Cooperatives movement should be expanded to agriculture sector: HPM Sheikh Hasina

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Published on November 25, 2018
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Laying importance on strengthening cooperative movement across the country, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said cooperatives are a tested strategy to expedite economic development.

“Cooperatives have a great and potential strength in our development efforts. However, the movement should be expanded to the agriculture sector to safeguard food security of the country,” she said.

The prime minister was inaugurating the programmes of the 47th National Cooperative Day and distributing National Cooperative Award 2016 and 2017 at Bangabandhu International Convention Center here.

Sheikh Hasina underlined the importance of more involvement of womenfolk with the cooperatives to expedite country’s economic progress as well as empowerment of women.

A total of 20 cooperative societies in different categories received the National Cooperative Award from the prime minister on the occasion held under the auspices of the Department of Cooperatives under the Ministry of LGRD and Cooperatives.

“Cooperative is a philosophy. It’s a tested strategy for socio-economic development. In the cooperative-based development process, discrimination decreases, so development is balanced and sustainable,” the prime minister said.

Around the globe, about three million cooperative societies with more than one billion members have adopted cooperative techniques as a strategic tool for socio-economic development, she said.

Sheikh Hasina said cooperative was the tool for fulfilling the dream of the Father of the Nation. Bangabandhu wanted to expand cooperative-based production and distribution management in all sectors.

LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain, State Minister Moshiur Rahman Ranga attended the function as special guests while secretary of rural development and cooperatives Md. Kamal Uddin Talukder was in the chair.

President of Bangladesh Cooperative Union Sheikh Nadir Hossain Lipu spoke, among others, on the occasion while registrar of cooperatives and director general of department of cooperatives Md. Abdul Mazid gave the welcome address.

Sheikh Hasina said in the Article 13 of the constitution Bangabandhu had incorporated the cooperative system as the secondary way of ownership.

Bangabandhu had initiated agricultural cooperatives, fishery cooperatives, weavers’ cooperatives and industrial cooperatives for socio-economic development of the people of those occupations.

Milk Vita is one of the best examples of national level cooperatives in Bangladesh, she said adding that the government has a plan to expand the cooperatives of animal husbandry and dairy farming under public and private sector across the country.

Sheikh Hasina said her government, in its development process, is giving utmost importance to rural development and cooperatives.

Reduction of urban migration by creating more employment opportunities in the rural areas is also one of the main objectives of her government’s rural development priority, she said.

The government has distributed more than Taka 103 crore through the Cooperative Department for carrying out different income generating activities, she said.

Based on cooperative philosophy of poverty alleviation, ‘One-House One Farm’ project is being implemented at a cost of Tk 8,127 crore.

Under this project, 82, 395 village development societies have been formed in 87 thousand villages, she added.

Beneficiaries of this project are gradually becoming self-reliant after getting training and credit facilities on various income generating trades, she said adding that Palli Sanchay Bank is a best example of cooperatives of the rural people.

Sheikh Hasina said the government is implementing the ‘Comprehensive Village Development Project’ for the development of village based cooperative societies at a cost of over Taka three billions.

Under this project, cooperative members are being provided with appropriate training and cooperative societies are being used as platforms for all services of nation-building organizations.

Development of backward population of the community is one of the priorities of the government. With this goal, we are implementing various projects by organizing these people through the Cooperative Department, she said.

The prime minister said three development projects have been implemented since 2009 through the `Small Farmer Development Foundation’. As a result, the activities of this organization have spread over 174 upazilas and the number of beneficiaries increased by 1, 64,180, she said.

Currently there are about 1, 74,000 cooperative societies in Bangladesh having 10.9 million members. The total working capital of these cooperative societies is about Taka 135.80 billion. The number of jobs generated through cooperatives is about 0.9 million.

The prime minister said women consist only 18 percent of the total members of the cooperatives in the country. So their number in the cooperatives movement must be increased, she said.

The prime minister highlighted the socioeconomic development of the country over the last 10 years saying the development was possible due to the continuation of the Awami League government.

Mass people are getting benefit from this development, she said. She said poverty rate has been dropped from 31.5 percent in 2010 to 21.8 percent in 2018. Per capita income rose to US $ 1,751. The average life expectancy of the people has increased to above 72 years.

“The ongoing development must be continued to materialize the vision of making a developed Bangladesh by 2041. Bangladesh is going forward and it should continue. No one can stop this progress,” Sheikh Hasina said.

She wanted all out cooperation of everybody to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030 saying SDGs would be the foundation of building Bangladesh as a self-respecting developed country by 2041.

Earlier, the prime minister visited different stalls set up by cooperative societies on the BCCI premises on the occasion.

In the morning, a rally led by LGRD secretary was brought out from Sher-e- Bangla Nagar in the city.