Agriculture Minister Md Abdur Razzak asked agriculture department's officers, seed producers and importers why 76,000 tonnes of tomatoes were imported even though the yield of tomatoes was good in Bangladesh.
He raised this question at the programme of seed distribution among the flood-affected farmers of the country yesterday.
Bangladesh Seed Association organized the programme.
Abdur Razzak said in addition to the winter harvest of tomatoes, the yield of tomatoes in summer was also good in the country.
"So why 76,000 tonnes of tomatoes have to be imported? Many are importing tomato paste to make ketchup," he said.
However, he gave instructions to produce quality tomato seeds and sell those in the market so that tomatoes could be produced throughout the year.
He said the country had now many seeds such as '28 variety' of paddy seeds.
It now needed to be replaced, because if a certain variety of seed was used for a long time, its production started to decrease gradually, he went on.
"It is time to remove many such varieties. Scientists are trying to replace these. But it takes eight to 10 years for a replacement at the field level. The time should be reduced to two to three years. Otherwise, producing good quality seeds will not be of much use," said the minister.
He said they are planning to set up a seed certification agency for producing good quality seeds. The agency would be based on technology and science, he added.
In the event, seeds of different varieties of rice were distributed among the flood-affected farmers across the country.
A total of 10,000 kilogrammes (kg) of seeds were distributed to the farmers of Sylhet, Habiganj, Moulvibazar and Sunamganj and 20,000 kg of seeds among the farmers of Tangail, Jamalpur, Sherpur, Sirajganj, Bogura, Gaibandha, Kurigram and Lalmonirhat.
A total of 13,525 farmers of all the districts were given these seeds by the Seed Association. These seeds are mainly of Aman rice.