No doubt it is a wonder, when a country with an
area of only 144,000 square kilometers and having a population of 150
million, mostly succeeded to grow food for the whole population, inspite of
frequent cyclone, drought & , floods. This curiosity lead of a group of 20
students from Hong Kong Baptist University visit Bangladesh recently. The
purpose of their visit was to know more about Bangladesh and learn how the
farmers of this country could succeed to grow the required food to satisfy
such a large population.
These students studying International Food Crisis, had chosen Bangladesh as
theme country. Bangladesh is a country where food crisis exists and
starvation was a daily affair here, this was
their primary understanding . However,
coming to Bangladesh they realized that there was no case of any mentionable
famine in the country since its independence from the British colonial era
in 1947, except in 1974 when a famine like situation prevailed which was an
aftermath of political tyranny. The students arrived in Bangladesh on 3rd of
January and stayed here till 9th of January.
During their stay in Dhaka, Mr. Pius Costa, Director General of the
Directorate of the Food Department of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
had briefed them about the total governmental food distribution system as
well as the different social safety schemes undertaken by the Government for
Mr. Duncan Chowdhury, National General Secretary of the National Council of
YMCAs of Bangladesh also elaborated that in Bangladesh the issue of food
crisis is not relevant here, however, the people of the country is concerned
about the food security of the country, with a view so that all people
irrespective of their financial capacities do have proper access to food.
Fortunately, in the year 2009, the food production of the country has
crossed 30 million metric tons, which is the record highest in the history
of the country.
In course of their visitation in Bangladesh they had been invited to a
reception at University of Liberal Arts, Bangladesh, where they had an
opportunity to meet the students of the University, shared their experiences
with the Bangladeshi University students. Prof. Rafiqul Islam, Vice
Chancellor of ULAB, welcomed the overseas students and Prof. Abdul Mannan shared with them the
activities, courses and curriculum of the University. Later the visiting
students visited different parts of the University.
Later the overseas students also visited the Northern part of the country,
to experience real life of the monga striken areas. There too they knew
about the new variety of BRRI Dhan which had been harvested in large scale
this year, curtailing down the harvesting time, thus the issue of monga was
more or less history this year. To have a first had experience of an
ordinary rural life, they had been staying for a couple of days in the homes
of the villagers there, which was a wonderful experience for them. They also
visited the food silo at Santahar.
They had seen the suffering of the people there due to severe cold wave, out
of sympathy they helped with 250 blankets for the rural poor people in order
to save the people from the cold wave.
Bogra YMCA had hosted their stay in Bogra and arranged for all the field
trips. Bogra YMCA also hosted a grand reception for them during their stay
in Bogra, which was chaired by the Mr. Dilip Marandi and conducted by Mr.
Robert Robin Marandi, President and General Secretary of Bogra YMCA
On the final day they visited a children orphanage in Savar where they spent
the whole morning with the orphans. They had arranged for some games for the
children and also had offered them small gifts as a gesture of love. There
they also donated 400 blankets for the children to protect them from the
Finally on the 9th of January, they left for their home with a different
positive view of Bangladesh, entirely different from the one they had
perceived in their minds before visiting Bangladesh.