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Leading Issues in Agricultural Development in Bangladesh

Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) organized a seminar titled Leading Issues in Agricultural Development in Bangladesh. The seminar was held on Sunday, 30 June 2024 in BIDS conference room. The event started at 11:00 AM and ended at 1:30 PM (BST). The speaker of the seminar was Mr. Shykh Seraj, Senior Fellow at BIDS and Director and Head of News at Channel i. Dr. Shamsul Alam, Former Minister of State, Ministry of Planning, Govt. of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh attended the seminar as a distinguished guest. Dr. Binayak Sen, Director General of BIDS, moderated the event. Scholars from home and abroad joined the seminar physically and via zoom online meeting.  

During the seminar, Sheikh Siraj shared various insights drawn from his four decades of journalistic experience. He added an extensive discussion of the gradual development of agriculture in Bangladesh. He emphasized that farmers are the backbone of the country's economy, and their well-being is an important indicator of national progress. He noted that the farmers' lifestyles had undergone a tremendous transformation in the past few decades. A change in overall food patterns and consumption of modern amenities are also visible. He mentioned that fish farming has become profitable for farmers compare to crop cultivation and has seen significant growth over the past few decades. 

Mr. Shykh Seraj mentioned that farming land is decreasing, and rice cultivation is also declining. He fears that soon, Bangladesh will need to import more rice from other countries due to the lack of sufficient cultivation within the country.

In the seminar, the speakers expressed concerns about the potential extinction of marginal farmers in the future, highlighting the gradual takeover of the commercial agricultural sector. Regarding the market syndicate, he stated that a cauliflower sold for 3 taka in Narsingdi's Belabo Upazila is priced at 33 taka when it reaches the markets of Dhaka. In Manikganj, chilli peppers priced at 20 taka per kg become 80 taka in Mohammadpur, Dhaka. He mentioned that this is only possible due to poorly managed market surveillance.

In response to Mr. Shykh Seraj’s speech, Dr. Shamsul Alam, former Minister of State for the Ministry of Planning, stated that the government should not take responsibility for the market itself, rather play a supporting role in its management & what the farmers will cultivate that will be decided by the market & consumer preference. 

Meeting recording link here

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