Subsidy in Agriculture to Gain Food Self Sufficiency is a Must

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Dhaka, 14th June 2011. Today fifteen civil society organizations leaded by EquityBD has organized a rally in front of national press club, they criticizes Finance Minister for submission to IMF conditionality that has reduces subsidy in 2011-12 budget, government has been trying to receive $ 1 billion loan from IMF as a budget support, they mentioned that enhancing subsidy is a must to gain food self sufficiency. They reminded that gaining food self sufficiency in 2013 is in vision 2021 and in election manifesto of Awami League too that government should not back track from this promises.

The rally was moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD, while spoken by Abdul Majid Mollick of Bhumihin Somitee, SM Saikat of SIRAC Bangladesh, Shipra Rani Das of Kishani Shova, Feroze Ahmed of Lead Trust, Jibanondo Joyanta of Shurrakkha and Agragoti Foundation, Prodip Kumar Roy of On Line Knowledge Centre, and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD. The fifteen organizations are Arpon, On line Knowledge Center, Lead Trust, VOICE, Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Manush Manusher Jonny, SIRAC Bangladesh, Shurakha and Agragoti Foundation, Karmajibi Nari, Prothikrit, DCI, Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood, Bangladesh Krishna Shove, Bangladesh Bhumihin Shomiti, and EquityBD.

In a statement fifteen organization has placed four specific demand which are (i) Finance Minister should enhance subsidy in agriculture, rather then reducing its, there must be road path on how to gain food self sufficiency in shortest possible time (ii) BADC have to be strengthen especially in respect of producing and preserving local seeds, (iii) keeping provision of compensation by Hybrid companies who market failed seeds, and (iv) detail reporting in budget on what are the agriculture research happening in the country and how much government is being allocating money in this regard.

Jibananda Joyanta of Shurakkha and Agragoti Foundation has mentioned that even adhering the WTO policy government can enhance subsidy around 10 % of total agriculture products, which is now around 1 % only. Abdul Majid Mollick of Bangladesh Bhumihin Shomiti mentioned that Awami League government has a profound fame for giving importance on agriculture, government should protect the fame. SM Saikat of SIRAC Bangladesh mentioned that, along with reducing agriculture subsidy government has also reduced budget in social safety net and also in health and population services, which is indicating that government gradually withdrawing from social welfare services.

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury Chief Moderator EquityBD has mentioned that, still developed countries is giving huge amount of subsidy in their agriculture, in USA it is in fact per day around $ 400 million, in Europe it is per day per cow around $ 6, as they have surplus products, they want to make Bangladesh as dumping ground for those. He reminded how USA manipulated Bangladesh government during 1974 in using food autarky situation, he also mentioned that how advance developing country like India shown dilly dally approach in selling 5 lac tons of food even after their commitment. He mentioned that without self sufficiency in food country will hardly be able to gain political and economical sovereignty in global politics.

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