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Dr. Maqsudul Alam, Our Jute and Fungus Decoding September 24, 2012

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Few weeks back I was listening to a news in the TV stating that jute cultivators are in frustration as this year they lost their crops for fungus attack.

I was more than delighted hearing the news of Dr. Maqsudul Alam discovering the sequence of the fungus that destroy our jute.

The fungus – macrophomina phaseolina- is responsible for damaging jute and 500 more crops. 30% of the jute in our country are destroyed by this fungus causing loss of Tk. 4000 crore per year. By applying this gene code of fungus and jute code that he discovered 2 years back, new varieties of jute can be developed that will be finer in form and more resistant to fungus.

The project was financed by Bangladesh Government. The news was disclosed by the PM in the Parliament. The article was published in BMC Genomics on 17 September 2012. 17 scientists of different labs worked in the team. Final sequence of fungus gene was unveiled in the BARI laboratory, Dhaka.

Dr. Maksusul Islam has earlier decoded Papaya in USA and rubber plant in Malayasia.

Bangladesh has filed for patent right of Jute code and Fungus code, the patent right may bring billions of dollar to Bangladesh in future.

Congrats to Dr. Maqsudul Alam. He is a genius. He is a great hero for Bangladesh.

An ordinary citizen

One Farm, One home Project September 4, 2011

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One of the important agenda of the present govt is the one farm and one home project. The state minister for LGRD minstry said that govt is determined to see the project a success. He hopes that the process will create a revolution in Bangladesh.

But the eminent Economist and Researcher Dr. Hussain Zillur Ranman who was an adviser to last caretaker goverment said that the one farm, one home project is going to be a failure. He said that without any pilot project the idea is implemented at national scale.He added that policalistaion of the project will make the project a failure and wastage of national economy.

An ordinary citizen

Food security: Bangladesh to adopt seed technology to increase production August 10, 2008


Dr. Abed Chowdhury, an eminent Agriculture Scientist said ‘In Bangladesh 1 to 2 ton rice is produced per hector of paddy field. China and other developed countries in the same size of area produce 8 to 10 hector rice by utilizing modern technology. Population is gradually increasing but not the cultivating land which is causing
the food insecurity. In this background, there is no alternative other than to increase the utilization of technology in the agricultural sector.
He made the comment while speaking on the ways of food security in Bangladesh. He is known as gene scientist as his area of research is seed of crops.
He said that to increase the production of rice we have to bring the new technology to the field level. We have to increase the use of high yielding-‘Ufshi’ and hybrid rice.

He added that we should increase the exercise of seed science and technology from the state policy makers to farmers.
He pointed to the incident of Nandigram and said that it has been tried to popularize the Nandigram as a model by saying that villages will be improved by developing supermarkets and industries. Village people will work there. Criticizing this kind of attempt, he emphasizes on the development of the villages by keeping their character intact. He urges to save the agricultural fields.
In the light of his experience in Australia and Europe, he said that there is no alternative to using nature’s power in increasing rice production. Rice cannot be produced in factories. In this situation, agricultural land and technology is only the alternative.
In doing the comparative discussion of high yielding ‘Ufshi’, hybrid and genetically modified (GM) variety, he said that local varieties are selected by natural courses. In hybrids a new variety has been developed by fertilization between male and female variety after selecting from two different types of rice crops. IN GM, DNA from external resource is implanted in a rice seed to develop a new variety. In this way man are using new technologies to improve the production.
In reply to the question that hybrid rice decreases the cultivating power of the land,he said that every crop takes food from land and air. More the yield more the need of food. We have to overcome the need by using the fertilizers and biological materials. [Source; Prothom Alo 10 August 2008]

An ordinary citizen

Bangladesh budget 2008-09, Food Security & Agriculture June 25, 2008

Posted by bdoza in AGRICULTURE, BANGLADESH, Budget, ECONOMY, Food Security, GOVERNANCE.
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Budget states climate change calamities like drought, wildfire and floods have reduced the food production in many countries. Alternative use of crops to produce bio-fuels in the developed countries also reduced the food supply in the global food market. Besides the phenomenon growth in some densely populated countries has increased the aggregate demand of food. At the same time, due to overly cautious protectionist policy of the food-grain exporting countries, the price of food rises sharply. Due to hard work of our farmers along with the support of the government in the form of providing fertilizer and fuel, we had a bumper production of potato and wheat this year. This has largely reduced the vulnerability to food insecurity. In addition to overseas procurement by Food Directorate and BDR, efforts are continuing to import rice and wheat by incentivising the public sector. (more…)

‘Bangladesh with a little effort can become a rice exporting country’ June 23, 2008

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Bangladesh can produce seven crore tonnes of rice a year, more than double the present production, by ensuring proper irrigation and use of fertiliser, and bringing cultivable fallow lands under irrigation.
Excessive irrigation for Boro cultivation and lack of it for Aman now drastically reduce the yield of both, Daily star reports.
It is revealed in a study conducted by Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC).
The country now produces around three crore tonnes of rice a year with Boro output 3.66 tonnes per hectare and that of Aman a little above two tonnes. But Boro yield can be raised to six tonnes and Aman output to five tonnes a hectare, the study said.
The major factor behind the wide gap between present yield and potential output of Boro is excessive irrigation, says M Eftekharul Alam, assistant chief engineer of the BADC, who carried out the study for more than two decades
The study concludes that with little effort Bangladesh can transform itself into a rice exporting country.[DS]

An ordinary citizen

Post script:
The editorial of the paper said ‘in the food productivity challenge the modern method is the key’.[…]

Overcoming food crisis: Bangladesh has little or no shortage in food production! June 6, 2008

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I was also worried with the same question –’Is Bangladesh able to produce enough food to sustain its progressively increasing population’ until I read this article (in Bengali)of Dr. Sadat Hussain, Chairman, Public Service Commission and ex-Cabinet Secretary, Government of Bangladesh published in “Prothom Alo’, the leading Bangla daily on 6th June, 2008.

Dr. Sadat is an insider and he has long exposure to the facts of the state of Bangladesh.
He believes that there is no possibility that Bangladesh will suffer from severe food crisis in near future. The sense of insecurity arises in the minds of people because of 2 consecutive floods, Cyclone Sidr and difficulty in procure the 2-5 ton rice by the government to control the increasing price of rice, the main staple food of Bangladesh. (more…)

World food crisis, World Bank/IMF & Bangladesh April 20, 2008

Posted by bdoza in AGRICULTURE, BANGLADESH, ECONOMY, IMF, World Bank.
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The world is passing through a critical food crisis which has not affect the world for many decades. Already social uncertainty, political unrest and riots start off in many developing countries. […]

World Bank has warned that the present crisis will deepen and will create further deterioration in law and order situation in those countries. But the pity is that the warning from the World Bank came when the situation is already exposed. World Bank has failed miserably in forecasting the situation earlier and more significantly to suggest measures to offset the crisis early. (more…)

A visit to Grameen-Danone: the model of social business March 25, 2008

Posted by bdoza in AGRICULTURE, BANGLADESH, ECONOMY, People, Yunus.
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grameen-danone.jpgI felt an impulse to visit the Gramen-Danone plant when I learned from the internet that Grameen Danone is built on the model of social business- a concept knitted by Dr. Muhammad Yunus. ‘Social business is not to achieve personal gain but to pursue specific social goals’ he said in his book ‘Creating a World without Poverty-social business and the future of capitalism’.

I took a break of 2 days from my job and traveled 600 km to see the project by myself.

I took primary information from one of my friends staying at Bogra. Then I contacted the Resident Engineer who was in the charge of the project over telephone and expressed my interest and hinted that I may come any day.


Overcoming food crisis: would rationing system be a way out to sustain the lives of low income groups? March 19, 2008

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World Food Program predicted that the rising prices of food items especially rice may cause political instability in the country since poorer households spend up 80 percent of their income on food. The UN agency said that the possibility of political, economic and social unrest is growing as the price of food is rising much faster than people’s wages in Bangladesh.They opined that though there is a serious food shortage but it is not a femine condition. In Bangladesh , crops and harvests were wrecked by natural deserters , namely two floods and cyclone Sidr which devastated the south western coast.( Daily Star 19 Mar 08) (more…)

Shykh Seraj-a man dedicated to revolutionize the agriculture in Bangladesh February 13, 2008

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Shykh Seraj

Shykh Seraj had a program by the name ‘Maati O Manush’ in early 90s in the BTV, the only TV channel in Bangladesh available then. The program was also quite popular then and had workrd as a tool for the boom in poultry, livestock and agriculture in our country. People from all walks of life from farmers to academicians were used to enjoy the program.

For recording and reporting the program he had to visit different corners of the country. I had a small encounter with him when he came to our area to record a poultry farm over the roof and few livestock in the courtyard of a house. The boy who developed the poultry was a university student then. In this way Shykh Seraj motivated thousands of educated young and taught thousands of farmers on modern day technique of farming, the scope of fisheries and the art of poultry and livestock.

With the change of Government in 96, his program stopped and we missed him a lot. But within years he and his friends organized a TV channel and he restarted the program with a new name ‘Hidoye Maatii O Manush. Does the name signify anything? Does it indicate his cherished commitment to his ealier program? Likely.

We, the people of Bangladesh again started to enjoy the progrom with a new vision on agriculture and agriculturist.

In recent months the Adviser for Agriculture Dr. S. Karim also attended many field programs with Shykh Seraj and both tried to motivate people for better use of fertilizer, for better agriculture and to convey the message of the government to bridge up the difference between the farmers and the government.

We also enjoyed the programs recorded on the soil of other countries like China and see how agricultural and business opportunities may be created.

His recent introduction is the ‘ Krishsi Katha’ (News on Agriculture) as a component of regular news bulletin in Channel Eye, which is informing people and policy makers with progress and problems of agriculture in Bangladesh.

His presentation is unique and encouraging.. One of the best presentations to me is ‘Agriculture and farmers in Budget.’. He also talked with the Council of Advisers and Chief Adviser and made presentations before them on how to make the budget agriculture-friendly.

This man has been working relentlessly to revolutionize agriculture in our country deserves a national recognition. The government should think over it.

One of the sad scenarios in our country is that we don’t and can’t recognize a man when he deserves most for any case. We only recognize when someone else from outside world recognizes one.

The agricultural organizations and institutions should also ponder over his contribution and recognize him and support him to better disseminate his ideas to the people.

Shykh Seraj represents the spirit of ‘New Bangladesh’- a nonpartisan and more professional approach to solve the basic problems of Bangladesh.

An ordinary citizen

27 Feb 2008

Channel Eye of which Shayeek Siraj is one of the senior Executives declared Krishi Medal for 2008 and Keramat Ali who changes the fate of thousands of farmers by pioneering shrimp cultivation in southern Bangladesh got the prize.

4 Mar 2008

Shykh Siraj has recently presented few episodes from the sea in Thiland and from Vietnam. In Thailand episodes he projected the scientific utilization of the sea fish and mney earned by it. The Vietnam episodes described the dramatic improvement of agriculture in Vietnam by utilising the river resources, hybrid crops and use of local technology to improve their agriculture.

12 March 2008

Last few days SJ was telling from the ‘Haor area’ of Kishorganj where vast water areas remain underutilised and the fishermen and farmers are suppressed by the money lenders.

14 March 2008

He was speaking on the better seed availability to the farmers. Governmnet organisations can only supply part of the need and the quality of the seed is not good also. To compensate the deficit, a private initiative ‘Barendra seed production Project’ is producing seeds and also giving training to the farmers.

5 May 2008

SS is now working on improving the health care service of the farmers in collaboration with Japan Bangladesh friendship Hospital.

28 Ocober 2009
When the ordinary citizen was feeling frustrtaed over the lack of response from the Government and other acdemic institutions to recognise the contribution of Shykh Seraj, FAO the UN body on food and agriculture bestowed it’s award on him.[Ds]

Jute Industries: Golden fibre shouldn’t be faded August 18, 2007

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Some statistics in Jute sector:

From 77 Jute Industries in 70’s, now it is 14 in the Government sector. The no of labourers came down fom 250,000 to 45000, no of looms from 26000 to 8000, production of jute came to half.

Last year, Jute sector lost 421 crore of taka. Out of this, 30 crore is for labourers, 140 crore for the delay in the purchase of raw jute, 130 crore for lack of electricity.

In private sector, 56 industries are there; almost all are in bad shape. Looms are 11 thousand 700 in no. Last year only 3400 looms were productive. Only one and a half lac ton jute was produced in the last year though the target was 3 lac ton. 13 thousand permanent and 18 thousand temporary laborer work in the Private Jute mills.

But in private sector 65 twin and spinning mills are making profit. Here 36 thousand labourers are working.


Response to the raging flood August 4, 2007

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Flood is raging through Bangladesh. More and more areas are inundated. Roads and highways are under water, thousands are becoming homeless everyday, hectors of crops are going under water. Cattle are carried away by flowing water, more than 50 men are already died, people are not getting adequate shelter, not getting food to sustain themselves, children and olds are becoming sick easily.

In this crisis, Government is trying to give support to the distressed people. The Chief Adviser, the other advisers, the chief of Army themselves are going to the flood-hit area to distribute relief and to have a first hand knowledge of the situation. The chief Adviser urges for participation of all and stresses on the coordination of the relief work. The district and sub-district administrations are trying to arrange shelters and distribute food to the victims.

The Media is trying to cover the devastation as far as possible. They are portraying the miseries of the people and the failure of the Government to reach to the distressed .

The political parties are conspicuously absent from any relief activities as if the ban on indoor politics is refraining them from doing humanitarian works. Mrs. Matiya Chowdhury said that they could not participate because Government is not allowing them to display the banners and festoons. She also wants the Government to release Sk Hasina so that she could do the relief work. BNP is busy with their infighting. While visiting a flood hit area Dr. Kamal Hussain said that all irrespective of party and politics should stand by the side of the flood-hit people.

Where are the NGO’s? The absence of the NGO’s are also marked. Why they are not participating?

The Chief adviser launches a relief fund. It is expected that all who can afford willl donate generously to the fund. The Chief of Army Staff urges the talk show experts to the come to the flood-hit area and extend support to the poor physically.

The ordinary citizen believe that the country is passing through a serious natural calamity. In such a crisis all should take active part to relieve the distress of the people. During such calamity the responsibility is not only of the Government.

The people are also looking at the response the different sectors, public and private, are making to the need of the flood-hit people.


(an ordinary citizen)

Photo: Internet

‘Budget for Agriculture and Budget for farmers’ July 2, 2007

Posted by bdoza in AGRICULTURE, BANGLADESH, Budget.
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Mr. Shayeikh Siraj of Channel ‘I’ has presented some proposals on ‘Budget for Agriculture and Budget for farmers’ first to the Advisers of the CG and then to the Chief Adviser.

The proposals include the more allocation of budget to the Agricultural sector, allocation of more subsidy for the farmers, proper distribution of diesel and fertilizers to the farmers , proper distribution of improved seeds to the farmers, introduction of ID card for the farmers, to organize farmers Association for bargaining, to clarify the Govt stand on hybrid plants and fruits, for increasing vertical production in the Agricultural field etc.

The advisers appreciated the efforts made by Mr. Siraj to organize the farmers, to develop a communiqué with them and to prepare the proposals. The Finance Adviser told that he will try to accommodate the money related proposals in his next budget and the management related proposals will be implemented this financial year.

In his reaction to the proposals, Chief Adviser Dr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed told that he was thinking on the ways how to improve the state of the farmers in Banglades, the proposals will help him a lot in that respect.

Bangladesh is an Agricultural Country and most of the people of our country are farmer by profession. Still our Agriculture remains primitive in nature and our farmers remain the poorest of the society. Our farming not improved with age. The successive Govt didin’t pay much heed to it.

Time has come to change our outlook and pay more attention to our Agriculture.

Thanks to Shayeik Siraj for the trouble he is taking to make us and our Government aware about the need of the Agricultural sector in our country.

People will remember him.