State intervention in food market desirable, information minister Inu says

Published: October 18, 2017 14:06:29 | Updated: October 25, 2017 04:15:30

File photo shows trucks standing laden with rice, the prices of which have recently soared causing the government to import it from a few countries, including Myanmar and Cambodia.

Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu has said government intervention was needed to ensure food security, safety and adequacy.

The minister was speaking at a seminar on food security at the VIP lounge of the Jatiya Press Club in capital Dhaka on Wednesday.

Recollecting his days as the founding general secretary of the Awami League's farmer's front organization "Jatiya Krishak League" in early 1972 Inu said that Bangabandhu felt the need for such an organization. "In that capacity I had to travel a lot across the country." he said.

"I travelled a lot in villages and learnt bountifully from the farmers and saw for myself the transformation of agriculture," he said. Coming to contemporary times, he said that agriculture for that matter food security could not be left to market forces. "It would be disastrous if that happens," he said.

Adding that state intervention in agriculture was not only necessary but also desirable to attain food self-sufficiency and food security, reports BSS.

"Investment in food, education and health was a good idea and it would give higher returns although such revenue may be delayed," he said. "It's not a hand-out, it's the best possible investment", he emphasised.

He said that he felt that a Food Safety Law needed to be enacted and he would continue to lobby for it till it was realized.

"Like IT, food too was a fundamental right," he said.

Explaining the diversification of product during the current regime, he said that it was possible because of the sound policies pursued by the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

He also emphasised the need to adopt policies that would encourage diversification of the rural economy and kept food prices within the purchasing power of the common man.

It is done in Western countries who preach free market economy to developing nations. "If it was that bad why were they doing it?" he questioned.

The minister also asked scientists to do research on how agriculture and access to its products by poor people could be increased.

Inu also asked those engaged in research to find out ways and means to adopt policies to cope with the challenges of climate change.

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