Ensuring food security is our top priority: HPM Sheikh Hasina

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Published on October 16, 2020
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asserted that not a single person in the country will remain hungry as her government has attached top-most priority to increasing food production to ensure food security for all.

“Our country is very small in terms of its land size while our current population is 165 million or around 17 crore. The most important thing is to ensure food security for such a huge population,” she said while speaking at an international seminar on World Food Day-2020.

Keeping that in mind, she said, the government has been implementing various measure to keep continuing the hike in food production to ensure food security for the huge population.

The Prime Minister said that her government would continue giving foods free of cost to the distressed people as none will remain hungry in the country.

“We have been working to ensure food security for all. We have been reaching foods to the people and giving foods free of cost to the distressed people so that not a single person in the country remains hungry,” she added.

The Prime Minister urged the global leaders to build a world free from hunger, saying, “Let us make efforts in unison to build a world free from hunger.”

She said her government has been working to build a developed and prosperous country free from hunger and poverty envisioned by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The premier got connected to the seminar from her official Ganabhaban residence here while others joined it from the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, Dhaka through a video conference.

The Ministry of Agriculture organised the function.

Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, MP, presided over the function while Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder, MP, Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim, MP, and parliamentary committee Chairman of the agriculture ministry Matia Chowdhury, MP, spoke on the occasion.

Recorded speech of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Director General Qu Dongyu was played at the function while newly appointed Agriculture Secretary Mesbaul Hasan gave the welcome address.

A video documentary in respect to the “food heroes” (farmers) of Bangladesh was screened at the function.

The World Food Day is being observed in Bangladesh as elsewhere in the world with the theme “Grow, nourish, sustain together. Our actions are our future.”

Briefly spelling out of the measures taken by her government to face the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic on the livelihoods and economy, the Prime Minister said, “We have been working with a special focus to make sure that the people won’t suffer amid the coronavirus outbreak.”

She said the government has allocated Taka 9,500 crore in agriculture mainly to inspire the farmers to keep continuing their efforts in producing foods so that no scarcity of food is surfaced in the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

She added that her government has given stimulus packages of Tk 5,000 for agriculture for the coronavirus period to keep the food production uninterrupted.

The premier once again called upon all to bring every inch of land under cultivation to ensure food security as many countries in the world might face food shortage.

“There is a possibility of famine as the world got stuck due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But Bangladesh must not be affected by it and its people would not suffer from it,” she said.

The Prime Minister said her government has been working to ensure nutrition for all alongside ensuring food security to build a healthy nation.

Referring to a speech of the Father of the Nation, she said Bangabandhu had called upon the farmers to engage themselves in work to ensure food security.

Bangabandhu had allocated Tk 101 crore out of Tk 500 crore in agriculture for ensuring food security for all, she recalled.

Following the footprints of the Father of the Nation, the premier said her government also attached priority to agriculture since assuming office in 1996 and has been taking measures accordingly to increase food production so the country never suffers from food crisis.

Going down the memory lane, Sheikh Hasina said that the country had food deficiency of 24 lakh metric tonnes when the Awami League came to power in 1996, but the country witnessed a surplus food production of 26 lakh metric tonnes when her government completed its five-year tenure.

To keep moving the wheels of the country’s economy, the premier said, the government has given stimulus packages in every sector worth Tk 112,633 crore which is four percent of the GDP.

“We have been working tirelessly to give the people a good living even during the pandemic,” she continued.

Mentioning that the country has faced cyclone and flood amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Prime Minister said, “The people of Bangladesh is very brave and they have the ability to face any situation.”

The premier greeted the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) on its winning Nobel peace prize and the FAO on its 75th founding anniversary.