Agriculture & food sovereignty

IMG_1469_IndexOn 06 June 2017. Today in a press conference, 14 rights based citizens’ and farmers organizations protested the inadequate allocation for agriculture in proposed national budget for 2017-18 fiscal year. They demanded at least 20% of the total budget for this sector to ensure food security and climate resilience agriculture. The proposed budget for agriculture is very insufficient and it’s reflecting the government strategic failure in case of long term climate resilient sustainable agriculture to ensure national food security, they opined. The farmers organizations placed some specific demands in this regard, such as: i) Budget allocation for agriculture must be increased specially to fight climate change impacts that ensure sustainable food security, ii) Subsidies will have to increase with effective manner and commensurate with current context of global competitiveness and to save marginal farmers, iii) Government must take necessary initiative to ensure fair price of agriculture product through formation of national Price Commission, iv) Impose ban on so-called hi-breed and GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) seeds and v) Introduce agriculture education for farmers that can facilitate them to practical knowledge for climate adaptive agriculture.

The press conference titled “Effective budgetary allocation must be ensured for climate resilient agriculture” was moderated by Mustafa Kamal Akand, Assistant Director of COAST Trust and key note was presented by Syed Aminul Hoque, Secretary of EquityBD. Among others Mr. Badrul Alam, President Bangladesh Krishak Federation, Zayed Iqbal Khan, president of Bangladesh Krishak Federation (Ji) also spoke at the press conference.

Syed Aminul Hoque said, there are clear confusion between the sympathy to the agriculture shown by the Finance Minister and the allocation he has made for the sector. The budget speech recognizes that, our economy depends on agriculture and 45% of our population depend on this sector for their livelihood. For the livelihood of 45% of the population, only 3.4% of the total budget has been allocated. In ADB it is only 1.2%! This type of inadequate allocation is suicidal for our food security. Reducing subsidies makes our marginal farmers vulnerable and falling into hardship condition to survive in global competition. He demanded effective policies for fair access to subsidies for the marginal farmers.

Mr. Badrul Alam said, our population is increasing and the agriculture growth rate is decreasing. Government is talking about increasing production by providing good quality seeds to the farmers. But allocation for the BADC does not reflect such plan of the government. Badrul Alam Said, the budget speech opts for imposing tax on rice import to ensure fair price for the farmers. But this is not enough, to ensure fair price the process and iliy of rice collection form farmers must be changed. Rice must be collected when it is with farmers hand. A national fair Price Commission is must to ensure just oroce of farmers’ production. Zayed Iqbal Khan Said, to save our agriculture we need to save the land. In every year about 10 lakh people are losing their almost everything due to river erosion. We demand special allocation in proposed national budget for protection of farmers from river erosion, tidal surge and sea level rise.
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IMG_0938_IndexDhaka, 21 May 2017. Today 14 rights based citizens’ and farmers’ organizations demanded 20% of the upcoming national budget for agriculture. They also opined that, reducing agriculture subsidy based on the prescription of the WTO, IMF and others will be suicidal towards achieving self-reliance on food and in ensuring food security. They also placed 7 specific demands to consider in the upcoming budget form a press conference held in the National Press Club today. Some key demands are i) Allocation for agriculture should be at least 20% of the total budget. ii) Subsidy for agriculture must be increased, effective utilization of that subsidy must be ensured. iii). National Price Commission is a must to ensure just price for farmers. iv). Ban of import of harmful foreign seeds and promotion of local seeds, and v) Special attention to bring back the golden era of jute.

The press conference titled, “We demand 20% of the budget for agriculture: Reducing Subsidy for Agriculture will be Suicidal for National Food Security” was moderated by Mustafa Kamal Akand, Assistant Director of COAST Trust. Among others Syed Aminul Haque, Secretary of EquityBD, Badrul Alam, President Bangladesh Krishak Federation, Sajeda Begum, President of Kendriy Krishak Moitri, Zayed Iqbal Khan, president of Bangladesh Krishak Federation (Ji) also spoke at the occasion. On behalf of the organizers, Md Mujibul Haque Munir, Assistant Director of COAST Trust presented the group’s position paper.

In the position paper, Md. Mujibul Haque Said, more than 50% of the total populations of Bangladesh depend on agriculture for livelihood, about 45% of total labour force are engaged in this sector. But the growth rate of agriculture is declining almost every year. In 2010, the growth rate was 6.5% and it is 2,6% in 2016. Rapid shrinkage of agricultural land (1% per year) and rapid urbanization (12% in each year) are making the sector vulnerable. So, to make Bangladesh self-reliance in food allocation for agriculture must be increased proportionately. But allocation for agriculture in the national budget is declining on a regular basis. Allocation for agriculture in current budget is only 4.30% of the total budget. Last year budget for the agriculture ministry was 5.12%. So, agriculture gets 0.82% lower allocation compared to the previous year budget. This trend must be changed. About 20% of the total budget should be allocated for agriculture.

Syed Aminul Haque said, WTO, IMF and other international agencies are forcing to reduce the subsidy in agriculture. According to WTO Nairobi decision developing countries will remove subsidies within 2023, Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and net food-importing countries will do that within 2030. It means countries like Bangladesh has to stop all its supports towards agriculture. Exporting rice is a very dangerous decision for Bangladesh. If rice is considered as an export item, Bangladesh will not be allowed to provide subsidy even in rice cultivation which will be very much suicidal for us.

Badrul Alam Said, we demand Just Price Commission to ensure just and fair price of the farmers’ production. Farmers are not getting just price of the products due to faulty market mechanism. Middlemen are capturing all the benefits of the hard work of marginal farmers. The time of the paddy collection from farmers must be changed.

Zayed Iqbal Khan Said, to save our agriculture we need to save the land. In every year about 10 lakh people are losing their almost everything due to river erosion. We demand special allocation for the protection of farmers from river erosion, tidal surge and sea level rise.

Sajeda Begum said, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries due to climate change. Our farmers must be provided capacity building support so that they can face the challenges of climate change.
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IndexDhaka, 15th June 2016. A group of rights based civil society organizations have termed the proposed allocation for the agriculture sector in the national budget of 2016-17 as inadequate and inefficient. They said, the budget don’t have specific and effective measures to face the national and global challenges of the farmers of Bangladesh. They also demanded a Just Price Commission to ensure just price of the agricultural products. The CSOs representatives were speaking in a seminar held today in the national press club.

The seminar titled “Budget 2016-17:Allocation for the agriculture and future food security’ was jointly organized by Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL), Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD), Medium Term Cooperation Program (MTCP) and South Asian Association for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE). The seminar chaired by Sharmind Nilormi of CSRL was moderated by Mustafa Kamal Akand of COAST Trust while Md. Mujibul Haque Munir of EquityBd presented the keynote. Among others of Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for the Ministry of Forest and Environment Tipu Sultan MP, Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for the Ministry of Labour Welfare Israfil Alom MP, Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for the Ministry of Social Welfare Monoronjon Shil Gopal MP, Dr. Jahagngir Alam of CSRL, Subal Sorkar of Bangladesh Bhumihin Somity, Zayed Iqbal Khan of Bangladesh Krishak Federation also spoke at the occasion.

In his key note presentation, Md Mujibul Haque Munir said, allocation for the ministry of agriculture in the budget of 2015-16 was the 4.21% of the total budget, while the proposed budget of 2016-17 allocates 4.01%, which is 0.19% lower, While the total is increased by about 29%. Allocation for the ministry of Agriculture in the Annual Development Plan has also been reduced. It was 2.00% in 2015-16 and the new budget proposes only 1.7% of the total ADP. Where against every 1 taka of subsidy farmers can refund about 15 taka to the exchequer, subsidy is once gain remained stagnant, we demand increased subsidy and proper utilization of that.

Dr. Jahangir Alom said, subsidy must reach the farmers directly. Government purchase centers can be at the village level. Subal Sarkar said, for the last couple of years the issue of just price of farmers product has been a huge issue. Rice cultivators are not even get their production cost. The proposed budget has nothing to address the problem.

Tipu Sultan MP said, Bangladesh is losing 1% of its land every year. Farmers of coastal areas are losing their land due to adverse climate. We need strong action to protect agricultural land form commercialization. By using chemical fertilizers and pesticides to increase our production we are actually killing our future. If we can’t stop excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers we will be in serious threats of food insecurity. Israfil Alom MP said, we need modern technologies for agriculture, Many of our farmers don’t have that much capacity to get ensure technologies, we will have to lend our support towards them in this regard. Our farmers are facing problems due to improper marketing mechanism, we will have to reform of marketing system. It should be farmers friendly. Monoronjon Shil Gopal MP said, the rice collection process form the farmers must be reformed. Government should collect rice from farmers instead of paddy. The time of collection should also be revised. Small scale farmers are not getting the benefits of subsidy in agriculture equipment. They should be provided loan with easy interest rate to collect equipment.

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index_photo_32Dhaka, 15th Nov 2014. Today civil society rights group as Peoples’ SAARC Bangladesh Process has demand to the South Asian leaders on the eve of 18th SAARC summit to be held in Kathmandu during 26th to 28th November, to draw a “Charter on free movement for climate induced migrant” under SAARC mechanism in a press conference as organized in national press club Dhaka. The People’s SAARC Bangladesh Group was represented by Bangladesh Poribesh Andoloan (BAPA), Bangladesh Dalit and Excluded Rights Movement (BDERM), Bangladesh Nair Progoti Sangha (BNPS), Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD), Institute of Environment and Development (IED), KHANI Bangladesh, Nagorik Uddoyoge (NU) and Shusanoer Jonny Procharavizan (SUPRO). The press conference was moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akhanda of EquityBD, Chaired by Dr Rashid E Mahbub as chair of the People’s SAARC Bangladesh Group, other speakers are Dr Abdul Matin of BAPA, Zakir Hossain of NU, Sahanaz Sumi of BNPS and Monju Rani Pramanik of SUPRO.

On behalf of the group key note statement presented by Monju Rani Pramanik of SUPRO, the group demanded free movement of climate induced migrants along with this the group has also placed following demands to the SAARC leaders in this relation, (i) to ensure effective cooperation in agriculture sector development as this is still lifeline for major part of people and their livelihood & economic opportunity, (ii) to develop common water management strategies especially connect with Bangladesh, India, Nepal and even China to promote agriculture system and hydro power development thereby benefiting the member countries with equity and justice, (iii) Giving emphasis and expedite the implementation of SAARC Dhaka & Thimphu declaration on climate change as this is serious issue for SAARC all member countries, (iv) to explore appropriate strategies in promoting cross boarder peace, security and employment thereby reducing militarization expenses and redirecting the investment to human development sectors.
Dr. Abdul Matin from BAPA demands to SAARC leaders to explore appropriate strategies to set-side the long pending water issues. He demands the connectivity with rivers that will facilitate the regional navigation among SAARC countries especially between Bangladesh and India. He also demands the govt. preparation on this SAARC summit and must make it to public. Zakir Hossain from NU said there are always dissimilarities between common people aspirations and what officials of SAARC process outline, such an aspiration gaps should be minimized.

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index_34Dhaka, 12th Nov 2014. Today People’s SAARC Bangladesh Process Group has organized a seminar title “Alternative People’s Regionalism, SAARC Challenges in Climate Change and Food Secutiry” in Dhaka Reporters Unity. In the seminar civil society rights groups has criticize SAARC inaction in implementation of SAARC climate change Dhaka (2008) and Thimpu (2010) declarions and urged the SAARC 18th Summit which to be held in Kathmondu during 26th and 27th November, should promote connectivity for human development rather then it is only for the profit. The People’s SAARC Bangladesh Process Group represented by Bangladesh Poribesh Andoloan (BAPA), BERDM , Bangladesh Nari Progoti Sangha (BNPS), Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD), Institute of Environment and Development (IED), Khani Bangldesh, Nagorik Uddoygue and Sushanoer Jonny Procharavizan (SUPRO) has organized the seminar.
The meeting was chaired by Dr Rashid E Mahbub, Chair Bangldesh People SAARC Bangladesh Process, and moderated by its member Rezaul Karim Chowhudry of EquityBD. Dr. Dipu Moni, ex foreign minister and Present Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Ministry has spoken as Chief Guest. Other speakers of the seminar was Sahnaz Sumi of BNPS, Alision Baroi of SUPRO and Gloam Sarwar of Bangladesh Agriculture Farm Labour Federation (BALF). Key note presentations were given by Syed Aminul Haque and Mujibul Haque Munir of EquityBD and Bangladesh Farmers Forum.
Syed Aminul Haque of EquityBD in his key note presentation clarified the concept of alternative regionalism which is to take overarching goal of people welfare, visa free regime and access in employment opportunity and demilitarization to invest in human development across the region. He mentioned that most of the declaration commitement from Dhaka and Thimpu summit on climate change hardly implemented, he urged the SAARC government to form Inter Govemental Expert group on climate change, to establish SAARC climate change fund and also to establish a center for technology development in South Asia. Mujibul Haque Munir in his presentation said that in fact SAARC food bank clauses are ineffective and SAARC seeds bank claues are in favor of private company development in this regard, which should be revisited.
Dr Dipu Moni in her speech agree on the overarching goal for connectivity should be people welfare oriented first, she also express solidarity with the demand of equitable water management, she said that Bangladesh government position in favour region or basin wise water management plan. Dr Mahbub E Rashid Chair of the seminar said regional integrity should have to promoted in fact which will in turn to facilitate basic survival of the regional poor with a secular and pluralist development.

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IndexDhaka, 3 August 2014: Today in a press conference at the National Press Club 12 right based organizations urge the Trade Minister of Bangladesh to strongly stand for the food security of the poor through agriculture price support, public stockpiling of grain and subsidised distribution of food among the poor people before the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) takes over. They also said that along with the G-33 countries India is leading the fight in WTO in favour of the developing and least developed countries and we should support it.

The press conference express solidarity with the garment workers in Hunger Strike until death for their due salary and benefits since the Eid Day. It is expected the government would take action to release all the due salaries in no time.

The press conference titled “Trade Minister to stand for the permanent solution for food security and agriculture raised by India in WTO: Food and Agriculture should out of profit led trade” held in Dhaka today is moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD while Barkat Ullah Maruf reads out the written position paper. The other speakers are Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara Trust, Jibanananda Jayanta of Surokkha O Agragoti Foundation, Shobnom Hafiz of Somaj, Mustafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD and Shibly Anwar of Labour Resource Center.

The joint organizers of the press conference are Online Knowledge Society, EquityBD, Unnayan Dhara Trust, Krishani Shova, Coastal Development Partnership, Jatyio Sromik Jote, Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Bangladesh Krishi Farm Sromik Federation, Bangladesh Vumihin Samity, Somaj, Surokkha O Agragoti Foundation and Humanity Watch.

In the written speech Barkat Ullah Maruf said, if Trade Facilitation Agreement takes place there will be no Duty Free Quota Free (DFQF) market access in the near future. But LDCs like Bangladesh are repeatedly given false pledges of this unreal DFQF in exchange of TFA though these countries and their poor people have no benefit from the TFA. This is how WTO is serving the developed countries and their giant companies.

Jibanananda Jayanta of Surokkha O Agragoti Foundation said in his speech, the famine in 1974 broke out in Bangladesh was solely due to the international food politics that killed several hundred thousand people. He also said, we shouldn’t trust the developed world anymore for they broke their promise every time. In the implementation of the MDGs we achieved several goals but developed countries completely failed to keep their promise of international cooperation for development. So, there is every chance of breaking the promise once their interest of TFA is fulfilled.

Aminur Rasul Babul said in his speech, Bangladesh delegation didn’t support the food security issue raised in the WTO’s 9th Ministerial in Bali for the hope of the DFQF market access for the readymade garments to the developed countries. But we should say that we failed to figure out the importance of the food security and our agricultural rights over the false hope of DFQF.

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury in his speech said, Bangladesh is losing 88 thousand hectors of agricultural land every year due to river erosion, climate change, urbanization and unplanned developments of roads and highways. On the other hand, he said, our population is increasing. We are afraid to imagine how we’ll achieve the food sufficiency for the heavily increased population after 20 years. What if other countries deny selling food grains even if we have enough money? He said, therefore, agriculture and food security is the most important issue for us right now and we should support the Indian call in WTO without any hesitation.

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index_46Dhaka, 11 June 2014: Today in a human chain in front of the national press club in Dhaka 15 national and district level farmers’ organizations led by EquityBD urge for allocating at least 20% of the total budget for agriculture. They also demand for an “Independent Agriculture Price Commission” for ensuring just price of the crops produced by the small and marginalized farmers.
The speakers in the human chain said, the proposed budget of 12,390 Cr Taka for agriculture in the FY 2014-15 is quite inadequate according to the demand and this approach will in fact facilitate and patronize the multinational companies instead of the poor and marginalized farmers of the country. Thus poor and marginal farmers will not be able to compete with the companies in crop production and its price. They will end up being poorer and landless as day laborer.
They also said the following the World Bank and IMF advice, instead of increasing according future demand, our government is decreasing unexpectedly the budgetary allocation in every year for agriculture and neglecting the country’s most important sector. And this is how the government has failed to fulfill their promise of making the country self-sufficient in food by 2012. If this situation continues it will be more and more difficult to achieve the food demand for the increased population by 2021 (according to FAO it will be 180 million people and the food production target will be 47 million ton). Finally it will create more poverty in this country.
Monir Ahmed, president of Central Krishok Moitree Federation, said the proposed budget for agriculture is only 4.95% of the total budget and by percentage it is less than that of last year. On the other hand our neighboring country India has increased their agricultural allocation by 20% over last year and it is 7% of their total budget. Our government should follow this example of India instead of bowing down to IMF and World Bank. Only then our poor and marginalized farmers’ will be benefitted.
Mainuddin Hawladar of Bangladesh Krishok Federation said, our finance minister said that the current policies would be carried on at any cost to strengthen the agriculture sector but unfortunately the allocation for agriculture subsidy is not increased over the last year’s 9,000 Cr Taka. But if we consider the 8% inflation, an additional allocation of 700 Cr Taka will be required to adjust the increased price of agriculture inputs especially for fertilizer only. He also said, the increased price of fuel will intensify the crisis in the agricultural production and we will be bound to import more food in future as the cost will cut the production. The government actually cheated us by not increasing the agriculture subsidy and pushed us to the dependency on the profit hungry multinational companies.
Golam Sarwar of Krishi Farm Sromik Federation said, the government is claiming that Bangladesh has achieved the self-sufficiency in food but in the last five years we have imported minimum 18.66 lac Ton and Maximum 51.50 lac Ton. Even in last year 23.00 lac ton food is imported. Our farmers are being abandoned as the public institution like BADC is weakened gradually so that the multinational seed companies can spread their monopoly business over the farmers. This is a big reason behind the shortage of gross food production. We are demanding hereby for allocating proper budget to strengthen BADC and our own research on the developed agricultural technology especially high yielding seeds.
Syed Aminul Hoque from EquityBD said that the country should have anti-dumping measures to protect the local farmers so that the highly subsidized agro-products don’t distort the local market of agricultural products. It ensures the local farmers to get the justified price for their crop. But due to the compromising attitude of the government of Bangladesh and misguided agriculture policy, the multinational agro-companies are making money and in exchange the local farmers are being abandoned. This situation need to overcome and demand for imposing anti-dumping measures to imported agro-products in proposed budget.
Aminur Rasul Babul Said, there is no compensation mechanism when a local farmer become looser by using the seeds of foreign companies. Even the mechanism for protecting local farmers in different countries is also totally absent here.
Fazlur Rahamn from Barguna Krishak Somiti said, Cost of everything in agriculture is increasing including raw materials, fertilizer and water except the price of the crops and the hard effort of the farmers behind it. Farmers never got the cost he invested in return.
Mostafa Kamal kanda of EquityBD has moderate the human chain and said, agricultural research is very important for the development of agriculture and increasing the food production. But unfortunately we have almost no allocation for agro-research. He urged for enough allocation for local research.

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index_photo_55Today at the National Press Club in Dhaka 10 farmers’ and right based organizations led by EquityBD said in a press conference that the allocation for agriculture in the proposed budget for the coming fiscal year 2014-15 is inadequate and suicidal for future self-sufficiency in food. They also urge to establish a National Price Commission to ensure the fair price for the agricultural products to save the local farmers. They said that through the enormous negligence to the agriculture, the government has failed to fulfill their promise of achieving self-sufficiency in food by 2012 mentioned in their election manifesto. If the situation goes like this the country will not be able to face the food crisis for the increased population by 2021 and the poverty will increase.
It is also said in the press conference that the allocation for the agriculture is only 4.95% of total budget i.e. 2,505.06 billion Taka and it is less than that of last year. Agricultural subsidy of 90 billion Taka remains unchanged from last year but its affect will be decreased for the 7% of inflation. Increased price of fuel and water will affect it as well. It will cause more food import in the coming years, they added.
Syed Aminul Haque of EquityBD moderates the Press Conference titled “National Budget 2014-15: Farmers’ expectations and reality. Inadequate budget for agriculture is suicidal for future self-sufficiency in food” while Barkat Ullah Maruf of the same organization presents the keynote paper. Other speakers were Subol Sarkar of Bangladesh Bhumihin Samity, Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara Trust, Jayed Iqbal Khan and Mainuddin Hawladar of Bangladesh Krishok Federation and Golam Sarwar of Bangladesh Krishi Farm Shromik Federation.
Barkat Ullah Maruf in his keynote presentation says, though the government has been claiming that the country have achieved self-sufficiency in food but the reality is we have been importing food from 1.86 Million Ton to 5.15 million Ton every year. 2.3 million Tons of food is also imported last fiscal year. Food dependency of the country of increasing population will go worse unless adequate budgetary allocation and subsidy for agriculture is ensured.
He added, the local farmers are being abandoned due to the dumping of the highly subsidized agro-companies’ products as the government organization BADC have been weakened by less budget allocation and wrong policies.
Aminur Rasul Babul said, there is no compensation mechanism for the local farmers who get a great loss by using the untested seeds marketed by the foreign companies. Our farmers have almost no support and security from the government as the farmers in other countries have. He added, 500 million taka for agriculture in islands (remote chor development) is nothing but a dramatic surprise by the government. We have seen this kind of allocation last year for the Haor areas but we have seen no implementation of it.
Subol Sarkar said, Cost of everything in agriculture is increasing including raw materials, fertilizer and water except the price of the crops and the hard effort of the farmers behind it. Farmers never got the cost he invested in return.
Syed Aminul Hauqe said during he moderates the press conference, the country should have an anti-dumping measures to protect the local farmers so that the highly subsidized agro-products don’t distort the local market of agricultural products. It ensures the local farmers to get the justified price for their crop. But due to the compromising attitude of the government of Bangladesh and misguided agriculture policy the multinational agro-companies are making money and in exchange the local farmers are being abandoned.
He added, agricultural research is very important the development of the country’s agricultural production but it’s a pity that we have almost no budget is seen in this regard.

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index_photo_50Dhaka, 6th April 2014: Today in a seminar titled “Agriculture and Farmer Friendly Budget: Public-Private Sector in Seed Management” at the National Press club the speakers urged for sufficient allocation for Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) to rule over the multi national corporations (MNCs) and local companies who basically undermines the rights of farmers in the upcoming budget for the next fiscal year. The seminar is jointly organized by Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Bangladesh Vumihin Samity, Bangladesh Federation of Agri-farm labours, Labour Resource Center, Kendrio Krishok Moitri, Bangladesh Kishani Shova and COAST Trust at the National Press Club Today.

Mustafa Kamal Akanda of COAST Trust moderates the seminar while Mr. A Kha Ma Jahangir Hossain MP and former State Minister to Textile, Mr. Shamsuzzaman Dudu of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Mr. Anwar Faruk, the Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Dewan Siraj, the presenter of Agriculture program of BTV, Mr. Ziaul Huq Muta of Oxfam-Asia, Mr. Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara Trust spoke as the panelists. The keynote paper is presented by Mujibul Haque Munir of COAST Trust.

In his keynote presentation Mujibul Haque Munir says the entire agriculture sector of the country is being dependent on the seed marketed by the MNCs and local private sector companies. BADC, the public institute for agriculture who have been successfully contributing for the agricultural development since the liberation should be capacitated more to get out of this situation. The contribution of BADC in providing seeds to the farmers, however, is decreasing day by day. He adds, Bt. Brinjal is being promoted in Bangladesh in spite of its health hazardous elements found by its own research. BADC should have been the capacity to monitor this kind of seed marketing.

Ziaul Huq Mukta of OXFAM says in his speech that, no agricultural product should be imported that can threaten our own crop production. The imported crops should be well managed by tariff and other customs rules so that our growers of the same crop could be benefitted. He adds, more allocation in the upcoming budget should be sanctioned for agricultural research and invention of our own seeds. A Price Commission could be introduced in the country so that the proper price is ensured for the small-scale farmers.

Jibanananda Jayanta of Surokkha O Agragati Foundation says, there is no legal protection for the farmers if they end up in any financial loss by using unknown seeds promoted by seed companies. We should have reform the existing laws in this regard. Aminur Rasul Babul says, our farmers should have the right over the seeds. There should be system on how the government will compensate if any farmer fall in financial loss. Dewan Siraj of Bangladesh Television says, there should be budget allocation for marketing of the local agriculture production. The farmers should be involved in the national budget process.

Mr. Anwar Faruk, the additional Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture says, the main problem of our agriculture is the farmers are not getting the just price of their crops. We should develop a value chain for their crop and a well management and preservation system for the surplus production.

Mr. Akram Hossain Chowdhury of Bangladesh Awami league says, we should focus on the empowerment of the marginalized farmers. Neither budget allocation nor the local companies and MNC matters if our farmers are well empowered and equipped.

Mr. Shamsuzzaman Dudu of BNP says, once the democracy is established in the country agriculture along with all other sectors will be developed in no time. We had corruption of 1500 billion Taka in the last 7 years. Democracy is essential to stop this.

Mr. A K M Jahangir Hossain MP says, I think the subsidy in agriculture is a kind of investment. If we spent money here it will return in many times through the agricultural production. He also says, we should consider the reality and the climate of our country while conducting research on the seeds. We can’t blame all kind of high yielding seeds in an average. Our population have been increased in many times and old technology of agriculture is no more sufficient. He adds, BADC have many warehouses in the district level that are out of order. We should reinstall them to function properly.

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Index_photoDhaka, 15th September 2013. Today a network of civil society rights groups EquityBD (Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh) in a seminar held at National Press Club Dhaka criticize the developed countries, especially of USA and Japan, who opposed inclusion of common but differentiated responsibility and historical responsibility issues in the Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Post 2015 agenda. The rights group supported Bangladesh proposal to include goal to ensure food security to meet the global hunger and urge to UN to do so.
The seminar titled “MDG and Post 2015 UN development Agenda; Inequalities and Redistributive Justice” is moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, the Chief Moderator of EquityBD while the chief guest of the seminar was Dr. Hasan Mahmud, Honorable Minister for Forest and Environment. The other speakers of the seminar are Ziaul Haque Mukta, Policy Manger of Oxfam Asia Region, Golam Mortoza, the Editor of weekly Shaptahik, Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Pragati Chakama of Bangladesh Indigenous People’s Network, Aminur Rasul af Unnayan Dhara and Mujibul Haque Munir of Article 19. Barkat Ullah Maruf of EquityBD gives keynote presentation in the seminar.
On behalf of the group in his keynote presentation Barkat Ullah Maruf proposes, there should be separate goals on controlling arms and military expenditure and debt cancellation of least developed countries. He also expresses concern on more debt creating instruments in future development assistance and supremacy of private investment.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhuy has commended that Bangladesh’s proposal on post 2015 goal on food security and climate change compensation is the most appropriate. As like in Asia Pacific Ministerial conference, international civil society delegates will support Bangladesh’s position in the upcoming UN General Assembly. He urged Bangladesh delegation should have more interactive to civil society and media in this regard.
Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud said that as Bangladesh is facing the brunt of climate change impact where the country is not at all responsible for this, and as there will be 22 crore people in the country by 2050, then it is the international community or united nations to take responsibility on food security of Bangladesh and other hungry people of the world as well.
Ziaul Haque Mukta of Oxfam proposed five more priority along with food security agenda for post 2015 as follows, addressing inequalities within and inter state, internal resource mobilization with progressive taxes, universal access in public services, global assistance in respect of climate adaptation for most vulnerable or least developed countries.

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EquityBD Secretary Office observes the International Mother Language Day today to pay the profound honor to the Martyrs in 1952 who sacrificed their lives...