Razzaque for storage of organic agricultural produces

Food Minister Dr Abdur Razzaque on Tuesday stressed conducting more research to innovate technologies for the storage of organic agricultural produces.

“Cold storage is very expensive to store organic agro-produces like tomato and potato,” he told the inaugural session of a regional workshop in the city.

Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (Cirdap) organised the seminar at its international conference centre on improving grain storage at household level for food security in rural areas.

Local Government and Cooperative Division secretary Dr Mihir Kanti Majumder, Cirdap director general Dr Cecep Effendi and director Hossein Shahbaz, among others, spoke at the inaugural session.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Razzaqu said food grain storage is very important component in ensuring food security. “Historically, Bangladesh is a food deficit country due to natural hazards like flood, drought and cyclone… but there’s no food shortage at that time. Now we’re marginally surplus in food,” he said.

The Food Minister said the government is working hard to establish a dependable food security system in the country, but because of density of its population, limited resources and complex nature of food system, ensuring food security has been a challenging issue.

He said the government has given emphasis on boosting domestic food production and expending the social safety net programme in order to improve food security of the toiling masses. “The government is committed to promoting food security by providing necessary assistance and support of food and relief to vulnerable groups.”

To offer more remunerative prices to the farmers and to get better preparation in response to frequent natural hazards and other natural calamities, Dr Razaque said the government has drawn several programmes and projects to scale up the effective public storage capacity. It has already been increased from 1.4 million metric tonnes (MMT) in 2009 to 1.8 MMT in 2012 and projected to reach 2.1 million MMT by 2014.

“We’re planning to have over three million MMT of storage capacity at public level in commensurate with the pace of the population growth and other emerging challenges,” he said. Around 60 national and international experts on food security and grain storage systems took part in the regional workshop.