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Bangladesh offers rice farmers free fertiliser

23/4/12 Reuters

Bangladesh, which has recently become a big rice importer, will provide free fertiliser to farmers as part of efforts to boost rice output, a senior agriculture official said on Friday.

The stimulus package, worth 350 million taka ($5 million), would help produce an additional 200,000 tonnes of rice, the official said.

Under the scheme, around 537,000 farmers will get fertiliser free of cost to produce Aus, a rice variety cultivated during the May-August season.

Bangladesh, the world’s fourth-biggest producer, aims to produce more than 34.5 million tonnes of rice, including 2.74 million tonnes of Aus, in the year to June 2012, up from 33 million in the previous year.

 

The Bangladesh government, battling high food inflation at close to 12 percent and also footing a massive subsidy bill for grain, diesel and fertiliser, hopes for some relief on the prospects of higher production.

 

Bangladesh’s grain imports are likely to drop to 1.4 million tonnes in the fiscal year beginning in July from nearly 2.5 million tonnes in the current fiscal year, a senior food official said this week.

The government, which has been importing hefty amounts of rice to build reserves in the face of high global prices, is looking at all possible options to boost production of the grain, a staple food for more than 150 million people.

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