The country saw no food crisis during the pandemic lockdown owing to good food production.
On the one hand, the rice yield in the last Aus-Aman was not good; on the other hand, it was not possible to import rice required by the government and the private sector due to various reasons.
Under such situation, everyone assumed that the economic downturn and stagnation caused by the pandemic would lead to an extreme food crisis in the country. But good output thwarted food crisis in Bangladesh.
Agriculture Minister Md. Abdur Razzaque made the remarks at a meeting to review the progress of implementation of the Annual Development Project (ADP) online from his secretariat office on Sunday.
The meeting was moderated by Md. Mesbahul Islam, Senior Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture. Project officials including senior officials of the ministry and the heads of the organizations were present at the time.
However, the common people have suffered due to the high price of rice, the minister said, adding that, "The price of rice was a bit higher due to the floods in the last Aus-Aman. Low-income ordinary people have suffered a bit. Due to the good production of rice in the country, there was no extreme food crisis."
"This year we have taken various initiatives to increase rice production," he said.
Much importance was given to cultivating more land and cultivating hybrid varieties of paddy. Various incentives including seeds and fertilizers have been provided to the farmers, the minister said.
"As a result, Boro has been planted in about 130,000 hectares more land this year than last year. In addition, hybrid cultivation has increased in about 327000 hectares of land. Combined with expanded area and hybrid cultivation, we expect to produce 10-12 lakh tonnes of rice more than last year. From the information I got from the field, I see that the farmers have got good yield, they are happy. The price of paddy is also good. Our goal has been achieved," he added.
The target for rice production in Boro this year is 2.05 crore tonnes. Last year, the production was 1.96 crore tonnes.
If there is no flood, the production target will be achieved in Aus this time as well, the minister hoped.
He also said that preparations are underway to increase production in the coming Aman season.
It was informed at the meeting that a total of Tk 2,300 crore has been allocated in favor of 82 projects under the Ministry of Agriculture in the RADP for the current fiscal year 2020-21. As of April 2021, the implementation progress has been 59 percent, while the national average progress is 49 percent.