Govt plans to raise crop procurement rate: Muhith

Haor areas highly vulnerable to climate change, says Speaker Hamid

Finance Minister AMA Muhith

Recognising that the farmers are not getting the fair prices of their produces, Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Saturday said the government was trying to raise the crop procurement rate.

�The major problem is that they (farmers) are not getting the good price. We�re trying to raise the government�s procurement rate,� he said mentioning that the farmers will have a good harvest in the current season.

Muhith came up with the remark while presiding over the Second National Haor (large water bodies) Conference at the city�s Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council (Barc).

He, however, said the government extended its support to the crop growers at the input level and that support will continue so that they do not suffer losses.

A number of local NGOs, different institutions and international organisations, including UNDP and the European Union, organised the conference.

Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Abdul Hamid spoke at the function as the chief guest while parliament members Mujibul Haque, Matur Rahman, Rebeka Mubin and journalist Hasan Sharier attended it as special guests.

Speaker Abdul Hamid observed that the country�s haor areas located in Netrakona, Sunamganj, Sherpur and Sylhet districts are totally different in nature and are highly vulnerable to climate change. �Many rivers are also drying up as they lost their natural flows.�

Expressing his helplessness in drawing the government attention, Abdul Hamid said many areas are still far away from the touch of development. �I�ve failed to do that though the local people who live in haor areas elected me MP for eight times since 1971,� the Speaker said in an emotion-choked voice.

Demanding introduction of 20 percent special incentives or allowances for the government employees posted in haor areas, he said, they (employees) now do not want to stay there because of recurrent floods.

He also said the existing law does not allow leasing out of any flowing river. �But virtually big rivers in haor areas are being leased out for which rivers are facing devastation. Genuine fishermen are being restricted from fishing in those rivers.�

Responding to the Speaker�s demand, the finance minister said there is no disagreement with the demand in principle. �But the government is trying to build permanent residential buildings for the government employees in the areas so that they do not have to leave areas in the face of floods,� he added.

He suggested that there should be steel-structure so that floods cannot damage those and introducing floating hospitals for haor areas to address the people�s healthcare problems.

The finance minister requested the participants of the conference to make pragmatic recommendations to address the problems of the haor areas.

Source: The Daily Star

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