Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, Wednesday, said the appointment of field-level agricultural engineers has begun in order to mechanise farms; the move should benefit farmers and local entrepreneurs.
The minister said this while inaugurating an annual workshop titled "Appropriate Agri-Machinery: The Key to Sustainable Food Security in Bangladesh." The programme was arranged under the Appropriate Scale Mechanization Innovation Hub project being implemented by the Bangladesh Agricultural University.
Razzaque said the government recently approved a Tk3,020-crore farm mechanisation project to popularise agricultural machinery. The National Farm Mechanisation Policy 2020 has also been formulated.
"Work is underway to set up the Agricultural Engineering Wing at the Department of Agricultural Extension [DAE] and to recruit agricultural engineers at the field level," said the minister.
The agriculture minister said the labour crisis, hiked labour costs and natural calamities increase costs and disrupt production. With the traditional method, paddy is harvested and threshed by the hard work of many labourers – which ultimately raises production costs.
He said appropriate farm machinery needs to be used – tailored to the geographical and agricultural environment – to make agriculture profitable.
Noting that the government is focusing on locally manufacturing farm machinery, the minister said, "We are encouraging local firms and entrepreneurs so that we do not have to completely rely on imported farm equipment in future."
Razzaque stressed the importance of manufacturing farm machinery locally and modifying the imported equipment to make it more suitable for the country.
For this, agricultural universities, research institutes, government extension institutes, and non-governmental organisations will have to work together to research on, develop and popularise agricultural machinery, said Abdur Razzaque.
Bangladesh Agricultural University, Kansas State University and the University of Illinois are jointly implementing the Feed the Future and Appropriate Scale Mechanization Innovation Hub-Bangladesh research projects in Bangladesh.
The main objective of this study is to ensure food security by using appropriate equipment to save on time, labour and cost. The four-year project is being implemented in four upazilas of southern Bangladesh.