Green revolution on every inch of land18 November 2022
Dr. M. Mesbahuddin Sarker :
On November 11, 2022, in a rally organized on the occasion of Jubo-League's 50th anniversary and golden jubilee, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called upon the youth to return to their villages and cultivate uncultivated land and become self-reliant. If the educated youths of the country can be employed in agriculture, the quality of products will improve, fair price of agricultural products will be ensured and consumers will get safe food. If agriculture-based industries can be developed in the country according to demand, educated youths will get more opportunities in their area, thus proper use of agricultural land will be ensured. The country will benefit economically. Although the Prime Minister made this announcement in the Jubo-League rally, she basically made this call for all the patriots of the country. In China, Japan, India and other developed countries, agriculturists are seen cultivating the fields with modern agricultural equipment. In our country, this picture is almost opposite.
There are currently 10 agricultural universities in Bangladesh. There are 4-year agricultural diploma courses in public and private institutions under the Board of Technical Education. A large number of students are passing out from here every year. In a small country there is no government job for such a large number of agriculturists. The soil of Bangladesh is very fertile. Three crops can be produced here in a year, which is very rare in the world. As our farmers are not trained in modern scientific methods, farming is done like old ways here. As a result, the desired outputs are not obtained. In such a situation, these educated young agriculturists can train the existing farmers and apply their knowledge in agriculture. If we can make a revolutionary change in crop production, there will be an opportunity to export food abroad to meet the needs of the country.
Youths are the main tool of socio-economic development and social change in a country. In the green agricultural revolution, their talent and hard work can create a serious revolution in food production and processing. They can advise the elderly farmers in the villages to cultivate the land and grow crops using improved seeds and modern scientific methods. They can help the farmers in welfare activities such as timely use of fertilizers, irrigation, weather information etc. They can play a role in selling and marketing the crops. The rural communication system is now very well developed and can buy the produce from the farmers at a fair price and involve themselves in storage, warehousing and supply.
Nowadays, fish farming and poultry farming is a very profitable business which can be started with little capital. With a little diligent, can provide employment for many people around us. In this case, the government can provide financial support to them. The main tool of the fourth industrial revolution is IoT (Internet of Things), where everything is controlled by the Internet and smart devices. If information technology infrastructure, uninterrupted power supply and high-speed Internet access are guaranteed in the villages, these educated youths can manage fisheries, gardening and crop care etc. through IoT at home. If we can make them skilled workers by giving them necessary training and hands-on education for these jobs, they will never go to the cities again. They will focus on the production of crops on the agricultural land in the village itself, forming the basis of trade and residence. If given proper training, these youths will turn to agriculture instead of selling their ancestral property and going abroad.
Like all over the world, regular activities in Bangladesh collapsed due to Corona pandemic. Although people in most of the working sectors had to remain idle due to the sudden closure caused by the pandemic, only the farmers were busy growing crops as usual. Besides, during the Corona period, mostly the low-income people who lost their jobs returned to their villages. They cultivated their own land as well as other abandoned land around their houses. As a result, even after this ongoing world recession, the people of Bangladesh do not go without food. We must say with gratitude that it has been possible for the contribution of farmers of Bangladesh. They help us survive in this difficult time. They kept the rural economy alive.
According to the latest report of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the total land area in the country is 3 crore 64 lakh 65 thousand acres. Out of this, 2 crore 81 thousand acres of land is cultivated. Besides, about 6 lakh 71 thousand acres or 6 crore 71 lakh hundred acres of land is not being used for cultivation despite being arable, which is about 1.84 percent of the total land. According to the United Nations, young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are called youth. In Bangladesh, this figure is from 18 to 35 years, which is about 34 percent of the total population, i.e. about 5 crore. If this large part of the population plays a role in the development of the country, it will not take much time to build Sonar Bangla. And this was the call of our Prime Minister to the youth. Of course, agriculture is now the workplace of educated, lively, brave, energetic young men and women. In order to be self-sufficient in food, we should strive to use every inch of land in response to the call of the Prime Minister to produce as much food as possible. Incentives or monthly allowances should be given to bona fide farmers by making a list of them.
With must agree with our Prime Minister that we should not leave even an inch of our land uncultivated. The elderly grandparents, mothers and aunts staying at home along with the youth can plant vegetables, fruits etc. around the courtyard of the house. Youths can plant a variety of fruit trees like hybrid mango, coconut, palm, dates along the railways, highways and rural roads which may start bearing fruit within a short period of time.
(The writer is Professor, Institute of Information Technology, Jahangirnagar University).