Aug 212016
Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury on Saturday said that the government will follow the Genetically Modified Organism (GMO), a genetically engineering technique for breeding process, in agriculture with a view to enriching the food production of the country.
“We launched the hybrid technology in agriculture after the Awami League government came to power in 1996… in the same way, we will go for GMO technology to boost up our production under the phenomenon of increasing population and gradually shrinking of arable land of the country”, said the minister.
She was speaking at a seminar held at Khribid Institute at Khamarbari in Dhaka.
Matia said the people are now eating vegetables round the year which is the result of introducing hybrid technology in agriculture sector, adding that “but we had to face criticism for introducing this technology.
“Simultaneously, the country must introduce GMO in food production by implementing proper bio-security rules as the technology could not do any harm for the people, she pointed out.
Bangladesh Agricultural Journalists and Activists Federation (BAJAF) organized the seminar with its President Pulack Ghatack in the chair. Former senior technical officer of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Subash Dasgupta presented a research paper.
Prime Minister’s Media Affairs Advisor Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury attended the seminar as the special guest while organizing secretary of BAJAF Sayeed Shahin moderated the seminar.
President of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) Manjurul Islam Bulbul and General Secretary of the Jatiya Press Club (JPC) Quamrul Islam Chowdhury also spoke.
Matia said the government will also give emphasis on the variety development of Aus and Aman as there is huge scope to develop of these two local varieties.
“After introduction of deep tube-well, we had given priority to boro cultivation for three decades in the country’s northern region,” the minister said adding that now crisis has been arisen to boro cultivation due to gradual depletion of groundwater.
Under the phenomena, the government has already taken decision to shift crop agriculture to the southern region, said the minister. Terming the country’s economy as agro-based one, Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury said the country should enhance research activities for more yield in limited lands.
Agri scientists, officials of agriculture ministry, representatives from government and non-government organizations, among others, took part in the seminar.
Aug 212016

Experts tell seminar

Bangladesh will become self sufficient in rice production by 2050 as rice consumption has been reducing in the country, speakers at a seminar said on Saturday.
They also said rice consumption will start dropping more rapidly from 2020 to 2050 as people are taking fish, vegetable, potato and fruits instead of rice.
The observations came at a seminar titled, “Asian rice production and food security of Bangladesh” held in the city’s Khamarbari area. Bangladesh Agriculture Journalists and Activists Federation (BAJAF) organised the seminar.
Subash Dasgupta, former senior plant production officer of FAO, said a recent research shows that around 4.25 crore tonnes of rice will be produced in Bangladesh by 2020 and the production will reach 4.55 crore tonnes by 2050.
“People currently consume 435 gram rice per capita which will drop to 405 gram in 2050. Given that the population will reach 20 crore by that time, country’s rice demand can me met with the domestic production of 4.55 crore tonnes,” he said.

While addressing the seminar, Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury said the government always has to adjust between agricultural product price and consumer product price. For this, the government is giving priority to reducing the input cost of agricultural products.
Former Agriculture Secretary Anwar Faruk said government has to give priority to reduce agriculture input cost to ensure food security in the country.
Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) Director General (DG) Khan Ahmed Syed Murshid, PM’s Media Advisor Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, DG of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) Dr Vaggo Rani Banik and National Press Club General Secretary Kamrul Islam Chowdhury also spoke on the occasion.Courtesy: Daily Sun, Dhaka
Aug 212016

The government will continue plans allowing Genetically Modified (GM) crop cultivation, Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury told a discussion yesterday on rice production in Asia and food security in Bangladesh.

“But we must take care that none is affected. But we will do whatever is needed. Once we heard criticisms for allowing hybrids here to increase food production. Today the next step is GMO (genetically modified organism),” she said.

Earlier conservative, Europe even expressed intent recently to go for GMO, she told the programme organised by Bangladesh Agricultural Journalists and Activists Federation (BAJAF) in AKM Giasuddin Milky Auditorium at Khamarbari.

“They can wait because they have an abundance of land. We do not have land but have a huge population. What else will we have if people die for the absence of food for the stance on pure foods,” said Matia.

“We do not suffer from the aristocratic conservativeness that we will not accept, assimilate new technology by breaking our taboo to increase production,” she added.

Agriculture Minister Matiya Chowdhury (middle) speaks at a seminar organized by Bangladesh Agricultural Journalists and Activists Federation (BAJAF) on Aug 20, 2016. Prime Minister’s media adviser and editor of the Daily Observer Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury (Right) and BAJAF president Pulack Ghatack (Left) are seen.

She said GMO would become acceptable through avoidance of those that affect humans. “What is Golden rice,” she said, adding that GM crops already in circulation include soybean, canola oil and cotton.

Matia said people were voicing reluctance despite consuming such crops at present. “Let those who have an abundance of land go for the luxury. We are going with this sort of luxury but we will be careful,” she said.

There is no proof that GM crops the government gave nod to earlier caused deaths and without proof, nothing will be accepted, she said.

Replying to a question on land use policies, Matia said the government cannot force the owners of land belonging to the private sector.

Forcing private sector to follow certain land zoning or land use system is next to impossible, she said adding the government was taking steps to promote agriculture in the south.

She said the ministry gives emphasis on introducing improved varieties of rice for cultivation during Aman and Aus season to increase rice production.

Courtesy: The Daily Star, Dhaka