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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