Agriculture Minister Md Abdur Razzak said the government has taken initiatives to modernise agriculture through mechanisation on priority basis.
He said the government is providing agricultural machinery to farmers at 50-60% subsidy. Besides, the process of appointing agricultural engineers at the field level is underway, in order to increase use of agricultural machinery at marginal level.
He made the comments while addressing a seminar titled 'Agricultural Mechanisation in Bangladesh: Present and Future' as the chief guest at IEB auditorium in the capital on Thursday afternoon. The seminar was organised by Department of Agricultural Engineering of Institute of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB).
The agriculture minister said most of the agricultural machinery comes from abroad, which is also very expensive. Therefore, we are making efforts to supply these equipment at low cost to the farmers to increase the use of technology at the marginal level.
"Emphasis is being put on manufacturing machinery and spare parts locally. In the meantime, we have discussed with several parties including Japan's Yanmar Company and India's Mahindra, requesting them to set up machinery or set up assembling factories of agricultural machinery in the country. If we can produce machinery locally, the price of such machinery will go down as well as employment will increase at the local level," he said, adding that Japan's Yanmar has already promised to set up at least one machinery assembly plant in the country.
Calling upon the engineers to come forward in the fields of agricultural mechanisation and agro processing, the minister said we have to work with all the components of mechanisation. Agricultural engineers need to be innovative and creative.
The seminar, presided over by Engineer Md Moazzem Hussain Bhuiyan, Chairman, Department of Agricultural Strategy of IEB, was also addressed by IEB President Engineer Md Nurul Huda, Agricultural University teachers Professor Md Manjurul Alam, Professor Shahadat Hossain Shiblu, Engineer Misbahuzzaman Chandan and Engineer Shafiqul Islam Sheikh.
Chief Engineer of the Department of Farm Machinery and Post Harvest Process Engineering of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute Ayub Hossain presented the key note at the seminar.
Speakers at the seminar said that it is becoming more and more difficult to find agricultural workers in times of need. The use of machinery in agriculture will reduce the time required for crop production as well as reduce the cost of production. Farmers will be encouraged to engage in commercial farming and the labour crisis will be resolved.