Minister for Agriculture Dr Md Abdus Shahid said on Saturday that the production of pulses in the country has increased 4-fold in the past 15 years, due to the agriculture-friendly policies of the present government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Moreover, the invention of some improved varieties and technologies by the countrys scientists also contributed to the production, he said.
The minister revealed this information while addressing an international seminar organised by Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) marking World Pulses Day at Hotel Le Meridien in Dhaka Saturday afternoon.
He informed that nine lakh tonnes of pulses were produced in the country in Fiscal Year (FY) 2022-2023 while the production was only two lakh tonnes in FY 2008-09 with a deficit of one-third of the countrys demand.
Stressing the need for invention of improved varieties, supplying standard seeds sufficiently and using technology, he said their goal is now to become self-sufficient in pulses.
Moreover, the cultivation of pulses in saline, drought and char areas will have to be increased by inventing climate resilient varieties through collaboration with international research institutes, he said, adding that the government is working towards the goal. Presenting the keynote paper of the seminar, AKM Mahbubul Alam, chief scientific officer of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), said the demand for pulses in the country is about 25 lakh metric tonnes.
Of them, one-third is produced locally while the rest has to be imported to meet local demand, he said, adding that an amount of Tk 9,000 crore was spent on pulses import last year.
Paddy is cultivated on 76 percent of the cultivable land in the country while pulses are cultivated on only 2.40 percent, he mentioned in the keynote paper.
Chaired by Agriculture Secretary Wahida Akter, Executive Chairman of Agricultural Research Council Sheikh Md Bakhtiar, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) Director General Debashish Sarker, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Bangladesh Representative Jiaoqun Shi and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) Country Director Rudaba Khandaker, among others, spoke on the occasion.
A total of 150 representatives from national and international organisations (OCP, OCPF, Morocco, ICARDA, India, World Veg, Thailand and Canada) participated in the event. —UNB
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