This year’s floods have devastated thousands of acres of farmland which have, inevitably, resulted in a food shortage.
Despite the government’s assurance, rice prices have stayed high -- and averting a serious food crisis seems to be the need of the hour for the nation.
Much of the burden of failure lies on the shoulders of the Ministry of Food. Despite the prime minister’s direct instruction to acquire enough food reserves to battle the shortage and price hike, the ministry has not been up to the task.
In times of crisis, lax implementation will not work.
What is troublesome is that this is not merely the story of one bad year. Time and again, the price hike has resulted in countless people suffering at the hands of an expected food crisis.
The plan required to tackle this must be threefold: The authorities must ensure a healthy stockpile, protect farmlands from the detrimental effects of flash floods and other disasters, and also ensure that the market is not being manipulated by corrupt businessmen and government lackeys.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has done the right thing by making food security a priority, and promising that all Bangladeshis should have enough rice to eat.
However, it is not enough to bank on the hopes for a bumper Aman harvest in November. We need a backup plan.
To make sure our reserves are sufficient to feed the people of this country in case of an unforeseen disaster, we must import rice from our neighbouring countries, and assure the people that there is enough.
When it comes to food, we need to be prepared for any scenario.