To ensure sustainable food security for the growing population of the country, the government is now working with utmost importance on crop production in adverse environment and land including coastal saline, haor areas, Chittagong Hill Tracts, said Agriculture Minister and Awami League presidium member Dr Md Abdur Razzaque. He said that food security has been achieved in the country during the tenure of the present agro-friendly government. The government is now working tirelessly to ensure the nutritional security of all people. But with declining cultivable land, growing populations and the adverse effects of climate change, food security is the biggest challenge to sustaining or sustaining.
The minister was speaking as the chief guest at a seminar, showcasing, soil care award and soil day award distribution function organized by the agriculture ministry on the occasion of World Soil Day (WSD) at Hotel Sonargaon in the capital on Sunday. The Institute of Soil Resources Development, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Soil Science Association and Practical Action Bangladesh provided assistance in organizing the event.
The theme of this year's World Soil Day is 'Prevent salinity, increase soil productivity'. Emphasizing on this, the Agriculture Minister said that salinity is a big problem in the country. Climate change is likely to increase salinity. In this situation, in order to keep the food production system stable and sustainable, cultivable varieties and production technologies have to be developed and disseminated in the saline lands of coastal and southern areas. Therefore, Government is currently working on a priority basis. In the meantime, our agricultural scientists have been able to develop improved varieties of salinity tolerant crops. Work is underway to rapidly expand these varieties and production technologies among farmers.
Later, the Agriculture Minister unveiled the cover of the book 'Soil Atlas of Bangladesh' published by the Soil Resources Development Institute and toured the showcasing on the soil. It was informed in the seminar that about 25% of the area of Bangladesh is coastal area. More than 1 million hectares of land in more than 93 upazilas of 16 coastal districts are affected by various levels of salinity, which is considered as major obstacle to increase crop density in the area.
Special guests on the occasion were Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Md Shahab Uddin MP and Senior Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Md Mesbahul Islam. BARC Executive Chairman Dr Bidhan Kumar Bhandar, Director General of the Soil Resources Development Institute also spoke in the presidency. Sheikh Md Bakhtiyar, FAO Bangladesh Representative Robert D Simpson. Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Hasanuzzaman Kallol spoke at the programme.
Later in the afternoon, in a technical session, Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Md. Mesbahul Islam distributed prizes among the winners of Soil Care Award-2021, Soil Olympiad and Soil Day. At the same time, he said, it would not be possible to maintain food security unless the coastal saline lands were utilized at a rate that the population was growing. Taking this into consideration, the Ministry of Agriculture and the agencies are working relentlessly in the right direction. As a result, where there used to be one crop per year, now there are 2-3 crops per year at the same field. The Ministry has continued its efforts to make these activities more robust and dynamic.