Food security remains ensured despite int’l crisis: PM Hasina

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina
File photo

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has told the Jatiya Sangsad (national parliament) that despite the  ongoing international crisis the country’s food security remains secure.

“Bangladesh has overcome Covid-19 pandemic successfully, while food security remains ensured in  the country amid the current international crisis as well,”  she said while replying to a question of the governing Awami League MP,  Md Shahiduzzaman Sarkar, from Naogaon-2 constituency on Wednesday.

Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury was in chair during the scheduled question-answer session of the prime minister.

Mentioning that Bangladesh has already attained food autarky, Sheikh Hasina said, “The government has been  working intensively to maintain our self-sufficiency.”

The Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war have triggered the crisis in the global supply chain of different commodities including foods, she said, adding, in this situation, the government has regularly been taking various steps on national and international levels to ensure food security to face this crisis.

Leader of the House also stated in parliament that Bangladesh has  successfully attained the food autarky due to agricultural research, extension, continuous support in terms of providing materials and policy in the agriculture sector.

“Bangladesh  has now become a role model on the global stage in terms of food security,” she remarked.

She said the country’s food grain production was 32.90 million tonnes in fiscal year 2008-09, which went up to  47.77 million tonnes in fiscal year 2022-23.

Since 2009 some 854 km of highways have been upgraded to  four-lane ones, while 11,434 km of highways have been developed and construction of 1,131 bridges (123,254 metres) has been completed through 431  projects under the Department of Roads and Highways during the three terms of the incumbent government from  2009 to 2023, said the prime minister replying to a question of Jatiya Party lawmaker Hafiz Uddin Ahmed (Thakurgaon-3).

In the current financial year, she said the works are  underway to upgrade some 574 km of highways to four-lane  ones, develop some 4,634 km of highway and construct 750 bridges (64,844 metres) under 131 projects.

Proposed investment in EZs rises to USD 26 billion

Answering a question of AL lawmaker Md. Mamunur Rashid Kiron (Noakhali-3), the Leader of the  House said that the overall proposed investment in the  economic zone has now reached $26 billion.

Besides, 41 companies have started commercial  production and 50 industries are under construction in  different zones, she said, adding that these industries  have produced products worth $14.8 billion and exported products worth $291 million, creating 50,000 jobs in these industries.

Mentioning that a one stop service portal has been set up to provide all investment related services from a single platform, she said that the one-stop service aims to provide 150 investment offers online from 39  companies through the portal.

Already 63 services of 23 companies including BIDA have been included in online one stop service of BIDA, she  added.

Sheikh Hasina said that the importance of proper development of the power and energy sector for economic development has been considered and development activities are being implemented accordingly.

In this connection, a master plan titled “Power System  Master Plan (PSMP)-2016” has been formulated with the  objective of ensuring quality and uninterrupted power  supply at a reasonable cost to all through integrated  development of power generation, transmission and  distribution, she added.

The prime minister said that the government is working to achieve the target of generating 40,000 megawatts  electricity by 2030 and 60,000 megawatts by 2041.

Addressing the existing problem of power generation through gas-based power plants, she said, the government is implementing new plans for coal-diesel- furnace oil, nuclear power and renewable energy-based  power generation.

At present, the power generation capacity (including  captive and renewable) in the country is 28,134 MW, she  said, adding that the government is considering future  energy security and has taken steps to develop renewable  energy.

In the eighth 5-year plan, she said, various plans are being adopted by setting a target of 10 per cent of the total electricity generation from renewable energy by 2025.

Efforts to continue for recognition of 1971 genocide

In reply to another question from AL lawmaker Anwer Hossain Khan (Lakshmipur-1), the prime minister said many countries demanded the recognition of genocide committed in their respective countries as International Genocide Day.

Later, the United Nations General Assembly on 11 September, 2015 adopted a resolution through discussion to observe 9 December as the International Day for the Prevention of Genocide.

“Since then 9 December has been observed as the International Day for the Prevention of Genocide, the proposal to observe another International Day on the same issue would not be rational,” she said.

She, however, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs and the Liberation War Museum and some members of the martyrs’ families are making efforts to achieve international recognition of the genocide that took place in Bangladesh in 1971.

The head of the government said individuals and organisations working on genocide are also working to attain the recognition of the genocide.

She said international recognition of the 1971 genocide that took place in Bangladesh is as complex and time-consuming as any other genocide in the world.

However, it would be easy to get international recognition of genocide by creating the global public opinion in favour of recognising the genocide committed in Bangladesh. “Efforts will continue on the part of the government in this regard,” she said.