DHAKA:Civil society figures and rights activists yesterday urged political parties to lay enhanced importance on agriculture sector and farmers interests in their election manifestos and set their pledges for good governance in line with the spirit of the country’s 1972 constitution.
“The products that we buy at Taka 50 to 60, are sold by our farmers at only Taka 10. They are being deprived,” film actor and safe road campaigner Ilias Kanchan told the discussion organized by Vision 2021 Forum at the Jatiya Press Club VIP Lounge.
He added ensuring farmers’ right is of crucial importance for national progress as “Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman always spoke about the rights of our farmers in his speeches”.
Vision 2021 Forum organized the “citizens’ dialogue” with a slogan ‘A poverty and discrimination-free Bangladesh being imbued with the Liberation War spirit.’ The dialogue was joined by academics, peoples representatives at grassroots including union parishad chairman, NGO figures while former agriculture ministry secretary Anwar Faruk attended the function as the chief guest.
Vision 2021 president SM Azad Hossain chaired the function while its vice president Shamsun Nahar Aziz Lina presented the keynote paper.
Anwar Faruk said speedy transportation of agricultural products and ubiquitous cold storage facilities remained a major challenge in the agriculture sector alongside dwindling cultivation land.
“Tougher laws to protect agricultural lands have to be enforced . . . establishment of industries in the agricultural lands must not be allowed,” he said.
Lina outlined the Forum’s suggestions based on people’s expectation for the election manifestos saying, “Legal framework to ensure right to food has to be established according to the constitution and human rights proclamation”.
“Agriculture, fisheries, livestock and other food production have to be increased, and their storage, demand and supply should be met to fulfill all citizens’ demand of food and nutrition,” she said.
Lina stressed local resource mobilisation through village-based cooperative bodies and making union parishads effective as “primary development units” and turn them as basic policy making bodies for nationwide development campaign.
“We dream for a Bangladesh where democracy is protected, social justice and rule of law is established, equal rights for men and women, human rights and good governance are ensured, she added.
The speakers also urged to ensure minimum one university and a medical college in all the districts.
Modern medical facilities, nursing service, education and up-gradation of the community clinics in union and upazila level should be ensured, the speakers added.
The government has to provide job facility to every youth and brain drain should be halted, the youth representatives urged.
Ataur Rahman Miton, Country Director, Hunger Free World Bangladesh conducted the citizen dialogue programme.
Vision 2021 Forum Chairman S M Azad Hossain said that the goals based on the people’s demands will be handed over to the political parties so that these may be reflected in their election manifesto and implemented by the future government.