DHAKA: The food ministry yesterday informed the cabinet that 20 lakh tonnes of rice and wheat would have to be imported to meet demand and keep the market stable until January next year. In the meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wanted to know about the current food deficit from the ministry, said Cabinet Secretary Shafiul Alam while briefing reporters at the secretariat. The minister also apprised the cabinet that 15 lakh tonnes of rice would be imported from Cambodia and Thailand, while 5 lakh tonnes of wheat would be brought in from Russia and Ukraine within January 31 next year. The PM then asked the ministry not to import additional food grains, as the country’s farmers would be affected if additional imports were made, said meeting sources.
Asked when the rice and wheat would reach the country, the cabinet secretary said rice import already started. Qamrul told the cabinet that during his recent visit to Cambodia, Bangladesh had signed a memorandum of understanding with Cambodia to import 10 lakh tonnes of rice from the Southeast Asian nation in the next five years, added the secretary. The cabinet gave the nods to the drafts of “The Chittagong Development Authority Act-2017” and “The Khulna Development Authority Act-2017”, bringing some changes to the structure of the existing boards of the two development authorities. It also adopted separate condolence motions over deaths of legendary Bangla film actor Razzak, former AL lawmaker and freedom fighter Khan Tipu Sultan and former footballer Shamsul Islam who is the father of former Bangladesh national cricket team captain Khaled Masud Pilot.