BANGLADESH (9 February)
Bangladesh was also hit by the tsunami disaster but the damage, mainly in the fishery sector, was limited compared to the worst affected countries.
The main crops in the ground are wheat and irrigated Boro rice. Wheat is planted in November/December for harvest from late March. The area planted is estimated at 19 000 hectares, far above the government target (12 000 hectares), due to the favourable weather and availability of quality seeds and fertilizers. The irrigated Boro crop, accounting for 45 percent of paddy production in the country, is planted from November through January for harvesting from April. The area planted is estimated unchanged from last year.
The current food supply situation in the country is tight as the food grain stock in the government’s warehouses had been depleted to dangerous level in mid-January: only about 450 000 tonnes of rice and 500 to 700 tonnes of wheat.
The floods in the late summer of last year had devastating effects on the agriculture sector. Until now WFP has distributed High Energy Biscuits (HEB) to over 600 000 primary school students in flood-affected areas. As at 31 December 2004, 2 990 tonnes HEB had been distributed and 230 tonnes of HEB were planned for distribution in January. Shipment of rice destined for Bangladesh was shifted to Indonesia to feed the tsunami victims. Rural Livelihoods and Infrastructure Rehabilitation activities have been delayed.