As the impacts are still unfolding, the social and economic costs of COVID-19 will be enormous. Ongoing protectionist measures around the globe are affecting agriculture and food directly. Temporary export ban of rice by Vietnam (world's third-biggest rice exporter) and suspension of wheat export by Kazakhstan (a major source of wheat) indicate that international trade of staple food may not be stable in the coming days.
Although we are yet to quantify the challenges of our domestic food production due to the present situation, we need to address issues of food security and availability proactively. Though food related to grain are available in Bangladesh, we import wheat, maize, pulses, fruits and oil seed. Due to this pandemic, the price of these imported goods will be high and our farmers will be more attracted to produce these. Thus, there is a possibility that the rice acreage will be reduced. To address this issue, High Yielding good quality rice can be produced like Hybrid Rice in early Aman, Aman and in next Boro season, so that the production shortage due to the reduced acreage can be mitigated by the production of Hybrid Rice. Furthermore, the application of foliar fertilizer potential increase of yield up to 20% combined with other agronomic practices like, crop protection measure and firm mechanization. This initiative can enhance the yield, reduce the cost of production and make it profitable for the farmers.
Government can encourage farmers and private seed company to ensure the supply of Hybrid Rice Seed on time so that farmers are highly encouraged to produce more rice to meet the demand.
Dr. F H Ansarey
Managing Director & CEO