Bangladesh: Profiting from tragedy
Posted: 11 December 2007
Last week, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the organisation UBINIG (Policy Research for Development Alternative) and Nayakrishi Andolon, a movement of over 100,000 farmers, organised a press conference to denounce the government and seed companies for taking advantage of recent crop losses caused by natural disasters to promote hybrid rice.
Bangladesh has been hit hard by floods and cyclones this year. Farmers saw their freshly transplanted rice crops washed away during floods in July and August, while others had their rice crops destroyed by a cyclone just before harvest. All-in-all, national news reports say around 2.2 million tons of rice were lost and the country's had to import more grains to make-up for the shortfall. Understandably, the government now wants to increase food production. But, as UBINIG and Nayakrishi Andolon point out, the problem is that the government's plan focuses on expanding the production of hybrid rice.