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Dhaka Tribune

Famine will never return in Bangladesh : Mozena

Update : 17 Apr 2013, 09:52 AM


US ambassador in Dhaka Dan Mozena on Wednesday said that the specter of famine in Bangladesh was gone and would never return.

“In fact, Bangladesh confronts a different challenge today… rice surplus. Bangladesh may need to export more rice,” he said while visiting Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) in Gazipur.

Mozena said the storehouses were overflowing with rice, and the farmers were complaining that the surplus was undercutting paddy prices. “In an important sense, these are good problems to have. Certainly, the Bangladesh once famously described as an international basket case is not the Bangladesh of today.”

Joint secretary (research) of the Ministry of Agriculture, M Jamsher Ahmed Khandker; Executive chairman of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council, Dr Wais Kabir; Director-General, Bangladesh Rice Research Institute, Dr M Syedul Islam; and Bangladesh representative, International Rice Research Institute, Timothy David Russell, were present on the occasion.

The US ambassador mentioned that the researchers were exploring the role that biotechnology could play in developing the ‘Golden Rice’, a vitamin A-enriched variety, that could help address the nutritional challenges.

“I’m proud that America has been Bangladesh’s partner from the beginning in supporting Bangladesh’s quest for food security; in supporting Bangladesh’s ongoing agricultural revolution,” he said. “The close America-Bangladesh partnership in the agricultural sector is today more vibrant than ever,” he added.

On the `Feed the Future Programme’, Mozena said the Feed the Future partnership is focused in south and southwest Bangladesh, the area of the country most vulnerable to and impacted by the effects of climate change. 

“This is the part of Bangladesh that is most challenged in terms of food security… the part of Bangladesh with the greatest opportunity to contribute more to the nation’s food security.”

The US ambassador said he recommits himself, his mission here in Dhaka, and his  government to ever deepening, broadening, and strengthening their partnership with Bangladesh to help this great nation and these wonderful people become food secure, so all Bangladeshis have access to ample, nutritious food, so stunting of children is forever eliminated.

He hoped that the new year that has just begun would be a great one as Bangladesh endeavours to achieve the unachievable, to obtain the unobtainable, to do the impossible by making Bangladesh food self-sufficient, and by making Bangladesh food secure.

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