News

Bangladesh Rice Harvest Could Ease Famine Concerns

Some good news from one of the world's most impoverished countries, which struggles to feed its people in the best of times. Bangladesh reports the rice harvest, just under way, appears to be a bumper crop. But due to soaring rice and wheat prices the country says its 500,000 army troops are being ordered to eat potatoes. VOA correspondent Steve Herman reports from our South Asia bureau in New Delhi.

Bangladesh's hardiest rice, sown back in January and known as the "boro" crop, is now being harvested. Initial reports are that it is plentiful.

This is encouraging news for a nation where the majority of people are employed in agriculture and rice is the dominant crop, contributing more than one-fourth of the country's gross domestic product.

The positive assessment from the government in Dhaka comes amid soaring rice prices and concerns about whether India, China and Vietnam will be able to provide sufficient rice imports for Bangladesh.

World Food Program spokesman Emamul Haque in Dhaka says a bumper harvest would ease some of the burden on Bangladeshis.

"The whole nation is expecting that we will have a bumper 'boro' product. But we do not have any specific scientific assessment so far. If we really get this the way we are expecting, it will have some impact on the food security situation as well," said Haque.

A shortage of rice amid a doubling of prices in the past year has led to hoarding and rioting in Bangladesh.

Trying to ensure the civilian population has enough to eat, the government is ordering the half-million members of its army to substitute potatoes for rice and wheat.

The World Food Program spokesman in Bangladesh says the general population this year also will need to rely more on potatoes, something traditionally not on the menu.

"Many of them will definitely depend on the potato. And this is not a bad idea. But it cannot be the substitute of the rice. If they don't get rice, if the potato is cheap, definitely they do not have any other option," said Haque.

Many Asian nations have been severely affected by surging prices for rice, wheat, food oils and pulses. Compounding the misery for Bangladesh - two devastating floods and a cyclone in the past year, which ruined several million tons of food grains, raising worries about famine.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs