Cabinet approves new policy to ensure profitable agriculture

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Dhaka: The Cabinet on Monday approved the draft of ‘The National Agriculture Policy 2018’, aiming to ensure profitable agriculture and nutrition and food security in the country.

The approval was given at the weekly meeting of the Cabinet held at Bangladesh Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

“The new agriculture policy has been formulated incorporating some new issues following the expiry of the Agriculture Policy 2013,” said Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam while briefing reporters after the meeting.

He said some new issues have been incorporated in the draft of the new policy including research on agriculture development, technology transfer and agriculture extension, mechanisation, specialised agriculture, ICT, marketing of agricultural products, women empowerment and nano-technology.

Shafiul Alam said, “The main goal of the policy is to ensure food security and socio-economic development through productivity of crops, boosting production and raising farmers’ income, diversifying crops, producing safe foods and developing marketing system, profitable agriculture and use of natural resources.”

About the nano-technology in the agriculture sector, the Cabinet Secretary said, primarily and nano-technology will be used to identify diseases in crops, determine the demand of generic nutrition and increase the capability of collection of nutrition.

Besides, sensor-technology will be used to examine the quality of land, he said.

The Cabinet also approved in principle the draft of “The Bangladesh Shishu Academy Bill, 2018” bringing some changes in the existing law.

The Cabinet Secretary said the draft bill is the updated version of the existing Bangladesh Shishu Academy Ordinance 1976 which was promulgated during the military regime.

In the draft bill, the post of director of Bangladesh Shishu Academy has been upgraded to Director General. “And the Director General will be a fulltime official,” he said.

Shafiul Alam said the governance and administration of this academy will be entrusted with a 17-member management board headed by a chairman.

The other members will be Director Generals of Bangla Academy, Shilpakala Academy and Shishu Academy, Dean of Fine Arts Faculty of Dhaka University, joint secretary-level representative each from Women and Children Affairs Ministry, Finance Division, Social Welfare Ministry, Information Ministry, Cultural Affairs Ministry, Primary and Mass Education Ministry, Health Services Division and Shishu Kalyan Parishad and ICT Division as well as four persons, including at least two women, to be appointed by the government for their special contributions to development of children.

The Cabinet Secretary said a new provision has been incorporated in the clause 8 of the draft bill to confer fellowship titled ‘honorary fellow’ to the persons involved in flourishing children by their outstanding contribution to education, language, literature, Arts and culture, sciences and society.

There will be a 7-member committee for giving the Bangladesh Shishu Academy Honorary Fellow, he said.

Shafiul Alam said the headquarters of the academy will be in Dhaka, its branches can be set up in divisional cities on the government’s permission.

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