We will overcome this crisis: Moeen
Thursday, 03 April 2008

Our Correspondent

Army Chief Moeen U Ahmed talks to a farmer in BograThe government and the people will overcome the present food crisis, if all lend an actively cooperative hand, said chief of army staff Gen Moeen U Ahmed Wednesday on a visit to Bogra.

During his visit to a farmers' market, established by army personnel in the town's Cheloparha area, Moeen said: "We're destined to wade through this temporary hardship and see better days."

"The nation is suffering food shortages, but the government is working hard to deliver food to the masses. The people too must come forward," he urged.

In the backdrop of a global rice crisis, Moeen suggested decreasing our dependence on this particular staple: "What we should do is gradually curtail our rice preference and switch to other crops like potato."

The army chief said this year's potato yields measure about 78 lakh tonnes and the wheat harvest has also been better compared with past years.

A bumper boro harvest is expected too, he added. "God tested our forbearance in 2007, during the recurrent natural disasters, but nobody died without food because we worked hard all together." "God will surely reward us with better days," Gen Moeen said.

Reiterating that the Bogra farmers' market has already succeeded as a 'model' for the rest of the country, the army chief said: "Steps will be taken so that this farmers' market continues after the change of government."

"Agricultural products usually reach the consumers after it is handled by at least half a dozen middlemen. This farmers' market has provided a common platform for the grower and the consumer to settle the deal, without any middleman meddling in between."

Moeen's message to everyday consumers asking for military intervention in curbing the spitalling prices in other markets was: "Make the profiteers understand the realities." "If they seem unwilling to cooperate, try for establishing your own 'farmers' market'."

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