only paddy and jute, high value crops and fruits should be cultivated, only then agriculture will be profitable.” Regarding imports of agricultural machinery, Razzaque said, “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is working on agricultural mechanisation. The implementation of the project of Tk 3000 crore is underway.” He also urged the country’s industrialists to come forward and invest in producing agricultural machinery. “Then import dependency on agricultural machinery will be reduced,” he added.