Every year, Bangladesh observes February 13 as Agriculturist Day. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had given agriculturists first class status in 1973 in a bid to make the profession attractive for brilliant students who can develop the agricultural sector in the long run. Agriculturists have become a valuable group of professionals since those times.
Agriculturists are graduates from agricultural universities or from similar departments of other universities. They play major roles in the planning and implementation of strategies and policies on agriculture which support national income and employment.
Krishibid Institution of Bangladesh (KIB) acts as the central body that looks after the education, employment opportunities, professional development, agricultural policies and development issues and other matters for all members and concerned agricultural agencies. On this day of every year, KIB organises various activities to review the achievement of agricultural graduates and strengthen their contributions for the development of the country.
Agriculturists are regarded as scientists in all areas of cultivation and raising livestock. They provide consultancy to farmers about proper soil management, breeding domestic animals and their living conditions, crop protection, environment sustainability and harvesting. Through their constant efforts nearly 25,000 agriculturists have been able to increase annual production of food grains, fish, meat and egg by three times since 1971. Statistics show that the number of PhD-level scholars in this field is far more than in any other sector in the country, which is a reflection of the number of researchers in the field. Many agriculturists regularly take part in government activities related to planning, appraisal implementation, execution and evaluation of agricultural policies and programmes in the country.
Besides sustaining and helping different stakeholders in the agricultural sector, agriculturists of the country have been coming up with processes and strategies for better diversification and commercialisation of agriculture. Their efforts have led to the development of drought and flood-tolerant varieties of rice and many other helpful agricultural products.
The relentless efforts of this group of scientists have increased the number of professionals in the sector. According to the Bangladesh labour force survey of 2013, the agricultural sector employed nearly 20.6 million people in 2013. This number is increasing with every passing year.
The number of women agriculturist is also on the rise. At the moment, the ratio of male and female students at Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University (SAU) is 50:50. This trend is encouraging for the development of the country as female agriculturists can not only be dedicated and sincere researchers, their involvement are also strengthening the scope of women empowerment in the country. Further, research has proven that as women professionals invest their money in the nutrition, education and health care of their children and families, this creates a multiplier effect that strengthens communities over time.
Agriculturists are contributing to food security and sustainability of the country. All should help and support the efforts of agriculturists for the sake of the country's economic growth and prosperity.
Kbd M Alamgir Hossain is an upazila election officer at Munshiganj town and a member of the Krishibid Institution of Bangladesh.
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