Bangladesh farmers urge government not to let MNCs undermine farmers’ rights

Bangladesh farmers urge government not to let MNCs undermine farmers’ rights

Enhanced capacity of BADC demanded

M H Munir, B I Chowdhury, Dhaka, April 6th 2014

Farmer leaders in Bangladesh urged the government not to let multi-national companies (MNCs) undermine the rights of farmers during a seminar entitled “Agriculture and Farmer-Friendly Budget: Public-Private Sector in Seed Management” held at the National Press Club of Bangladesh on April 2, 2014. The leaders also demanded that government allocate sufficient budget for the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) as they try to reign in the MNCs.

The seminar was jointly organized by Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Bangladesh Vumihin Samity, Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labor Federation, Labour Resource Center, Kendrio Krishok Moitri, Bangladesh Kishani Shova and COAST Trust.

The event was a part of the efforts of strengthening farmers’ organizations in Bangladesh under the Medium Term Cooperation Program (MTCP2).

Mustafa Kamal Akanda of COAST Trust moderated the seminar featuring a panel of speakers that included Mr. A Kha Ma Jahangir Hossain, MP and former State Minister to Textile; Mr. Shamsuzzaman Dudu of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP); Mr. Anwar Faruk, Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture; Mr. Dewan Siraj, presenter of BTV’s agriculture program; Mr. Ziaul Huq Muta of Oxfam Asia; and, Mr. Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara Trust.

In his keynote presentation Mujibul Haque Munir of COAST Trust said that the entire agriculture sector of the country is becoming more and more dependent on seeds sold by MNCs and local private sector companies.

He stressed the BADC should be capacitated if the country wants to get out of this situation. BADC is the public institute for agriculture that has been successfully contributing to agricultural development of Bangladesh since the liberation.

Furthermore, Munir noted that the contribution of BADC in providing seeds to farmers is decreasing day by day. He cited the case of Bt. Brinjal, which is being promoted in Bangladesh despite its hazardous health impact.

“BADC should have the capacity to monitor this kind of seed marketing,” He added.

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