Youth will lead ‘smart agriculture’ in Bangladesh: Minister Razzaque

Agriculture Minister Md. Abdur RazzaqueUNB

Agriculture minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque has said the young generation will lead in the adoption of the concept of smart agriculture in Bangladesh, UNB reports.

“For food security we need more productivity. Smart agriculture is a need of time and for this we have to go for a mechanised cultivation method,” he said, highlighting the contribution of agriculture in the country’s GDP, which accounts for 12 per cent.

Agriculture minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque made these remarks at a seminar titled “Transforming Conventional Agriculture to Smart Agriculture” held on Wednesday (12 April) at a city hotel.

He also said the government is committed to provide all sorts of policy support.

He also urged for a multipurpose cold storage system to alleviate wastages. Later he stressed on product variety, efficient use of water and climate resistance crops production. 

Meanwhile, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) president Md Sameer Sattar has said it is imperative to invest in modern technology and education to increase productivity, sustainability and profitability for our farmers.

He claimed, these would help Bangladesh to achieve the goal of Smart Agriculture. 

“Besides, it is also imperative to train our farmers to adopt technology and advanced technology-based agricultural management,” he said.  

The DCCI president also said Bangladesh’s agro and food-processing industry crossed the $1 billion mark, exporting around 700 items to over 145 countries.

During his speech, Md. Sattar highlighted the challenges the agro and food-processing industry – which accounts for  about 0.22 per cent of the GDP—currently faces such as limited value-addition skills, lack of diversification, quality assurance, low awareness of sanitary and phytosanitary compliance issues.

“Moreover, to keep pace with the 4IR, we have to learn nano-technology, bio-informatics, machines and new agriculture technologies,” he said. 

Secretary of ICT Division Md Shamsul Arefin said to meet the growing demand of food Bangladesh need to go for smart agriculture and to adapt this concept we need to go for smart technology.

“Most of the countries in the world are now using smart technology, nanotechnology, bio technology and various features of 4IR. Therefore, we cannot lag behind the others.”

He also called upon the private sector to lead smart agriculture to its next stage. In this regard, the government will give all possible support to the private sector, he added.  

WFP’s Country Representative and FAO’s acting Country Representative in Bangladesh Domenico Scalpelli said that commercial agriculture in Bangladesh is gradually increasing but he underscored the importance of value addition of agricultural products.

He also said that smart agriculture aims to improve productivity and quality of products. He also urged the younger generation to be engaged in the agriculture sector more and more.   

Agriculture Minister Dr. Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, MP was present at the seminar as the Chief Guest.  Secretary of ICT Division Md. Shamsul Arefin and WFP’s Country Representative and FAO’s acting Country Representative in Bangladesh Domenico Scalpelli also joined as the Special Guest and Guest of Honour respectively.