Bangladesh celebrates today World Food Day amid shortfall in rice production due to lingering devastating floods that damaged two successive crops, both boro and aman.
Blast attacks also affected rice production and the floods also severely affected production of vegetables and other crops since April.
Production shortfall this year, made the nation dependent on increased import of rice to meet the growing demand after a gap of six years.
This year World Food Day is being celebrated on the theme, ‘Change the Future of Migration. Invest in Food Security and Rural Development.’
Damage to rice and other crops by floods and blast attack made Bangladesh the worst victim of food shortage, agricultural experts told New Age. The influx of refugees from Myanmar, they said, further increased food shortage of Bangladesh, this year.
In the boro season alone, Bangladesh’s rice production fell by between 12 to 15 lakh tonnes, said food ministry officials.
But agricultural economist Jahangir Alam Khan estimated this year’s rice shortage at between 25 to 30 lakh tonnes.
Since July, Bangladesh imported 27.17 lakh tonnes of cereals, 10.78 lakh tonnes of rice and 16.39 lakh tonnes of wheat.
Jahangir Alam Khan, a former president of Bangladesh Agricultural Economists’ Association, called for increasing investment in agriculture and rural development substantially to boost food production, ensure sufficient supply of food at affordable prices to all the citizens.
He described food safety as a big concern for Bangladesh. Influx of refugees from Myanmar, he said, brought additional burden on Bangladesh. He advised the government to increase subsidies on agriculture and rural development for the survival of the farmers and the poor groups.
Bangladesh Agricultural University’s Agriculture finance professor SM Golam Hafeez said it became essential for the nation to make safe food, free from pesticide, available to all the citizens.
The food chain, he said, ought to be safe from production to consumption.
The government took a series of programmes to celebrate the day.
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