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Oxfam: Maze is a nutritious staple for the poor

  • Published at 10:10 pm September 25th, 2016
Oxfam: Maze is a nutritious staple for the poor
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that more than 800 million people suffer from malnutrition globally and with the effects of climate change and income inequality leaving more people hungrier than before sustainable agriculture requires urgent attention with heavy investments into sustainable agricultural practices. Oxfam presented a paper yesterday called “Idea Generation on Maize Forward Market', at the capital's BRAC Centre Inn. Program Coordinator at Oxfam, Bangladesh, Anisur Rahman Chowdhury presented the key note paper in which he said: “Branding and promotional activities regarding the nutritional values and diversification of different maize products can contribute to remarkable increase the market.” Agriculturist Hamidur Rahman, director general of the Department of Agricultural Extension, said Bangladesh is greatly suitable for maize production. It can play a vital role eliminating hunger amongst people living below the poverty line. “In the next ten years, maize production could reach at 10 million tonne,” he said. He further stressed on research that could invent salinity tolerant varieties in the coastal areas. Speakers at a workshop said maize (corn) production could be higher than ever if the storage system including the drying areas are available to the farmers. They also stressed on an easy leasing systems of the char lands to landless farmers for cultivating corn. There is a huge gap between supply and demand, where supply stands at least 35 per cent below the demand. Joint initiatives from both the government and the private sector could help brand the viability of maize cultivation, Anisur said. “Oxfam wants the Government to fix a minimum price for maize like it has done for rice and wheat. The government should also come forward to procure maize like they do with other major crops,” said Dr Md Khalid Hossain, manager, Economic Justice Resilience Program, Oxfam, Bangladesh. “The organizations involved in this sector and the farmers of all the maize cultivation locations need to collaborate and send the Government recommendations especially on pricing, procurement and capacity building,” said Mokbul Hossain MP, Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture. “We will definitely take these recommendations under consideration and act on them upon review,” said Mokbul as the Chief Guest. Maize cultivators from the northern region of the country participated in the workshop. Representatives from Pran, ACI, ACI Godrej Agrovet Private Limited, Lal Teer, Spectra Hexa Feeds Ltd, BRAC, Krishibid Group also participated in the workshop.