by Obaidul Ghani
DHAKA, Aug 12, 2017 (BSS) - Bangladesh has become a 'role model' in the world for increasing crop production significantly in the past few decades, making the country self-reliant for staple food-grains.
The country has also ranked the third in vegetable production and forth in fish production in the world.
Eminent agriculture experts have attributed the striking development to the policy of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, which current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has also been pursuing for years with attaching top priority to the agriculture sector.
In the last 45 years after the liberation, the country's food grain, including paddy production soared to nearly 4 crore metric tons (MT) from the production level of 1.10 crore MT in 1972 while the arable land declined by nearly 30 percent.
The experts said that the contribution of Bangabandhu to the country's agriculture sector was phenomenal. The father of the nation took effective policy measures for modernising agriculture sector, which was saddled with traditional practices. At the same time he took some firm decisions for ensuring farmers fair prices so they can live a decent life. He also upgraded the status of the government officials who work in the field of agriculture.
Referring to a speech of Bangabandhu at a rally on March 25 in 1975, Advocate M Rahmat Ali in an article titled "'Bangabandhur Krishivhabna" mentioned that from the rally Bangabandhu urged the educated people to go to their villages for farming and helping the country produce more crops.
Rahmat Ali, who was close to the father of the nation, wrote that Bangabandhu in his speech said the country would not have any food crisis if we can produce double crop on a same land.
"After the independence, Bangabandhu had taken some major initiatives for the development of the farmers and increasing food production", said Rahmat Ali, a member of the parliamentary standing committee for the LGRD Ministry.
He said to achieve self-sufficiency in food production Bangabandhu had taken improved and short-time cultivation method, supply of quality seed, irrigation, and other agricultural inputs and exempt agricultural credit for marginal farmers, withdraw of certificate cases against them and distribute 'khas' land among landless people.
"Bangabandhu had taken a landmark decision for agriculturists by up grading the status of agriculture diploma holders as first the class gazetted officials," said Prof. Dr Kamaluddin Ahemd, vice-chancellor of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University.
He said the father of the nation also revitalised the agriculture sector by setting up Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council (BARC).
"Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is now taking forward the agriculture sector with effective measures and adequate fiscal allocation to the agriculture sector in line with Bangabandhu's policy," the VC said.
"The grade up of the agricultural diploma holders to first class officials on February 13 in 1973 inspired the agriculturists to work more for the development of the country's agriculture sector," said former director general of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) Dr Jibon Krishna Biswas.
Dr Jahangir Alam, former member director of Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council (BARC), said Bangladesh would never be self-reliant in food if Bangabandhu didn't extend cropping of the high yielding rice verities in the country.
"Bangladesh has so far invented around 70 new high yielding rice varieties and ensured a sustainable position in various agriculture productions including vegetable and fish as Bangabandhu revitalised the agriculture research system and introduced technology based modern agriculture in the country", Alam said.