Budget discussion

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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IMG_0450_IndexDhaka, 7th May 2017. Today  25 rights based civil society organizations along with EquityBD termed the VAT (Value Added Tax) as regressive to poor. Government is embarking on this with IMF (International Monetary Fund) prescriptions, so there should not be emphasize on VAT, which is indirect tax, there should be more emphasize on direct tax, the opined.  They also criticised the government as they found hardly any political will of government to arrest Blank Money and illicit flow which is ever increasing, they urged for an announcement in this regard from the government in next budget session.
The call was from a press conference title “New VAT as Regressive to Poor: We Demand Announcement of Measures against Black Money and Illicit Flow in Next Budget”, held at National Press Club today. The press conference was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury from EquityBD, other speakers of the press conference was Monowar Mostafa from Development Synergy Institute, Asgar Ali Sabri from Action Aid Bangladesh, Aminur Rasul Babul from Upkuliya NGO Jote and Badrul Alam from Bangladesh Krishok Federation.
Ahsanul Karim Babor from the group presented the written position paper which elaborated 13 recommendations in this regard, where major demands are in taking examples from India. These are (i) asking annual bank statement from all dual citizens, (ii) initiatives to have tax and bank transparency agreement with different countries, (iii) all transaction which is more than $2000 must be through bank transfer and with TIN, (iv) publication of white papers of Bangladeshi’s in Malaysia 2nd Home Program, (iv) consideration of banning money note and bring them in bank account taking the examples from recent rupee 500 and 1000 note banning in India, (v) publication of white papers and report on stock exchange debacle, plundering of money from public banks, and Bangladesh Bank money heist and all above (vi) shunning the path of confrontational politics and space to the free growth of democratic institutions, so that people and business man will feel sense of security and they will not try for illicit flow.
Monowar Mostafa of Development Synergy Institute said state cannot ignore the principle of ability of payment of its citizen, VAT defeats this principles which is against the sense of social democracy. Asgar Ali Sabri said that government hardly follow a democratic and inclusive process for preparation of budget and setting tax principles. Aminur Rasul Babul of Upokuliya NGO Jote said that due to the new VAT law savings of poor families will be eroded and then the investment toward education and health will be hampered. Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krishok Federtation said that, majority of the farmers will be loser due to the new VAT law. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury the moderator of the press conference said, government must stops the loopholes first to do local resource mobilization prior to embark on new law on tax mobilization.
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Dhaka 22 June 2016. Today in a roundtable jointly organized by the Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on MoF&E and COAST Trust in the conference room of Parliament Media Center, titled “Climate Change Impact, Recent Cyclone and Save Coast” around 35 coastal Member of Parliaments (MP) said that they need embankment to protect coastal people, lands and livelihoods, not relief, this is also the number one demand from the local people.

The round table Chaired by Dr. Hasan Mahmud, the Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on MoF&E; Chief Guest of the Roundtable was Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud, Minister Water Resource; other key speakers of the roundtable were climate expert Dr Atiq Rahman, Sajahan Kamal MP, Talukder Abdul Khaleque MP, Ex Minister KM Jahangir MP, Mrs Jebunness MP, Ashiq Ullah MP, Nahim Newaz MP, Nabi Newaz MP, Rahim Ullah MP, Nuurn Nabi Shaon MP, Tipu Sultan MP, Mohammed Elias MP,  Shamsuddoha of CPRD and Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara Trust. Key note presentation was given by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST Trust.

In his key note presentation, Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST Trust said that, almost all coastal districts or around 17 % of total land of the country will go under water by next 50 to 100 years due to the impact of climate change, but there are technology by which the coastal areas coul’d be saved, but it needs huge investment and political will. Critical infrastructure to protect people should also be a priority along with the infrastructure needed for growth.  Around 28 % of total population of Cox’sbazar district were affected by cyclone Roanu which is the highest in country, among the migrated people due to the cyclone the highest i.e. 8 % is from the district, He said that worst impact is in Kutubdia Island are where saline water sets into 3 unions out of 6 unions twice every day.

Tipu Sultan MP said that if coastal lands are not protected we will not be able to sustain our food self-sufficiency. Ashik Ullah MP said that, water development board must sit with coastal MPs to prepare planning and projects in this regard. Sajahan Kamal MP said that all the coastal MPs must approach Honorable Prime Minister for special allocation and planning for coastal area. Jebunnesa MP also said even she cannot go to her area, because people always said that, they do not want to beg, they need embankment. Nabi Newaz MP said that river erosion and tidal surge impact equally both to the poor and rich. Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud, the Minister of Water Resources said that like Netharland Bangladesh can also save its coastal land, where Bangladeshi coastal lands are not under sea level they are above the sea level,  but government cannot alone do the job with its resources, development partners need to come forward with resources and technology. Dr Atiq Rahman of BCAS said that in respect of climate change adaptation, our government must make embankments to protect coastal people on priority basis.

In conclusion the Chair of the roundtable, Dr. Hasan Mahmmud, said that he construction of embankment and coastal forestation has to be integrated; finance Minister needs to consider more allocation to water development board, he also emphasized that water development board must take new approach in this regard. Last Edited 20 March 2017

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IndexDhaka, 18th June 2016. Today 28 civil society, labour and farmers organizations criticized the Finance Minister and the govt. as the proposed national budget 2016 – 17 has ignored the dire situation of the cyclone Roanu affected coastal people. They expressed their grievance on during a human chain and rally held today in front of the National Press Club. They said, the last 23rd May cyclone Roanu have had devastating impact in 19 costal districts, taken 23 lives and around 20 millions of people living open sky and with little drinking water now, especially the Kutubdia Island in the verge of extension. But the proposed budget has not proposed any curative measures to address the recent suffering of the coastal people. They have demanded, government must consider sustainable infrastructure like concrete block embankment and dike to protect coastal lands and people from cyclone and monsoon tidal surge as another one priority project in the budget 2016-17.

In the position paper of the group they have given specific nine demands in this regard, where major demands are (i) allocation of taka 6.5 thousand corore to protect Coxsbazar coastal area including Kutubdia island from cyclone and tidal surge, (ii) allocation of taka 6 thousand corore to protect the Bhola island districts from river erosion, (iii) reformation of water dev board to make it officials accountable to local upazila and zila parishad, ensure transparency and people participation in their work, (iv) engage armed forces for critical construction especially in Kutubdia and Bhola island, (v) undertaking protection infrastructure of coastal people and land as one priority mega project from this fiscal year of 2016-17 and (vi) Coastal areas must be protected with afforestation.

The rally was moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akhanda of COAST Trust, Mr. Subol Sarkar of Bangladesh Bhumihin Somity, Mr Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara Trust, Zayed Iqbal Khan of Bangladesh Krishak Federation, Mihir Biswas of Poribesh Bachao Andolon and Syed Aminul Haque of EquityBD.
Subol Sarkar said, embankment for the Roanu affected areas is must. Since it is not possible during this rainy season, affected families have to suffer till the August and so, they should be provided special ration. Aminur Rasul Babul said, after 60 and 70 decades there almost no action has been taken to build or reform the coastal embankments. Mega projects are being taken in the cities only. We demand mega projects to save the coastal areas too. Syed Aminul Haque said, Bangladesh is the one of the most vulnerable countries due to the climate change. Climate adaptation plan or poverty eradication plan can’t be successful without protecting the coastal people from their very common sufferings.

Led by COAST Trust co organizers of the rally were Online Knowledge Society, Arpon, Uddipan, Udyan Bangladesh, Unnayan Dhara Trust, SDS, Krishasni Shova, Grameen Jono Unnayan Sangsta, Jatiya Krishani Sromik Shomiti, Jatiya Sramik Jote, Dak Diye Jai, Docap, Dwip Unnayan Sangsta, Nolcity Model Society, Phals, Pirojpur Gono Unnayan Shomity, PRAN, Prantojon, PSI Bangladesh, Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Bangladesh Bhumihin Shomity, Bangladesh Agriculture Labor Farm Association, Labor Resource Centre, Sangkalpa Trust, Songram, CDP and Humanity Watch.

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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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IndexDhaka, 4th June 2016. Today 28 civil society, labour and farmers organizations in a joint rally and human chain, today in front of national press club, criticize the Finance Minister and the govt. that the proposed national budget 2016 – 17 was blind to the 40 millions coastal people and their 24 districts. They said that there was no mentioning of climate change impact especially the impact of last 23rd May cyclone Roanu which have had devastating impact in 19 costal districts, taken 23 lives and around 20 millions of people living open sky and with little drinking water now, especially the Kutubdia Island in the verge of extinction. They have demanded, government must consider sustainable infrastructure like concrete block embankment and dike to protect coastal lands and people from cyclone and monsoon tidal surge as another one priority project in the budget 2016-17.
The position paper of the group was read out by Sayed Aminul Haque of EquityBD, where they have given specific eight demands in this regard, where major demands are (i) allocation of taka 6.5 thousand corore to protect Coxsbazar coastal area including Kutubdia island from cyclone and tidal surge, (ii) allocation of taka 6 thousand corore to protect the Bhola island districts from river erosion, (iii) reformation of water dev board to make it officials accountable to local upazila and zila parishad, ensure transparency and people participation in their work, (iv) engage armed forces for critical construction especially in Kutubdia and Bhola island, (v) undertaking protection infrastructure of coastal people and land as one priority mega project from this fiscal year of 2016-17.
The rally was moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akhanda of EquityBD, speakers of the rally were Advocate Shafiqul Islam Swapan of Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST Trust, Mrs Jahanara Begum of Bangladesh Kishani Shoba, Mr Abdul Majid of Bangladesh Farm Labour Federation, Mr Mihir Biswas of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon, Mr Subol Sarkar of Bangladesh Bhumihin Somity, Mr Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara Trust, and Mr Muhin Howladar of Jubo Krishok Union. Leaded by COAST Trust co organizers of the rally were Online Knowledge Society, Arpon, Uddipan, Udyan Bangladesh, Unnayan Dhara Trust, SDS, Krishasni Shova, Grameen Jono Unnayan Sangsta, Jatiya Krishani Sromik Shomiti, Jatiya Sramik Jote, Dak Diye Jai, Docap, Dwip Unnayan Sangsta, Nolcity Model Society, Phals, Pirojpur Gono Unnayan Shomity, PRAN, Prantojon, PSI Bangladesh, Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Bangladesh Bhumihin Shomity, Bangladesh Agriculture Labor Farm Association, Labor Resource Centre, Sangkalpa Trust, Songram, CDP and Humanity Watch.
In conclusion of the rally Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST said that government must concede the future climate change problem and take protection and adaptation measures now, otherwise even infrastructure for growth will be jeopardy.

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Index29th April 2016. Today right groups has organized a human chain and a rally in front of national press club and different student and photography organizations has organized a photography exhibition in Teachers and Student Centre (TSC) Dhaka University DU), to remember the devastating cyclone of 29th April 1991 Marian, which was category 5 caused around 0.5 million deaths in coastal regions of Bangladesh and they have also demanded that government must not wait for foreign fund and urged to take immediate step to construct embankment to protect coastal people and land which should be the fundamental to climate adaptation. They have criticized the government as they said government is over emphasizing infrastructure to export led economic growth rather than giving importance to critical infrastructure to protect coastal people and land, they have also demanded reform in Water Development Board which is the responsible government agency to construct coastal embankment.
Rally in front of national press club was organized by 16 coastal organizations, namely Uddipan, Uddayan Bangladesh, MMC, SDS, Coast Trust, Grameen Jono Unnayan Sangsta, Dak Diye Jai, Docap, Dwip Unnayan Sangster, Nolicity Model Soceity, PHALS, Pirojpur Gono Unnayan Somitee, PRAN, Prantojon, Sangkalpa Trust, Humanity Watch, the rally was moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akhanda of Coast Trust, speakers of the rally was Shawkat Ali Tutul, Zayed Iqbal Khan , Aminu Rasul Babul and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury. Photography exhibition of prominent photographer Din M Shibly has been organized in TSC, DU was organized by Leaves and Branches, Dhaka University Photography Society, Dhaka University Environment Society, Dhaka University Cultural Society, Dhaka University Tourist Society, Environment Move, Coast Trust and EquityBD. The photography exhibition title “A Tale from Climate Ground Zero” was inaugurated by Pro Vice Chancellor Dr Shahid Akhter Hossain; other speakers of exhibition are Din M Shibly and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury from COAST Trust.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury from COAST Trust mentioned, government is blind to export led growth so the coastal areas still unsafe and people have to migrate in town where they became slum dwellers and working as house maid, day labor, garments worker or rickshaw pullers, i.e. engaging them in low paid job, moreover government hardly looking in the loss of lands making the country’s food security unstable, this is a sort of exploitation by elites and ruling classes of Bangladesh to the coastal population. He said that country has capacity to do sustainable embankment in coastal area with own resources, but there are hardly any political will. He also blame international NGO, donor darling consultants and donors that they are making coastal vulnerability simply for aid marketing. Shawkat Ali Tutul propose 8 proposals to reform Water Development Board including making it accountable to upazila and zila parishad and integrating transparency and participation of the agency to the local people and local government. Dr Shahid Pro VC of Dhaka University said that, we must have to investee resources from our own to protect the coastal people and land first.

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IndexDhaka 23rd April 2016. Today Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD) has organized a seminar in National Press Club title “Post Paris Implications: Priority Actions for Climate Adaptation in National Budget and Planning”, where speakers emphasized for separate institutions and priority allocation to take critical infrastructure to protect coastal lands and its people.
The seminar was chaired by Dr Ahsan Uddin of CGC, Chief Guest of the seminar was Mr AKM Jahangir MP and Ex Minister. The seminar was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdury of EquityBD. Key note presentation was given by Syed Aminul Haque of EquityBD, other speakers of the seminar were, Mr AKM Sajahan Kamal MP from Lakshmipur, Advocate Tipu Sultan MP from Barisal, and Mr. Mir Mostaq Ahmed Robi MP from Sathkhira. Among the civil society speakers there were Dr. Khalid Hossain from CCDB, Mrs. Sharmind Neelormi from CSRL, Dr Abdul Matin from BAPA, Mr. Shamsuddoha of CPRD, Mr Zakir Hossain Khan from TIB, Mr Sayed Jahangir Hossaiin Masum from CDP and Mr Qumrul Islam Chowdhury the General Secretary National Press Club and Preside FEJB.
Sayed Aminul Haque of EquityBD in his key note presentation mentioned that, poverty definition need to be changed in view of per capita has increased and new dimension of climate vulnerability has increased what India recently did. Seventh five year plan (7th FYP) being prepared without any such vulnerability analysis and there by climate adaptation in sectoral panning. There are hardly any allocation for embankment from t national exchequer, govt is relying on loan money for this solely from World Bank and Asian Dev Bank. Mr Sajahan Kamal, Advocate Tipu Sultan and Mir Mostaq Ahmed all three MPs pleaded for separate institution like char or coastal board or separate ministry for protecting coastal people. Syed Jahangir Masum of CDP demand a separate land use planning for coastal areas. Mr. Shamsuddoha mentioned that protecting coastal people from displacement in not only a human right but also a justice issue. Dr. Khalid Hossain of CCDB demands that, there should be coordination among all climate strategic plans.
Dr Abdul Marin of BAPA raised the appropriateness of preparation process of Delta plan with the help of foreign consultant; he cautions that without transboundary water sharing agreement such a delta plan will not work. Mr. Zakir Hossain Kahn of TIB said govt must ensure transparency and accountability of its key institution in respect of climate finance and implementation taking learning from two fund management, otherwise getting foreign assistance in this regard will be in jeopardy. Mrs. Sharmind Neelormi of CSRL mentioned that govt must take plan ensure drinking water supply in coastal areas. Mr AKM Jahangir said that Water Dev Board has to be reformed and in its planning local people’s participation must be ensured. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD mentioned, without embankment there will be no sense of security among coastal people that they will decide to flee. Dr Ahsan Uddin of CGC and the Chair of the session concluded that there must be allocation in climate trust fund but simultaneously climate strategic planning has to be updated and there must be investigation that why the Environment and Forest Ministry failed to manage climate trust fund.
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IndexTwelve Farmers’ Organizations term the WTO treaty on agri-subsidies withdrawal suicidal for Bangladesh,
Demanded special measures in the 2016-17 budget to ensure sustainable food security.
Today 12 farmers’ organizations have termed the recent WTO treaty on subsidy withdrawal from agriculture as suicidal for the food security of Bangladesh. They were speaking from a human chain and rally held today in front of the national press club. They said, the 10th Ministerial Conference of World Trade Organization (WTO) has decided to bring an end to agriculture subsidies. 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. It will lead Bangladesh may be to remove almost a full ministry called Ministry of Agriculture that is providing various extension supports to the agriculture sector.
The human chain titled ‘Is govt prepared for post subsidy era, saving small farmers, and to gain sustained self sufficiency’ was jointly organized by Bangladesh Krishak Federation, Bangladesh Bhumihin Samity, Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation, Labour Resource Center, Kendrio Krishok Moitri, Bangladesh Kishani Shova, Bangladesh Krishak Federation (JI) , Bangladesh Adibasi Somity, Bangaldesh Fish Workers’ Alliacne, Haor farmers and fishers alliance, National Women farmers and workers Association and COAST. Mustafa Kamal Akand of COAST Trust moderated the human chain. Among others Badrul Alam of Bangaldesh Krishak Federtaion, Subal Sarker of Bangladesh Bhumihin Somity, Jayed Iqbal Khan of Bangladesh Krishak Federation, Anupom Mahmud of Haor farmers and Fishers Alliance and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST Trust also spoke at the occasion.
On behalf of the organizers Md. Mujibul haque Munir of COAST Trust placed specific recommendations from the human chain, these are: (i) implementation of strong laws controlling commercialization of agricultural lands to save small farmers land and to refrain marginalized farmers from selling their lands, (ii) introduction of cooperative farming to save the small scale farmers, govt. incentives must be there to save the small scale farmers (iii) Establishment of sustainable embankments in coastal areas must get priorities to save the coastal farmers from river erosion, flash flood and sea level rising (iv) implementation of strong and effective market mechanism so that farmers access and control over the marker established, (v) enhanced capacities of public sector in seeds productions and distribution, more allocation for BADC must be ensured, (vi) We demand extension of sustainable and eco-friendly agricultural technologies.
Rezaul Karim said, in one hand it is said that country has become food surplus country and we are exporting food and food import is also going, what is the reality then? Agriculture of Bangladesh can’t be treated same as the developed countries. Developed countries have been able to enhance capacities of their farmers with huge subsidies and technical support. They have become industrial now. So, withdrawal of subsidy in developed countries and in Bangladesh can’t have same impact. Subal Sarkar said, USA provides BDT 3 lakh to farmers per day, it provides 400 million dollar per day as agri subsidy, in Europe one farmer gets 6 dollar per day while in Bangladesh one farming family gets only 90 dollar per year! Hence, we are continuously forced to withdraw subsidies. This is just to create their agri products market to our market and to make our agriculture sector dependent to their companies. Badrul Alam said, we can remember that in 2008 we could not manage food even having money with us. They way the agriculture is becoming controlled by some multinational companies; in near future food stocks will be controlled by the monopoly of some companies. We will have to be very careful about. We will have to take measures right now to cope with the emerging situation. Anupom Mahmdud said, our food security has to be secured by us, and that is why we will determine our agriculture policy.

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Title of the article is:  Government must be prepared for the post subsidy era

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