On 17-23 October 2014 SRC meeting of MTCP-II took place in Hanoi, Vietnam. In the meeting the strategic plan for 2015 was finalized. There were lots of other things brainstormed during the meeting. An evaluation was also made for the last one year activities. On behalf of Bangladesh’s NIA Badrul Alam and Mujibul Hoque Munir coordinator and staff respectively attended the SRC. Both they played very important role in the meeting. They also participated in the field visit for firsthand experience in the agriculture of Vietnam.
On 10-13 October 2014 the Asia Europe Peoples Forum took place in Milan, Italy. Bangladesh Krishok Federation President Badrul Alam took part in the forum intervening in plenary and different workshop on different issues including climate change, renewable energy, zero waste, food sovereignty, peace and democracy, etc. He was panel speaker in one of the workshops organized by JSAPMDD. He stressed on the climate change and demanded justice to the developed industrial countries. He also invited the participants to attend the South Asian Climate Justice, Gender and Foodsovereingty caravan in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. From the AEPF 3 member delegates were mandated to speak on the ASEM where heads of the countries gathered the solidarity between Asia and Europe. The representatives of the ASEM were also present and spoke in the AEPF.
On 1-5 October 2014 Bangladesh Krishok Federation President participated in the workshop-symposium parallel to official CBD conference held in Piangchang city in South Korea. The KWPA were the key host of the events organized there. They brought out rallies towards the convention center. Badrul Alam spoke in behalf of the rallies. He said that the local seed is the future of humanity. Transgenic seed is dangerous. It will destroy the biodiversity and contaminate the whole eco-system which is detrimental to the human being. He told the participants to resist transgenic seeds in order to save the local seed which is healthy and viable.
Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labor Federation(BAFLF) was establish in 1978. Since its inception it has been fighting for the right of agricultural farm labors in different sectors of the government that are dealing the agriculture, such as BRRI, BARI, BADC, NATA, sugar mill factories, etc. At the beginning, the workers of these sectors were very low-paid and were humiliated in different ways by the official high-ups. Raising voice against all these irregularities 28 leaders and workers got arrested and put into jail those days. Even they had to stage 68 days strike at stretch in early eighties. As a result, in early 1990 the then government was compelled to introduce a manual for agricultural labor called 'Agricultural Farm Labor Recruitment and regulation manual' By dint of long and persistent struggle the organization achieved many significant successes that broke through the long standing deprivation of labors.
They have been able to increase in salary pay at different times, increase in yearly festival bonus from one to two, execution of maternity leave provision, provision of gratuity, etc.
BAFLF is still on the street for the interest of agricultural labors. The leaders are also pursuing in the different ministries concerned for the betterment of the labors. The President and General Secretary of the federation are the members of Inter-governmental Ministerial Committee on Agricultural Labor. With this reference to, they are pressing the issue of salary increase of regular and irregular labors working in different agricultural sectors. Recently a circular from the both Ministry of Finance and Agriculture published contains the proposal of salary increase from Tk.260/- to Tk.300/- for regular labors and Tk. 230/- to Tk. 260/- for irregular labors. It might come into effect soon that benefits all labors working in these sectors.
On 22 May 2014 Badrul Alam, President of Bangladesh Krishok Federation and Sabina Yasmin, Member of Bangladesh Kishani Sabha visited BAFLF based in Gajipur near the capital city of Dhaka. They attended a big gathering of agricultural labors, both male and female in the auditorium of BRRI. In this gathering BAFLF General Secretary Abdul Majid raised the increased numbers of holidays required for the labors. He also claimed weekly holiday for agricultural labors. Mr. Majid emphasized the inclusion of agricultural labor in the national wage and pay commission and the need for particular law in favor of agricultural labors of Bangladesh. Other leaders like Sarowar, Mamun also spoke on the same issues. Badrul Alam who was invited as chief guest expressed solidarity with the demands of agricultural labors and made commitment to recommend for the member ship of BAFLF in La Via Campesina, an international Network of peasants' organization. He also expressed to work together on different national and international issues namely climate change, food sovereignty and gender. In the after noon, there was a short visit to BARI, NATA, Seed Certification Agency and its workers and their leaders.
Afterwards they joined another meeting of workers in BADC(Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation). The leaders of BADC warmly welcomed visiting leaders and described their plight as worker. They said BNP led 4 Party Alliance at the prescription of WB/IMF had retrenched 1604 workers with so called golden hand shake that was totally against the willingness of workers and really disaster to their life ad livelihood. The alliance government also handed over the seed marketing business and irrigation system to the private hand which cause serious problem in the activities BADC. Because of this, the reputation of BADC is under threat. The BADC labor leader Mr. Nantu and other leaders asked for catastrophic and medical support for the labor. Their key leader Abdul Majid promised to fight for increase of gratuity from 30 months which the labors have now to 60 months at the end of their service life. They as well continued fight for the realization of the government law of 6 months maternity leave from the existing 3 months leave which BADC management has been still following.
National Seminar on Post 2015 Development Agenda: Towards a Transformative and Rights Based Development Framework was held in VIP Lounge of National Press Club organized by Voice, a Right based organization. The seminar was presided by eminent economist Dr. Khaliquzzaman who is the Chairman of PKSF. Ahmmed Swapan, Executive Director of VOICE moderated the seminar while many others including Independent MP, Dr. Rustum Ali Farayji spoke in the seminar. Ahmmed Swapan stressed on the human right approach of the future development frame. Rashed Al Titomir emphasized the ideological aspect of the framework which will serve the people's aspiration. He made an elaborate proposal for the post 2015 development framework.
Dr. Khaliquzzaman has engagement with the formulation of country level development and contribution to the international one as well. He is also actively engaged in the negotiation procession around climate change issue. He strogly advocated that the rich country should provide their historical dues to the underdevelopment countries with no compromise. This should be not debt/loan or any other things. He added that the national development framework should be formalized with different stakeholders for its effectiveness.
Bangladesh Krishok Federation was invited to the seminar to intervene. Badrul Alam, President of Bangladesh Krishok Federation intervened raising the question of world hunger. He expressed the opinion that in terms of reducing hunger the MDG failed. In 2000 it identified 852 million hungry people in the world and promised to halve it within 2015 but now it is more than 1 billion. It means the hungry people is on the rampant. Mr. Alam added that the concept of food security is not able to solve the problem. The question of food sovereignty should be prioritized that ultimately advocates an agro-ecological method of farming. He pointed out that the the report of Olivier De Shutter who is the special rapporteur of Right to Food Council of UNO. His report was submitted to the UNO expressing optimism that if the small scale farmers are allowed to go the agro-ecological method farming the production of food in the world should double with in 10 years. Moreover, the international Network of Peasants' organization, La Via Campesina has been promoting the food sovereignty concept as principle in food production system and pushing the issue in different international institutions concerned but it is not complied with due to the influence of TNCs, specially the agro-business companies. Mr. Alam expressed the opinion that new development framework as post 2015 should be formulated considering failure of past goals and targets. The development goals should be defined in pragmatic way rather than take into consideration the agenda set by the TNCs in line with neo-liberal economic model.
On 18 May 2014 Bangladesh Krishok Fedration and Bangladesh Kishani Sabha, Charfasion Sub-district Unit under Bhola district staged a demonstration in front of Charfasion UNO office (Sub-district Executive Officer) demanding Khasland distribution among genuine landless people including 5 points enshrined in a memorandum addressed to Deputy Commissioner of Bhola through UNO. The memorandum was handed over to the UNO who made commitment to send the memorandum with essential note to the DC (Deputy Commissioner) who is the district chief of the administration. Moreover, the UNO asked the leaders of BKF and BKS to keep in touch of the administration so that they can get the real picture about the filed. The demonstration was presided over by Abdul Mannan Melker who is the president of BKF Charfasion Upzilla Unit. Bangladesh Central President Badrul Alam was as chief guest in the demonstration. Former female Vice-chairman of Manpura Upzila next to Cahrfasion, Labu, Bhola district leader of BKF, Alam Bachchu, Central Assistant General Sectary of BKF, Hazrat Ali, BKS leader Sabina Yasmin spoke to the gathering, among others.
BKF president Badrul Alam urged the landless people of Sikdarerchar from where most of the landless people joined demonstration to be united against the culprits who have been trying to remove the landless men and women for the Khasland over the years. He added that landless people have their right to enjoy the Khaslnad according to land manual of the country. So, no body can expropriate the landless people. He exclaimed with sorrows that some traitors to landless people gained from the Khasland and acted against the landless people. He warned them that their days are over. The unity and solidarity of landless people would kick them out.The 5 point demands are as bellow:
1. Khasland of Sikdarerchar should be distributed among the landless people who are in possession
2. All the false and fabricated cases filed against the landless leaders should be withdrawn immediately
3. All kinds of false and forged settlement documents should be repealed
4. Legal action must be taken against the land terrorists and miscreants who very often attacked on landless people in sikdarerchar
5. Security should be ensured for the landless people living in the remote island Sikdarrchar.
A procession was brought out before the demonstration and paraded the streets of the Upzila headquarter. The ordinary people supported the demands during procession.
On 17 April 2014, The member organization of La Via Campesina, Bangladesh Krishok Federation(BKF), Bangladesh Kishani Sabha(BKS) and Bangladesh Adivasi Samity organized a discussion meeting in observance of International Peasant Struggle Day focusing this year's theme slogan "Resistance grows in defense of seeds". Presided over by Badrul Alam, President of Bangladesh Krishok Federation, the meeting was held in its Central Office based in Motijheel, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The meeting called up on the small scale peasants worldwide to build strong resistance struggle in order to protect, conserve and restore the indigenous seeds and genetic resources. The meeting slated the TNCs' efforts to take over the peasants seeds which has been evolved since thousands of years. The meeting also put emphasis the strengthening of the Global Campaign on Food Sovereignty.
BKF President Badrul Alam said that the introduction and approval of Bt brinjal in Bangladesh is the wrong decision undertaken by the government. He also added the government should review the decision and reject Bt. brinjal for the interest of the peasants as well as consumers in the country. He told the meeting that the conscious people of the country should organically build strong resistance against the wrong decision of the government. Expressing his deep concern he said this genetically engineered brinjal seed would contaminate the local seeds and be more detrimental to the environment, soil and human health. Calling up the adverse impact of green revolution Badrul Alam urged the government to come up with a genuine national agrarian policy which will prioritize the sustainable peasants based agriculture including view of agro-ecology as farming method. He stressed as well a genuine agrarian reform for food sovereignty which would eradicate the rural poverty eventually.
Bangladesh: a global warming “impact hotspot” - projections, perspectives, and posible responses to climate change
KRAUS Jürgen3 February 2014
Bangladesh is one of the areas of the world most vulnerable to climate change, with sea levels rising faster than the global rate. Estimates suggest that up to 20 million Bangladeshis in low-lying areas could lose their homes by 2050.
Badrul Alam, was elected President of Bangladesh Krishok Federation (BKF), the largest peasant federation in Bangladesh. He has served on the international leadership of La Via Campesina representing the BKF. He is also a leader of a revolutionary socialist organisation in Bangladesh collaborating with the Fourth International. The BKF are heavily involved in campaigning against climate change. They have organised a series of climate caravans to take the message out to large numbers of people both across Bangladesh itself and more widely to other parts of Asia.
Like comrades in the Philippines, a central part of that work is the promotion of food sovereignty as a sustainable alternative to agribusiness – hence their relationship with Via Campesina, the international peasants movement. They were also involved in work around the Rana Plazza disaster – many of the super-exploited women workers in Dhaka are climate refugees forced to leave the rural villages from which they come by rising sea levels and salinification.
Badrul Alam is touring Britain for two weeks at the beginning of March to talk about these issues. As extreme weather has been hitting Britain over recent weeks the tour could hardly be more timely:
Central London meeting: Tuesday 4 March
7:30 pm, 62 Marchmont Street,
WC1N 1AB, Kings Cross tube
Badrul Alam, President of Bangladesh Krishok Federation, the country’s largest peasant federation.
Ashok Kumar, recently organiser for the International Union League for Brand Responsibility in Bangalore.
Derek Wall, founder of Ecosocialist International and Green Left, International Coordinator of the Green Party.
Organised by Socialist Resistance
On 22nd October 2013 eighteen right based civil society, labor and farmer organizations in a press conference in the capital urge government to consult and public its position on WTO (World Trade Organization) Ministerial 9 to be held during 3 to 6 December 2013 in Bali, Indonesia. The speakers in the press conference also say that WTO proposed trade in services agreement (TISA) and Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TF) in fact will jeopardize basic human rights of accessing essential public services like water, health and education and this is how it undermines post 2015 development agenda of poverty eradication and sustainable development.
The press conference held in the National Press Club in Dhaka today is moderated by Mustafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD and other speakers are Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krishok Federation (BKF), Mohammed Ali of Bangladesh Trade Union Centre (BTUC), Sayed Jahangir Hasan Masum of Coastal Development Partnership (CDP), Shamima Akhter of ASOW. Barkat Ullah Maruf of EquityBD presents the written statement on behalf of the groups.
Other members of the groups are Jatiya Sramik Jote, Online Knowledge Society, United People Trust, Udayan Bangladesh, Unnayan Dhara Trust, Media Forum on Trade and Development, Shariatpur Development Organization, Kishani Shova, Nature Campaign Bangladesh, Bangladesh Bhumihin Shomity, VOICE, Huminity Watch and SA Foundation.
On behalf of the group Barkat Ullah Maruf says in the written statement, in fact the proposed TISA and TF will facilitate the big multinational companies of the developed countries and enhance net outflow of hard earned currencies of the developing countries and LDCs. Agreements like those two will also reduce government’s internal revenue mobilization due to import liberalization and import tariff withdrawal which, in turn, will hinder governments of LDCs to provide essential public services to its people.
Mohammed Ali, the Vice President of BTUC and railway labor leader mentions that being forced by the modalities of aids and different multilateral agreements the government is promoting corporatization in the railway of Bangladesh which has been the largest and cheapest pubic communication network in the country. WTO policies are to promote private sector and commercialization not to strengthen the public services like railway, he adds.
Badrul Alam of BKF says, agriculture is related to the food rights of common people and most fundamental one to live. So, agriculture must be separated from the WTO process.
Jahangir Hasan Masum of CDP mentions the examples of service sector liberalization in Bangladesh and how the foreign mobile companies are repatriating profit to the development countries, e.g. Grameen Phone Telenor sending money to it origin country, Norway.