Implementation of Bangabandhu’s Green Revolution Program in Building Smart Bangladesh

Hiren Pandit: A discussion titled Implementation of Bangabandhu’s Green Revolution in Building Smart Bangladesh mentioned that Bangabandhu worked tirelessly to build Bangladesh into the Golden Bengal of dreams. In the discussion meeting on the implementation of Bangabandhu’s Green Revolution in Building Smart Bangladesh under the initiative of Bangladesh Foundation for Development Research, Bangabandhu called for the ‘Green Revolution’ to work with the firm conviction to build a developed and prosperous Bangladesh free from hunger, corruption, poverty, non-communal and self-reliant.: His dream of a green revolution has now been reflected in massive development in the agricultural sector and self-sufficiency in food. Politician, writer, and columnist Monaem Sarker moderated the discussion, participated by various famous discussants. Agriculturist Dr. Md. Hamidur Rahman presented the main article on this topic. The farmers of Bangladesh have faced all kinds of natural calamities, including storm surges, floods, and droughts, and have maintained the progress of agriculture with redoubled tenacity and strength.
At present, more than 47 percent of Bangladesh’s total labor force is engaged in agriculture. Despite land degradation, they have produced several times more crops using various agricultural inputs, including improved seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides. After independence, 10 percent of the country’s land was under high-yielding crops. Now it has crossed 90 percent. Ten percent of the land was under irrigation; now, it is 80 percent. As a result, paddy production increased three times, wheat doubled, vegetables five times, and maize ten times. Bangladesh ranks third in the world in rice production, third in vegetable production, third in open-water freshwater fish production, seventh in mango production, seventh in potato production, and eighth in guava production. The first of hilsa production. Enviable success in the poultry and dairy sector. All these have been made possible by the hard work of the farmers.
In war-torn Bengal, there is a food shortage of 7.5 crore people, but the total crop production is one crore tons. After 53 years, there are about 170 million people in Bangladesh. Crop production has reached four crore tons. Deficit Bangladesh is now almost self-sufficient in food. They are overcoming all obstacles, conquering the minds and souls of farmers in nearly all subsectors of agriculture through hard work and sweat. For 53 years, the working people have pushed the wheels of prosperity behind and formed the basis of the country’s economy. Despite hundreds of adversities, they have made progress in Bangladesh’s garment sector unstoppable. The red-green flag continues to be hoisted at the top of the world. One crore 22 lakh 56 thousand migrant workers are taking Bangladesh forward on the development path by sending almost the entire labor income to the country. The success of agricultural scientists in agricultural research is excellent.
Thousands of agricultural scientists from various agrarian universities are showing the way of light to the people of this country. If Bangabandhu had not taken the initiative of the green revolution and had not created the foundation of agricultural production, we could not have reached our current position in the economic field of our dear motherland, Bangladesh. On January 10, 1972, Bangabandhu returned to the dream of independent Bangladesh the hero of the century. The green revolution he then called for as part of nation-building is significant. He established cooperative agricultural management by setting limits on land ownership. His Green Revolution policies are still relevant as our agricultural land is shrinking.
Bangabandhu had only three and a half years to rebuild the war-torn independent Bangladesh and transform it into the golden Bengal of his dreams. Bangabandhu’s extraordinary activity in these short few years shows the blossoming of his unique statesmanlike talent and exceptional efficiency. Bangabandhu worked tirelessly to build Bangladesh from the war-torn ruins into the golden Bengal of dreams. He called for a ‘green revolution’ with the firm conviction to build a developed and prosperous Bangladesh free from hunger, corruption, poverty, and non-communal self-reliance. His dream of a green revolution has now been reflected in massive development in the agricultural sector and self-sufficiency in food. The success of farm scientists in agricultural research is the result of his inspiration. On August 15, 1975, the anti-independence circle brutally killed some ambitious, misguided military officers. Still, Bangladesh has turned around again in the last one and a half centuries through development in various sectors, including agriculture.
After returning to the country on May 17, 1981, Sheikh Hasina turned grief into strength and worked for the country’s people. He devoted himself to his father’s unfinished work by confronting all domestic and foreign conspiracies. Under his leadership, Bangladesh is recognized as a hunger-poverty-free, happy, and prosperous country worldwide. In the future, his father Bangabandhu’s unfinished dream will be successful; after the implementation of digital Bangladesh, a happy, thriving, and developed ‘Smart Bangladesh’ will stand tall on the world map. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of the Bengali nation, was an agriculturist and agriculturist.
Digital technology has touched agriculture. These technological advantages have recently created a revival in agriculture. They were gradually expanding. Nowadays, online services are increasing. The touch of technology has changed the lives of farmers in agriculture-led Bangladesh. The Directorate of Agricultural Extension has launched IT services ‘Krishi Batayan’ and ‘Krishak Bandhu Call Centre’. ‘Krishak Bandhu’ (3331 call center) functions as a call center for various agricultural-related services. Through the ‘Krishi Batayan’ technology service, farmers can now get accurate information about their crops and get advice from experts. Various government agriculture-related services are also available using these apps. Also, there are e-pesticide prescriptions and agricultural bioscopes. As a result, farmers can quickly receive multiple services at home.
With the help of an innovative app called ‘Farmer’s Window’, farmers and agriculture officials can instantly identify crop diseases by viewing crop images. Due to these impacts, the agricultural economy has undergone significant changes. Many young, educated youth are becoming modern agrarian entrepreneurs. As a result, the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud-based automated agricultural systems have become accessories in implementing digital agriculture and meeting the goals of the fourth industrial revolution. Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University is moving towards the implementation of Smart Agriculture, one of the foundations of building ‘Smart Bangladesh’ by applying the Internet of Things (IoT) in the laboratory to build Smart Bangladesh promised by Bangladesh Government.
In continuing the implementation of Smart Agriculture as one of the cornerstones of building Smart Bangladesh, innovations related to Agricultural Growth Monitoring using IoT will make the complex and time-consuming tasks of manual work in the agriculture sector much more accessible. This information technology-based innovative agriculture technology will be able to provide information on improved agricultural care as well as higher productivity. In intelligent agriculture management, it will be possible to determine crop health by measuring and analyzing soil information such as soil moisture, temperature, pH level, soil electrical conductivity, and soil micro and macronutrients (e.g., nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, etc.). By collecting information on soil health and nutrients through sensors, it will be possible to make recommendations for providing appropriate nutrients based on the information obtained with advanced agricultural technologies.
Farmers can convert water flow or irrigation management from a traditional manual system to an automated system at the right time using IoT sensors and smart sensor-based cameras, soil information, and smart irrigation management systems. In these systems, farmers will be able to make decisions about farm management quickly, and the productivity of the farm will increase manifold. Among the steps taken by Bangabandhu for the development of the farmers and agriculture of this country during his regime, the most notable is the allocation of 101 crore taka out of 500 crore rupees in the development budget of 1972-73 fiscal year for agricultural development, waiver of land rent up to 25 bighas, the introduction of interest-free loans for farmers, independence Later, measures were taken to rehabilitate 2.2 lakh farmers, distribution of rice, wheat and jute seeds among farmers in 1972, initiation of tree planting campaign, subsidy measures in agriculture, supply of fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation equipment and implementation of village-based green revolution program etc.
The Father of the Nation felt that agricultural development is not possible without the expansion of agricultural research and agricultural technology. So soon after the great independence, he took the unique initiative to create and reorganize research institutes related to agriculture and various agricultural sub-sectors to bring dynamism to agrarian productivity, research, and technology expansion. The Horticulture Board was reconstituted. The Ministry of Jute was established, and the Bangladesh Jute Research Institute was established through an act in 1974. A Presidential Ordinance of 1973 created scope for developing and coordinating agricultural research activities and reorganized the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute.
Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council was established in 1973 by Presidential Ordinance to coordinate research planning, implementation, and evaluation of agricultural research. Bangladesh Rice Research Institute was restructured. Today, Bangladesh is a role model for agricultural development around the world. The government’s agri-friendly policies and continuous incentives have taken the agriculture sector of Bangladesh to a unique height. Technology-based agriculture is becoming smart under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership.
To implement the philosophy and ideas of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu in agriculture, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is allocating increased funds to establish agricultural universities, construct research laboratories, and research work. Agricultural scientists are working tirelessly to spread new varieties and technologies. Subsistence agriculture in Bangladesh today has been transformed into commercial agriculture through the development of agro-based and processing industries, the production of improved varieties of crops, agricultural mechanization, the addition of value of farming products, improved marketing systems, etc.
Due to the government’s multifaceted development activities, such as innovation and expansion of high-yielding varieties, development of irrigation systems, subsidy on fertilizers and agricultural mechanization, and disbursement of agricultural credit on soft terms, the country’s crop intensity has increased significantly. Smart agriculture has to be more sustainable to cope with future climate change and global challenges. For this, information from the Bangabandhu satellite and global innovation can be utilized simultaneously.
Through biotechnology and nanotechnology, it is possible to produce more crops on less arable land. Apart from this, by using drones with artificial intelligence technology in agriculture, such as floating farming to combat climate change, the overall condition of the agricultural land in advance, such as the moisture content of the crop field, determining the presence of harmful elements in the crop, designing crop planting, planting seeds, knowing the attack of insects, pesticides. Spraying, crop yield, overall crop monitoring, soil nutrients, temperature, pH, salinity, and the presence of crop diseases and insects, weather forecasting, and advance healing, predicting the possible yield of crops in advance. Bangladesh’s Export Policy 2021-24 has identified agriculture and agro-food processing as one of the sectors for the highest priority.
Also, the government, in the 8th Five Year Plan 2021-2025, emphasized diversified agricultural products and the production of processed food to ensure food security. Using modern technologies such as blockchain or traceability in research and marketing processed food products will strengthen the base of the agricultural economy by diversifying the export sector and earning foreign exchange. In the manifesto prepared by the Bangladesh Awami League ahead of the 12th National Parliament elections, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has set the target of Smart agriculture. The main objective of the smart agriculture program is to ensure nutritious and safe food.
They are making the best use of technology to maximize production with minimal resource investment. If more crops can be grown with less water, less fertilizers, and fewer pesticides, then the cost of agriculture will be reduced, and production will increase. In this way, it is possible to meet the food and nutritional needs of the people of this country due to the increased demand in the changing times. Bangladesh has also followed fossil energy-based agriculture for the past 53 years. For example, 17 nutrients are required to grow and develop crops on agricultural land.
Three ingredient-rich fossil energy-based synthetic chemical fertilizer manufacturing plants have been set up or imported from countries where fossil energy-based fertilizers are produced at high foreign exchange costs. Again, since the production cost of these chemical fertilizers is high, the poor farmers without capital can’t buy them at a high price and apply them to the land, so it has been made easier for farmers to buy fertilizers by subsidizing them with people’s tax money. Farmers are also applying it to the land as desired. Because it is taught by training and setting up demonstrations, the more chemical fertilizers are applied to the land, the higher the yield.
The country’s research institutes are discovering hundreds of modern varieties of grain crops, especially rice, and easy ways to take them to the field have also been created. Varieties have been bred so that the higher the yield, the more fertilizers or artificial inputs are applied to the land. It does not cultivate species that provide other food grains. Again, only a few varieties of rice are being grown. As a result, the country is at the final stage of monoculture cultivation. Scientists have discovered a simple way to use groundwater, increasing irrigated rice cultivation during the winter season. Implementing the Green Revolution has made energy-saving chemical fertilizers and water readily available. Because producing newly developed varieties requires significantly more feed and water than previous traditional varieties, a handful of varieties are being popularized.
Our agriculture is not only dependent on crops. Livestock and fisheries must be considered together to bring sustainability to agriculture. Because the country’s delta or delta plan has been formulated, an integrated policy must be formulated now. Now is the time to take a comprehensive action plan with him. The country’s post-war 13 percent of the budget is now down to 3 percent, so agricultural excellence requires increased investment in agriculture and increased capacity to utilize the increased investment. One of the government’s agricultural policy goals is to protect agroecology. Enhancing above and below-ground biodiversity.
There is no opportunity to see Bangladesh’s agriculture as separate. We have to keep pace with the world. The government is working, keeping in mind that the agriculture of the future is mechanized and technological. Our major success in agricultural mechanization is accounted for in tillage. Although our institutions have made some progress in agricultural mechanization, we have made no progress toward artificial intelligence or smart agriculture. What we mean by agriculture in Bangladesh includes field crops, vegetables, fruits, dairy, meat, fish, and poultry. Our agriculture is based on them. A lot of people are involved in our country’s agriculture.
Earlier, agriculture was done only for the sake of production. However, along with production, development has recently been done by adding value in various ways, including processing. Now, in our country, youth are getting involved in agriculture. Mechanization is happening. In other words, it can be said that we are moving towards mechanization of agriculture and commercial agriculture. More than half of the people of our country lives in villages. For those who live in villages, agriculture is the mainstay of their economy. Again, many young people have lost their jobs due to Corona. Many have returned from abroad. They are involved in agriculture. They are also contributing to the development of agriculture through mechanization.
Mechanization will increase in the future. Agriculture in our country does not have a complementary value chain to the food value chain, which is seen in this disparity. For 53 years, the public and private sectors have only emphasized production. It increased production. However, the processing required after production is not available in our country. Processing capacity is not built that way. As a result, sometimes the price increases and sometimes it decreases. If the value chain is established, the farmer will get a better price, and the consumer will be satisfied with the product. Bangladesh made good exports in the agriculture sector last year.
We should be exporting much more at the rate of population and land we have. The problem is that what we are exporting now is mainly to places where there are Bengalis. It needs to be taken to the mainstream market. Then, we can earn a massive amount of foreign exchange from agriculture. Various organizations around the world are predicting food shortages. So, we need to build more storage capacity. The capacity for the transportation of food products should be increased. Processing should be improved. If the shelf life of what we produce can be extended through processing, it will play an important role.

Hiren Pandit is an essayist, researcher and columnist.

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