SIDR damages Tk 2000 crore crops in Bangladesh: Agro Advisor

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Dhaka, Dec 1 (UNI) Bangladesh has suffered a loss of standing crops on 5.53 lakh hectares of land causing a damage of about 2000 crore Taka following Cyclone SIDR that lashed the country a fortnight ago.

Agriculture Advisor CS Karim disclosed the statistics today but ruled out any possible food shortage saying initiatives were underway to import rice.

Of the damaged crops, ''Aman'' paddy was of 4.18 lakh hectares for which this year's production of this crop would fall by 8 lakh tons.

The country needed to import a total 19 lakh metric tons of rice, the Advisor said, adding the government had already taken initiatives for importing 5 lakh tons of rice while the donors had pledged for another 5 lakh tons.

''We hope, the rest 9 lakh tons would be imported by the private sector,'' Dr Karim said.

The government allocated 1,500 crore taka for the import of 5 lakh tons of rice.

Meanwhile, Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee who arrived here today said his government had decided to waive ban on 5,00,000 tons of food export from Bangladesh in the wake of cyclone SIDR.

Agriculture Secretary Abdul Aziz said the total food production would be reduced to 3.08 crore tons from the target of 3.20 crore tons due to recent floods and cyclone.

At present, there was food stock of 7.26 lakh tons but the country needed a total of 19 lakh tons food to ensure food security, he said.

Director General of Seeds Wing of the Agriculture Ministry Anwar Faruque said the government had taken up a comprehensive programme for cyclone affected areas to distribute seeds of 10 high value crops as part of rehabilitation move.

Under the programme the affected farmer would get different vegetable and other crops' seeds for immediate cultivation.

UNI

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