Economists, agriculturists and experts from other disciplines on Tuesday stressed the need for adopting a comprehensive national policy on food, agriculture, fisheries and livestock to ensure safe food production and supply.
Speaking at a dialogue, they also called for empowering the Bangladesh Safe Food Authority to make it effective for which it was created.
The dialogue on National Agriculture Policy and Safe Food Investment Strategy was organized by Bangladesh Safe Agro Food Efforts Foundation at Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council’s auditorium.
Speaking as the chief guest, former food minister and chairman parliamentary standing committee on finance ministry Muhammad Abdur Razzaque said that ensuring safe food for the nation posed a big challenge in a country where due to widespread consumption unsafe foods many people were suffering from serious diseases including cancer.
He said that unsafe food was sold everywhere in this country.
It would be impossible ensure safe food until and unless ‘we adopt a comprehensive policy for the area.’
The country’s national agriculture policy should, he said, incorporate issues relating to fisheries and livestock from the production process to consumption.
The Bangladesh Safe Food Authority must take the responsibility to ensure availability of safe foods for the people, he said.
He said all the concerned departments and institutes have to work together to ensure safe food for the people.
He described indiscriminate use of pesticides during crop production as a matter of deep concern.
Another area of concern, he said, was the use of contaminated feeds for poultry and fish production.’
Speaking as special guest, economist and former caretaker government adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman said that agriculture sector should be in the country’s driving seat for economic growth.
He said that since agriculture was ‘a very potential sector’ people with outdated mindsets about agriculture ought to change their outlook.
Describing Denmark and New Zealand as agricultural superpowers, Hossain Zillur said that agriculture, fisheries and livestock must be integrated and made commercially viable for the farmers in the interest of making safe food availability a reality.
Former Bangladesh Bank deputy governor Khondokar Ibrahim Khaled said that the government run banks, especially Bangladesh Krishi Bank should invest for safe food production.
Moderated by former agriculture secretary Anwar Faruque, the dialogue participants included BSAFE general secretary Ataur Rahman.
Senior officials from BARC, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, Bangladesh Rice Research Institute, Department of Agricultural Extension, Hortex Foundation were present.