Sherpa Hossainy's Blog

Faruk optimistic about leasing lands in Africa

Posted in Bangladesh, Business, Dhaka, Economy, Environment, Export and Import by Sherpa Hossainy on July 21, 2011

Published in The Independent on July 11 2011

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Bangladesh can ensure food security and support the readymade garment industry by leasing farmlands in Africa despite inherent complexities involved, the commerce minister said on Saturday.

“Capital transfer difficulties, non-transparent deals and low price-competitiveness of the produce pose as major problems while growing crops by leasing foreign lands,” Faruk Khan said.

The minister said regardless of political instability in Africa and procedural complication in leasing farmlands, calculated measures can pay off greatly by ensuring food security of the country.

Khan said “cotton security” is as important as food security and Bangladesh can support RMG sector by producing cotton in Africa, as the Nile delta is suitable for quality cotton cultivation.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult for the RMG sector to import cotton and staying competitive as prices are soaring globally. We can produce cotton to back up our garment sector,” Khan said.

Bangladesh has a good image in countries like Sierra Leon, Côte d’Ivoire and Congo because of its peace keeping missions and it can cash on the goodwill to seal the deals, the minister said.

Earlier Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on May gave a go-ahead to a proposal that Bangladesh leases land in some African countries to grow crops like rice and cotton for its consumption as well as export.

The government on June formed a taskforce, headed by Dr Mashiur Rahman, adviser to the Prime Minister on finance, to examine the prospects of taking lands on lease in West African countries like Uganda, Tanzania and Guinea.

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