Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday told farmers that they will not be left behind as the government takes Bangladesh towards development and turn it into an industrialised nation.
Farmers are given the highest importance while undertaking any development programme, she said, adding that the main goal of the government is to protect the rights of the farmers because “agriculture keeps us alive”.
“We’ll be developed, we’ll be [an] industrialised [nation] without abandoning our farmers and agriculture [sector]," she said at the 10th national council of Bangladesh Krishak League at the historic Suhrawardy Udyan.
Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader, Sarbavartiyo Kishan Sova General Secretary Atul Kumar Anjan, Krishak League President Motaher Hosain Molla and Secretary Khandaker Shamsul Haque Reza also spoke.
Earlier, the Prime Minister inaugurated the triennial council of Krishak League through hoisting the national flag with national anthem. She also released doves and balloons. She also witnessed a colourful cultural programme.
The Krishak League general secretary read out the organisational report while Office Secretary Nazmul Islam Patwary read out the condolence motion.
Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman formed the Krishak League on April 19, 1972 to supplement government's efforts in developing agriculture and farmers and peasants.
The last council of Bangladesh Krishak League was held on July 19, 2012 where Motaher Hosain Molla and Khandaker Shamsul Haque Reza were elected president and general secretary respectively.
The Prime Minister briefly described various development of the agricultural sector during the tenure of the Awami League government.
She said the government is providing all kind of incentives to the farmers. She particularly mentioned farmers of haor regions, islands and the hill tracts.
"We’re giving incentives depending on the kind of crops that can be grown in these areas," she said.
Hasina said the government is setting up 100 economic zones to stop indiscriminate setting up of industries on arable land.
"None will be allowed to establish industries on arable land where three crops are grown a year. If anyone wants to set up industries, we’ll allot plots for them in these economic zones and provide them all sorts of facilities,” she said.
“We have to save our agricultural land [because] we have to feed our over 160 million population,” the Prime Minister said, noting that the country is now self-sufficient in food production.
She said the government is now focusing on ensuring nutrition for the people.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh is now fourth in sweet water fish and food production and third in vegetable production. She said efforts are being given to improve egg production.
She emphasised processing of the surplus food and its marketing. "We’re giving incentives on the agricultural products so that these could get priority in export," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the contribution of agriculture in the economy is the highest and mentioned that the government wants to mechanise agriculture.
Criticising the attitude of the educated youths who ignore farm works, the Prime Minister said everyone should engage in food grains production.
“There’s nothing shameful if anyone does his/her own job. We’ll produce our own food with our own hands,” she said, asking the Krishak League to play a role in this connection.
She said the practice of farming with own hands should start from school life. "Everyone has to honour this job. Where will the food and rice come from if we don’t honour this job?" she asked.