“ According to the National Cancer Research Institute for the year 2015-2017, about one-third of the patients diagnosed with cancer in the hospital every year are farmers, most of them are lung cancer patients “.
Cancer detection rates among farmers are increasing because of excessive and uncontrolled use of fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals in agricultural production, as well as a lack of proper protection measures. Experts say in the Agroecological Agriculture Camp 2023 organized by Research Initiatives of Bangladesh (RIB) on 28 May 2023 in the Center on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP) auditorium of the capital city Dhaka that food that is free from chemical and biological contamination, protected from insects, and free from rotting is essentially called safe food. But safe food production and marketing are under threat of global food politics.
Under the moderation of Meghna Guhathakurta, Executive Director, Research Initiatives, Bangladesh (RIB), the keynote paper was presented by Suraiya Begum, Project Coordinator & Director, RIB, in the camp. In her keynote speech, Ms. Suraiya said agriculture is the main life force of the economy of Bangladesh. At present the total number of agricultural households in Bangladesh is 1,65,62,974 and the total cultivated land in the country is 87,96,892 hectares. But mostly agriculture of Bangladesh is fully dependent on corporatocracy. The use of chemical fertilizer, and pesticides are increasing day by day. Muhammad Abdur Rahaman, Director of the Center for People and Environ (CPE), and Deshojo Bazar said, the government of Bangladesh is in a controversial position in terms of safe food production and marketing. In 2016 though the government formulated the Safe Food Act 2016, the government also introduced GMOs as climate-smart varieties in the 8th Five Year Plan of Bangladesh.
In the camp, Pavel Partha, Director of the Bangladesh Resource Center for Indigenous Knowledge (BARCIK) said that the availability of local seeds is highly essential for safe food production. He also urges the conservation and dissemination of high-yielding indigenous seeds.
Dr. Md. Nazim Uddin, Senior Scientific Officer, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) said the yield rate in organic farming is relatively low. However, increasing soil fertility through organic methods and using high-yielding local seeds can gradually reduce this problem.
Kakoli Khan, Founder of Suddhokrishi (a women-led safe food merking hub) said that organic products are less attractive so consumers are not interested to consume such products. She also said that consumer behavior should be changed.
In the camp, Hamidur Rahman, Agriculturist (Ex-Director General, Dept. of Agricultural Extension); Razequzzaman Ratan, Assistant General Secretary, Bangladesher Somajtantrik Dal BASOD and President of the Socialist Labour Front; Professor Dr. Md. Rashidul Hasan, Agribusiness and Marketing Department, Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University; Shamsul Huda, Executive Director, Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD), Professor Dr. Gitiara Nasreen, Dept. of Mass Communication & Journalism, University of Dhaka and Board Member, RIB; Md Reza Ahmed Khan, Deputy Director, Department of Agricultural Marketing also delivered their valuable speech regarding safe food production and marketing in Bangladesh.