Stop Agriculture Land Grabbing

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Dhaka, 16th October 2012. Today seventeen right based civil society organization leaded by EquityBD along with SAAPE (South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication) has organized a human chain / rally in front of National Press Club Dhaka for observance of 16th October as World Food Less Day while different organization and United Nation observing the day as world food day. In line several other international alliance like Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific (PANAP), La Via Campesina – world largest farmers network, Jubilee South – world anti debt coalition and their alliance members also observing the as world food less in whole over the world to raise voice for hungry people.

These rights based organizations and networks in Bangladesh has taken major demand that Government and all others especially housing companies must stop grabbing of agriculture land . They consider that saving agriculture land at any cost is a fundamental requirement to ensure national food security and sovereignty. They have also mentioned that they will continue the campaign country wide.

Participant’s organization and network of the rally were Arpan, Eso, Online Knowledge Society, EquityBD, VOICE, Bangladesh Bhumihin Somity, Bangladesh Krishok Federation, DCI, SDO, Self Development, Manush Manusher Jonno, CDP, Kishani Shova, United People Trust, SAF, Unnayan Dhara Trust, Nature Campaign Bangladesh, and SAAP Food Sovereignty Group in Bangladesh. The rally was moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD. Other speaker of the rally, Swapan Bhyian, Moinuddin Howladar, Subal Sarker, Asaha Moni, Abdul Kader Hazari, Shamima Akhter, Jibannanday Joyant and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury.

Moinuddin Howlader of Krishok Federation mentioned that absentee land ownership is increasing in the country, during 1960 only 10 % families of the country owned 37 % of land. In view of recent statistics now only 70 % of families own only 15 % of agriculture land. While during 1960 land less was 19 %, during 1996 it is 56 %. He demands that land reform is essential to provide land to tillers so that there will be increased food production. Jibananda Joyanta of SAF mentioned that, nation has the bitter experience in purchasing food during 2008 food crisis even we have dollars we have face hard realities that we have not been able purchase food with fair price, there were 100 to 300 price hike tendency from India, Thailand and Vietnam. Shamima Akhter of Eso mentioned that, may be in future we will have dollars but we will not be able to purchase food from global market; there might be no surplus food to sell.

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD has mentioned that, annually Bangladesh is loosing 1 % (89 thousand hectare) of its arable land due to urbanization, industrialization and river erosion, if it will continue then after 2025 there will be only remain 50 % of arable land. On the other hand countries 26 % of population is in chronic food insecurity level, i.e., who always remain hungry. There are tendency among the government bureaucracy to acquire huge land in the name of development projects, government offices and housing for government officials, it must be rationalized and immediately. There are rampant land grabbing among the housing companies, who have strong lobby with government, who hardly care about the law, they are also grabbing agriculture land. So, all agriculture land grabbing have to be stopped.

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