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Agriculture sector sees a boost last year, say experts

DHAKA, Jan 3, 2018 (BSS) - The country's agriculture sector witnessed a breakthrough in policy formulation and achieved a remarkable progress in crop production in the last year giving emphasis on nutrition enriched bio- fortified crops which are crucial for building a prosperous Bangladesh by 2021.

In the last year, the agriculture ministry framed some rules and regulations including Wheat and Maize Research Institute Act 2017 to set up a new organisation. The ministry also finalised some bills which are significant for policy level initiative to increase food production.

Despite crop loss due to floods in the six haor districts, the production of Aman and potato was satisfactory.

Talking to BSS, Director General of Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) Abul Kalam Azad said, "The agriculture sector is now in a better position and the rising trend of rice production was also continued in the last year."

He said the government has revised the existing Agriculture Research Institute act considering the challenges of agriculture caused by the climate change.

Terming the crop loss in the haor areas as great turmoil for the crop sector, the BARI scientist also informed that the government is patronising short-duration crop varieties including the BRRI Dhan-28 and other local paddy so that the country can avoid the risk of crop loss during any natural disaster.

In the last year, the country achieved significant success in research sector, said Azad, adding "We have released significant number of crop varieties including 'BARI Gom-33', a bio-fortified and blast resistant, which will give more yield compared to the existing varieties."

The country had to incur a loss of around Taka 1,800 crore in the last year due to the first ever wheat blast attack.

About 40 percent crops on 1, 08,715 hectares of wheat fields in Jessore, Kushtia, Chuadanga, Meherpur, Jhenidah, Magura, Barisal and Bhola were damaged due to blast attack.

Apart from this, the government is progressing with the Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) crop, said the Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council, adding that another three varieties of aubergine are now waiting for approval of the Department of Environment.

"We have signed an agreement with the USA for conducting higher research on pest-resistance transgenic potato variety,' said the former BARC chief.

Regarding the productivity of crops, noted agriculturist Dr Jahangir Alam said the price hike of food grain has become normal due to excellence Aman production.

Agriculture productivity was quite good but the government so far could not form an integrated plan on land and water resources management which is necessary for facing the future challenge in agriculture sector, said Dr M Asaduzzaman, Research Director of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).

Former director general of the DAE Hamidur Rahman told the BSS that the government introduced an app "Pesticide Use Instruction". Farmers would be able to know which pesticide is suitable for which crops through the app.

Apart from this, the agriculture ministry in association with Prime Minister Office (PMO)'s a2i programme has launched two apps "Krishoker Janala" and "Krishoker Digital Thikana" with a view to making farmers aware of the nourishment of crops in different phase of cultivation including harvest.