Foreign Affairs Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali on Tuesday told Parliament that Bangladesh had started ‘contract farming’ in the African countries with appointment of 11 Bangladeshi farmers in Zambia.
A Bangladeshi company ‘Bhati Bangla Agritech’ that is engaged in contract farming in Zambia has got clearance of the government there to appoint 11 Bangladeshi farmers in agricultural projects of the African country, he said replying to a starred question from Awami League MP Rahim Ullah (Feni-3).
“Following huge prospect of contract farming in various African countries, it is the first incident of appointment of Bangladeshi farmers and it is a good start,” the minister said. He said the government has taken various steps to produce food grains in Africa continent taking lease of arable lands.
Bangladeshi missions in Africa have been contacting the governments of the countries concerned for ‘Contact Farming’, the minister said. Also some private initiatives were taken in this regard, he said.
Nitol-Niloy group and Bhati Bangla Agritech Ltd have been working in some other African countries taking lease of some 40,000 hectares of lands for cultivating food grains, he went on.
After producing food grains in the African countries, these can be sold in Bangladesh, he added.
Ali said Nitol Niloy Group is trying to take lease of 10,000 hectares of land in Uganda, while Agrotech of Al Falah Group is trying to take 30,000 hectares of land in Tanzania, Mahmood said. In reply to another starred question from Md Shirajul Islam Mollah (Narsingdi-3), the Foreign Minister said more than 13,000 Bangladeshis remain detained in foreign jails on various charges.
According to the latest statistics, a total of 13,024 Bangladeshi citizens are now detained or under trial in foreign countries on charges of various offenses, he said. The highest 3932 Bangladeshis are now in Indian jails, while the second highest of 3536 in Malaysia and the third highest of 1584 Bangladeshis in the UAE, according to UNB. –Mithun