Stop selling bad agro-inputs, demand greensStaff Correspondent
Farmers and rights activists on Friday demanded that selling of adulterated and low-quality seeds, pesticides and fertilisers be stopped to save farmers from incurring loss and ensure the country’s food safety.
A section of corrupt traders have built strong syndicates countrywide to do illicit business of substandard seeds and adulterated fertilisers and pesticides, they said, demanding their arrest and stern punishment.
The demands came from a morning rally jointly organised by non-governmental organisations Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods and Nagarik Sanghati in front of the National Museum in the city.
Five farmers from different parts of the country staged their symbolic protest covering their heads and bodies with pieces of black cloth and holding placards that read their demands.
The syndicates launch attractive advertisements to which farmers often fall easy prey because living in the rural areas and being illiterate or semi-literate they often lack necessary information about the agro-inputs sold in market, the speakers said.
They also complained that a section of government officials of the departments concerned were involved in underhand dealings in allowing the agro-companies to market their low-quality seeds and other agricultural inputs.
Farmers at the rally spoke about their crop failure caused by bad seeds they bought from market.
They said tomato production failed at Godagari upazila in Rajshahi in 2010, watermelon and paddy production in Noakhali in 2011 and maize in Meherpur in 2011.
The speakers also observed that low-quality fertilisers and pesticides affected the soil fertility too.
Several demands were raised at the rally.
They said amendment should be made to the existing seed policy and law, incorporating provisions for farmer’s compensation when they faced loss in crop production due to bad seed bought from market.
The government was urged to ban the companies found to import substandard seeds and adulterated pesticides and fertilisers.
Initiatives were suggested to locally produce high-quality seeds and launch campaigns to popularise the local high-yielding varieties.
Strengthening of the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation and Seed Certification Agency was also emphasised to produce adequate quality seeds and encourage farmer-lever seed preservation.
Chaired by Nagarik Sanghati general secretary Sharifuzzaman Sharif, the rally was addressed by Jatiya Krishak Jote joint convener Anwarul Islam Babu, Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan former general secretary Mahidul Haque Khan, farmer Abdul Aziz from Kishoreganj and United People’s founder Trust Mohammad Ali Hazari.
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