By Sajjad Hossain Sabuj
DHAKA, Aug 13, 2017 (BSS) - The revolution that Bangladesh is now
witnessing in the agriculture sector is the outcome of the epoch-making steps that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman initiated after the independence.
As many as 85 percent people and more than half of the total national income were dependent on agriculture when Bangabandhu took the helm of the country on January 10 in 1972.
Bangabandhu knew well that the country's economic backbone won't be strong if the agriculture production is not boosted. That's why he called for "Sabuj Biplab" (Green Revolution) with a slogan "Krishak Bachle Desh Bachbe" (country will survive, if farmers survive).
His government didn't use the slogan as only a slogan; rather a colossal task for rehabilitation of more than 22 lakh peasant families was reposed on it after the liberation war which the government accomplished with utmost efficiency.
This rehabilitation was a real rehabilitation as the farmers were provided with agri inputs like machineries, seeds, fertilizers and pesticides at nominal prices or free of cost in some cases.
Beyond the existing cooperative society, the Bangabandhu government adopted the two-tier cooperative system under the Coordinated Rural Development Project in 1972.
And the country's first-ever microcredit programme for the rural poor was introduced under the scheme. To meet the demand of liquid milk, the cooperative-based "Milk Vita" was established in the country in 1974.
The Bangabandhu government waived tax up to 25 bighas of land including pending tax of all lands and fixed land ownership ceiling up to highest 100 bighas per family.
The loanee farmers were relieved of 10 lakh certificate cases filed during the Pakistani rule and their all pending credits including interest were waived.
At the end of 1972, the farmers were provided with 40,000 low lift pumps, 2900 deep tube-wells and 3000 shallow tube-wells at the reduced price.
As a result, the quantity of land under irrigation increased to 36 lakh acres in 1974-75 by raising one-third in comparison to 1968-69. Alongside enhancing irrigation facilities, 17,616 tonnes of high yielding varieties of paddy, jute and wheat seeds were distributed among the farmers only in 1972.
Besides, arrangements for supply of fertilizers at reduced price in
comparison to the world market were made. These steps boosted the use of chemical fertilizers by 70 percent, pesticides by 40 percent and high-yielding seeds by 25 percent.
The Bangabandhu government distributed one lakh bullocks, 50,000 cows and Tk 30 crore agriculture loans among the farmers.
For ensuring fair price of the agri produces, it also fixed the minimum sale price of important agriculture products including paddy, jute, tobacco and sugarcane.
The Bangabandhu government gave priority to agriculture research and took special measures for reorganising higher educational and research
institutions related to agriculture.
Bangabandhu made arrangements for introduction of the Ganges-Kapotakhkha Irrigation Project in full swing within eight months in 1973, while his government constructed 100 godowns by 1972 for building food stock officially.
It introduced awards named "Bangabandhu Jatiya Krishi Puroshkar" at the national level to encourage the farmers, scientists and researchers in agriculture development.