Young Bangla of the Centre for Research and Information (CRI), held its 48th Let’s Talk event on July 12, 2023, in Sylhet Agricultural University (SAU), Sylhet. Let’s Talk is a policy discussion and idea-sharing platform between young minds and policymakers in Bangladesh. The 48th Let’s Talk, organized by Young Bangla, CRI focused on the ‘Blue & White Revolution’ with the participation of over 200 students from the Sylhet Division.
The interactive session featured a panel of esteemed speakers, including S. M. Rezaul Karim MP, Honorable Minister, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock; Suborna Mustafa MP, Member, Sub-Committee of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Cultural Affairs; Prof. Dr. MD Jamal Uddin Bhuiyan, Vice-Chancellor, Sylhet Agricultural University; and Dr. Salma Sultana, JBYA Achiever, Founder, Model Livestock Institute Dhaka.
At the Let’s Talk event, several issues related to the Blue & White Revolution in Bangladesh were discussed including the research and job sector in the fisheries and livestock, the impact of the blue economy, governmental initiatives, projects, and funding in this sector, entrepreneurship in the blue and white economy, digitalization and uses of technology in animal husbandry, price hike in the animal industry, and moral obligations towards wild and pet animals.
S M Rezaul Karim MP, Honorable Minister, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock mentioned many success stories of the government. He mentioned, “103 types of fishers were on the verge of extinction where with sheer determination; through research, governmental support and scientific approach we revived 33 species of fishes. Thus we have increased the production of fish. Before only prawns were exported, now we export local fish in 52 countries. We are trying to diversify fish products. To make this vision a success we are planning to ensure new projects and exempt 300% tax for those who want to import fish food processing equipment.”
Besides, he mentioned the tax exemption for the feed importers and free distribution of feeds, pesticides, fertilizer, and seeds to the entrepreneurs from the government. He also mentioned several governmental projects, training facilities, uses of modern technologies, research funding, and waivers in the field of fisheries shedding light on the scope and future of entrepreneurship and job opportunities in this field. The minister also assured the students that the government will take necessary steps in their favor regarding public sector employment, educational degrees, and funding.
Suborna Mustafa MP found Let’s Talk a very important platform to share views with the students and exchange knowledge. Being an avid animal lover, she expressed the necessity for having a properly equipped veterinary hospital and pet cemetery.
Besides explaining the importance of roof farming, Suborna stressed the fact that “In this era of information technology when the world is at your fingertips, awareness campaigns and outreach to the root levels of the country is not only possible but also a necessity. Besides feed and uses of technology, awareness building to the mass level is very crucial for the blue economy.” She encouraged the students to be respectful of their duties and follow rules and regulations which is salient for them to have a bright future.
Vice-Chancellor of Sylhet Agricultural University Prof. Dr. MD Jamal Uddin Bhuiyan was delighted that the students were very conscious and aware of the blue-and-white economy. He emphasized the fact that due to enormous governmental subsidies in this field, students and teachers are getting enough funding for research and scientific projects. While denoting the development in the white economic sector, he mentioned that “Due to artificial insemination in root level farms, this year the production of cows surpassed and around 26 lakh cows were surplus during Eid-ul-Adha”. He also encouraged the students to contribute more to the research and pursue their careers in their relevant fields.
JBYA achiever Dr. Salma Sultana had been a great inspiration for young potential entrepreneurs who envision having a career in this field. By sharing her journey of self-employment in this sector she elucidated the challenges and ways of overcoming them to become successful. In her words, “The production of milk and meat has increased greatly but there are some challenges as well. To meet these challenges, the youth can come forward as young entrepreneurs”.
The discussion ended with a rapid-fire round where students expressed their dreams in the blue and white revolution. Strict monitoring of the feed prices, controlling prices of the animal industry, execution of telemedicine, eradication of the quacks, quality control of meat and ensuring organic meat to consumers, ensuring safe and secure space for wild and pet animals by addressing cruelty against animals are the topics that students shed light on. The minister S. M. Rezaul Karim MP motivated the students to keep an aim in life, valuing and remembering the spirit of liberation war which is the key to success in life.