If Boro paddy can be successfully harvested across the country, there will be no risk of food shortage even amid the coronavirus pandemic, agriculture minister Md Abdur Razzak said today.

The agriculture minister made the comment during while virtually inaugurating the harvest of Boro paddy in the haor region.

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Joining from the conference room of the ministry, the agriculture minister inaugurated the paddy harvest at Astana village of Joykolos union in Dakkhin Sunamganj upazila, a ministry statement said.

“If we can harvest all the Boro paddy all over the country including the haor, there will be no risk of food shortage in the country even during the pandemic. We can live in comfort. The whole nation must come forward for making a successful harvest of Boro paddy”.

“We are working hard to ensure that that there is no shortage of food during the pandemic,” he said.

The Boro season produces most of the rice in the country and so it is very important to harvest all the paddy, he said.

The agriculture minister said the target for Boro cultivation was set at about 48 lakh hectares of land this season. The cultivation exceeded the target by more than 83,000 hectares, he said.

In addition, due to higher productivity, emphasis was laid on increasing the cultivation of hybrid varieties of paddy this season.

The cultivation of hybrid paddy increased — with cultivation taking place on three lakh hectares more than last season. Therefore, if the average yield is one tonne per hectare, there would be an additional paddy of at least three lakh tonnes, the minister said.

Meanwhile, the target of Boro rice production was set at 2.05 crore tonnes.

The agriculture minister said the demand for rice has increased in the country.

Other than the 16.5 crore population, and the 22 lakh new faces being added every year, the country has to provide food for more than 10 lakh Rohingyas. WFP buys food from Bangladesh and gives it to Rohingyas, he said.

He said the price of paddy was higher due to the floods last season.

That is why they adopted a plan at the beginning of the year to increase production at any cost, he said.

In order to increase the cultivation and production of Boro paddy, the minister said farmers were incentivised with various agricultural inputs including free seeds this year.

Incentives amounting to Tk 73 crore have been provided to increase the cultivation of hybrid varieties of paddy.

This has encouraged the farmers, the minister said.

Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Mesbahul Islam, senior officials of the ministry and director general of the Department of Agricultural Extension were present.

Deputy Commissioner of Sunamganj Md Jahangir Hossain presided over the virtual programme.

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