Rice crop faces further setback

Rice crop faces further setback
Rice crop faces further setback 

Aus and Aman rice crops, as well as vegetables, have suffered a severe blow like the Boro crop in the recent floods in 40 districts of the country.

The Boro rice crop was affected by the floods only in the haor regions whereas the recent floods inundated 652,654 hectares of Aus and Aman croplands in the 40 districts, revealed agovernment estimation.

The agricultural extension department (DAE) expected that rice production from each hectare of land will be around 3.5 tonnes. According to that estimation, the production of rice was expected to be at least 2.3 million tonnes from the land that went under water.

The rice production may fall by as much as one million tonnes if half of the expected amount of production is destroyed due to the floods this season.

An estimate of the agricultural affairs ministry revealed that the production of rice in the Boro season fell by one million tonnes in the haor regions.

Contrary to this estimate, the food ministry says the production diminished by two million tonnes whereas the rice mill owners claimed that the production shortage was four million tonnes.

Agricultural ministry secretary, Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah, said to Prothom Alo, “We are making a list of affected farmers. We shall provide them with seeds and other agricultural equipment as soon as the floodwater recedes.”

“We have already prepared a list of 600,000 affected farmers of the haor regions. They will receive agricultural rehabilitation assistance very soon,” he hoped.

According to economists, the country will suffer from a serious shortage of rice this year. The government has already signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) and rice import agreements with four countries to tackle the situation. But the amount of rice imported so far is inadequate.

According to food ministry’s daily food grain situation report, prepared on Monday, the government has imported 46,000 tonnes of rice while private entrepreneurs have imported 262,000 tonnes from July till now.

The report also said the stock of rice in the government warehouses at present is 295,000 tonnes. The stock was about 700,000 tonnes in the same period last year.

Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) researcher M Asaduzzamn told Prothom Alo that the production of Boro and Aman rice could be 10 per cent less [than the previous year].

“As a result the price hike might put poor people’s food security at risk. This is why the government should buy imported rice from the businessmen and increase the stock on an emergency basis.”

Source: Prothom Alo

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