- Published on Saturday, 31 August 2013 13:56
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A self-sufficient Bangladesh in food – a long-cherished vision of the party – has been made possible twice by Awami League-led governments under Sheikh Hasina’s leadership. No development is possible with an empty stomach- the party believes this saying and like its previous term, the Awami League-led government has put the highest emphasis on food production during the current term as well.
Despite a capricious climate, agricultural production rose 30 percent higher during the first four years of the government than that during the past government. Bangladesh did not have to import rice in the last two years whereas there was an acute deficit of more than 40 lakh tonnes of food grains in the country before Awami League took office. Now our farmers grow enough food grains not only to meet the existing demand but to put up a formidable stock for the future as well. To further ensure food security, the AL government has allocated Tk 1000 crore as subsidy. ‘Manga’- a much feared seasonal food crisis phenomenon of the north is now a history; thanks to the effective steps taken by the current government.
As for the farmers, the government has ensured that they can avail seeds, fertilizers and pesticides at reasonable prices and without hassles. Nearly 1.40 crores Agricultural Input Assistance Cards have been distributed in last 4 years by the Awami League government to help farmers avail free agro-inputs distribution benefits. Opening bank accounts has been made easier for farmers and now they can open an account by depositing only 10 taka. The Awami League government has provided loans to 1 crore farmers on minimal interest rates. Thanks to the relentless efforts of the Awami League government, Bangladesh produced record 33,889,000 metric tonnes of rice in 2011-2012 fiscal year.
To sustain the self-sufficiency in food, the AL government has taken an 8-year action plan (2008-2015). 7.7 million families have been provided with VGF, GR and OMS facilities. With the patronization of the government, the agronomists of our country have so far invented around five hundred high yielding varieties of crops including paddy, wheat, different pulses and vegetables that can grow in adverse climate situations.
During the current government’s rule, Bangladesh achieved the MDG target of halving the incidence of hunger well ahead of the target year 2015. To hail this feat, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) invited the Prime Minister to receive a “Diploma Award”.
Despite earning all these feathers in the crown, the Awami League government believes it has much more to achieve -- for progress never stops.