Bangladesh look to Africa for food securityMay 19th, 2011 - 12:46 pm ICT by IANS
Freetown (Sierra Leone), May 19 (IANS) Thousands of hectares of farmland in Africa have been leased to two Bangladeshi companies as part of a collaborative effort that will enable them to acquire 60 percent of the produce, and in return train African farmers in rain-fed rice cultivation.
According to the daily Sierra Express, deals have been signed by two Bangladeshi companies to lease unused cultivable land in Uganda, Tanzania and Gambia. The report however did not disclose the names of the companies.
The deals will enable Bangladesh to acquire at least 60 percent of the produce from the leased lands in the respective countries, it said.
In return, the companies will train African farmers in rice cultivation, seed conservation and irrigation.
“Basically this idea is mainly for proper management of our food security,” said Wahidur Rahman, a senior Bangladeshi foreign ministry official.
“We are thinking of expanding our agriculture, but we do not have enough land to cultivate. Because of this we are thinking Africa may be the destination for our agriculture production,” the daily quoted the official as saying.
Bangladesh is the world’s fourth largest producer of rice. Last year, it harvested about 34 million tonnes.
Although the country produces enough to feed its population of 160 million people, it faces shortages at times because of natural disasters.
Many countries, including Saudi Arabia, have leased land in Africa In recent years, as the continent has vast unused cultivable land.
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