DHAKA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday suggested giving “extra number” to the students for receiving practical education on agriculture so none can undermine agriculture work.
“I think the students of schools, colleges and universities should be taken to farmlands for imparting practical education to them on agriculture and if needed, they should be given extra number so that nobody looks down on agriculture work,” she said.
The Premier also said the students should know how the agri products are grown. “They would always consume good things sitting on the houses, but don’t know from where the things come-it’s not justified. ..if it continues, they would one day say that Dhan Gachhe Takta Hoi (wood is made from paddy),” she said.
Sheikh Hasina, also the Awami League president, came up the suggestion while addressing a discussion as the chief guest at Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh (KIB) at Farmgate in the capital this afternoon.
Bangladesh Krishak League (BKL) arranged the discussion on the occasion of its 44th founding anniversary where Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury was present as the special guest.
AL General Secretary and Public Administration Minister Syed Ashraful Islam, Joint Secretary Mahbub-ul Alam Hanif and BKL General Secretary Advocate Shamsul Haque Reza also spoke at the function, chaired by BKL President Motahar Hossain Mollah.
At the outset of the function, a minute’s silence was observed as a mark of profound respect to the memories of Bangabandhu, four national leaders as well as framers who laid down their lives in the movement for fertilizers during the BNP-Jamaat rule.
Earlier, Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the 44th founding anniversary of the BKL by releasing pigeons and balloons.
Calling for giving the highest honour to the farmers, who rid the people of hunger by producing food, the Prime Minister lamented that children of the peasants, on many occasions, feel shame while giving identity of their fathers.
She said the children of the farmers many times forget that they received education and got big jobs as their fathers worked in the field. “They should not be ashamed of giving “salam” to their fathers by touching their feet filled with mud. Rather they should honour their fathers who grow products that keep the people alive,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the people know how big the hunger pang is and the farmers remove that suffering. “So they should be held in high esteem,” she said.
Coming down heavily on the past BNP-Jamaat government for not giving proper attention to the agriculture sector, she said subsidy and assistance were nor provided for the framers at that time.
They had almost shut down the BADC as they had no plan for development of agriculture, she said. “How will they (BNP-Jamaat) amass wealth by doing trade if food production is boosted,” she added.
The Prime Minister recalled the tragic incident of 1995 during the BNP government that claimed the lives of 18 farmers during a protest against widespread corruption in distributing agricultural inputs, including fertilizers.
“Eighteen farmers were killed for demanding fertilizers, while 17 workers were murdered in the month of Ramadan while realizing their legitimate wages during the BNP rule… playing ducks and drakes with fate of the peasants was their work,” she said.
Describing Bangladesh Awami League as a farmer-friendly and agri-friendly government, she said her government in 1996-2001 tenure took a multipurpose plan for boosting food production. “We achieved sufficiency in food in 1996-2001 tenure, but later the BNP-Jamaat government again made Bangladesh a food-deficit country,” Sheikh Hasina added.
She said the Awami League government in last seven years has taken various pragmatic steps to ensure landmark development of farmers and agricultural sector by providing fertilizers, seeds and machinery at subsidized rates.
“It’s our responsibility to ensure food security by increasing food production in the country,” she said.
Spelling out her government’s various steps for the development of the agriculture sector, the Prime Minister said her administration is always ready to provide all kinds of assistance for the farmers.
In this connection, Sheikh Hasina directed leaders to go to rural areas to project the government’s stance on giving allout support for the farmers alongside further strengthening the organization.
Soon after the independence of the country, she said, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman founded Bangladesh Krishak League on April 19, 1972 with a view to ensuring the development of agriculture and improving living standard of the farmers.
With a call not to establish industries here and there, the Prime Minister categorically said her government would not allow anyone to set up industries indiscriminately destroying cultivable lands and forests.
Rather, the government is setting up 100 special economic zones across the country and industries will be set up there, she said adding that the country will surely go for industrialisation, but not excluding the agriculture.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangabandhu first realised that scopes would have to be created for the farmers to ensure food security in the country as well as to change the fate of the poor and distressed people.
Bangabandhu declaring “green revolution” started to give all kinds of assistance to the village farmers, she said adding that the country during that time achieved 7 percent GDP growth for the first time.
But, there was no scope to bring about change in the fate of the masses for long 21 years after 1975 as anti- liberation forces, war criminals and their collaborators had been in power during the time, she added.
Referring to the 1998 deluge in the country, she said many feared that two crore people would die at that time which was proven wrong as her government taking cooperation of all successfully tackled the situation.
She also highlighted various farmers-friendly and agricultural development-based projects, including One House One Farm, alongside continuing allowances for the elderly people, freedom fighters, the disabled and widows.
“Bangladesh is now on a dignified position in terms production of fish, vegetables and other agricultural products and for ensuring food security of the country, Sheikh Hasina said.
The Prime Minister said, despite worldwide economic turmoil, her government has been able to maintain over 6 percent GDP growth for last seven years while it is over 7 percent in the current fiscal though many developed nations were just struggling.
The achievement has been possible due to her government’s appropriate planning, taking steps as per the plan, patriotism and dutifulness towards the people and she differed with some people who termed the achievements as miraculous.
Sheikh Hasina said, the countrymen will live with dignity, stand before the world with heads held high and will not extend hands to beg from others and this is the teaching of the Father of the Nation.
The Prime Minister expressed her firm optimism that Bangladesh would celebrate birth centenary of the Father of the Nation in 2020 and the golden jubilee of country’s independence in 2021 as a higher middle income nation.