Bangladeshi farmers to plough barren African lands

http://www.bssnews.net/newsDetails.php?cat=0&id=174708&date=2011-04-27

Bangladeshi farmers to plough barren African lands

DHAKA, April 27 (BSS) – Against the backdrop of dwindling arable land in densely populated Bangladesh, a large group of farmers are now set to run their ploughs in barren lands in Sub Saharan Tanzania from June this year.

A leading private Bangladeshi agriculture farm explored the opportunity of sending at least one lakh farmers from the country to Tanzania in next 12 months and 50,000 fishermen in subsequent years.

“Initially we will start farming 30,000 hectares of land with 4,000 farmers,” Chief Executive Officer of Bhati Bangla Agrotec Ltd Mizanur Rahman Azad told BSS today.

He said the target of his farm, however, was to cover three lakh hectares within one year with sending a total of one lakh Bangladeshi agro-workers there.

The development came as a high-profile official delegation recently visited a number of African countries to review scopes to turn the nearly unexplored region as destination of Bangladesh’s manpower and products.

Under the consultation of Bhati Bangla Agrotec Ltd., 75 Bangladeshi agro entrepreneurs have taken lease 30,000 hectares of land. “We took the lands for 99 years lease free of cost in the condition that we will give our 10 percent of profit to the Tanzanian government,” he said.

Each Bangladeshi farmer will get Taka 13,000 per month while the Bangladeshi entrepreneurs will arrange accommodation and food without any charge.

“Initially we will make three years contract with the agro-workers keeping option of renewing visas and as per the Tanzanian government, a worker is permitted to work till 60 years of age,” Azad said.

He said presently 140 lakh hectares of cultivatable land are vacant in Tanzania, a country bigger than six and half times of Bangladesh having only 4.5 crore people.

Azad said they are planning to cultivate rice, pulses and corn in Tanzania. “We will sell corn to Tanzanian markets and bring rice and pulses in Bangladesh.”

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken the initiatives of farming African lands by the Bangladeshi farmers for ensuring food security of the country as well as creating employment opportunities for Bangladeshi agro workers.

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