‘Unadulterated food not possible without modernization of agriculture’
DOT Desk: Agriculture Minister Dr Md Abdur Razzak has said ensuring unadulterated food is not possible without the modernization of agriculture, reports The Financial Express.
“We cannot provide unadulterated food to the people if we do not modernize and mechanize the whole agricultural sector,” he said at a seminar. The BSAFE Foundation organized the seminar at the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) auditorium in Dhaka.
Addressing the seminar, titled “nutritious and safe food friendly budget: citizens proposals,” as the chief guest, the minister emphasized coordination between related ministries and departments of the government. He also reiterated the government’s promise of zero tolerance for food adulteration and contamination.
Bangladesh Food Safety Authority Chairman Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque said ensuring food safety requires political commitment.
“Earlier we were in reactive mode. We went to the spot, destroyed adulterated food and fined the people responsible. But now we are in proactive mode. We are making people aware of how to ensure food is not adulterated,” he added.
Presenting the keynote paper, media personality and agriculturalist Professor Rezaul Karim Siddiq said recent mobile court drives had revealed some dangerous information, and the High Court had ordered the withdrawal of some products of renowned companies from the market. This caused panic in the people.
“The government allocated Tk26,260 crore for the agricultural sector in the previous budget, including Tk10,230 crore for other agri-related ministries: the Ministry of Land, Ministry of Water Resources, and the Ministry of Environment and Forest. This means Tk15,778 crore has been allocated only for food production,” he added.
Among this allocation, Tk9,000 crore was kept aside for subsidies on fertilizer and other items. Of the Tk9,000 crore, only Tk6,000 crore was used while rest of the money was returned.
“If we can use this returned money to provide subsidies for nutritious and unadulterated food, it would help ensure food safety,” Professor Rezaul Karim said.
Special guest Dr Shamsul Alam, member of the General Economic Division of Bangladesh Planning Commission, said increases in the budget allocation is not the solution, as many of the ministries are not able to use all the money allocated in the budget. “Using the money skillfully and creatively is important.”
BSAFE Foundation president Dr Md Mohammad Zaynul Abedin presided over the seminar.