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May 23, 2011

Bangladeshi company ready to sign Tanzania land deal

Bhatibangla Agrotech, a Bangadeshi private sector company, is going to sign a land-lease deal with Tanzania this week to produce crops in the East African country.

"We're going to submit our proposal and working plan to Tanzania Agriculture Partnership Department on May 20 and it's expected that the process will be completed within a week," Mizanur Rahman Azad, chief executive officer of Bhatibangla Agrotech, said from Tanzania on May 20.

"Initially, we would like to take on lease 30,000 hectres of land for 99 years with per annum cost of Tk 135 per hectare. We want to start the cultivation on June 10."

Mizan said they had a plan to have 2.0 to 2.5 million hectares of land in Tanzania for cultivation.

"I had a negotiation with the Tanzanian authorities on the lease agreement and I discussed 18 major points to be included in the deal," he said. "I want to incorporate protection of investment, personnel and establishments, and immunities and privileges of investors in the deal," Mizan pointed out.

"I also discussed other major issues, including permission to grow any crop, procurement of farmers and seed from any country, repatriation of profit, and provision of loans," the Bhatibangla official said.

Mizan said there were scopes to take on lease lands in South Sudan, Kenya, Zambia, Uganda and Mozambique. "If land can be taken on lease in those countries, Bangladesh will need not to worry about food security for many years," he said.

A foreign ministry official said a business delegation last month visited Uganda and completed primary negotiations to take on lease 10,000 hectares of land.

"Agriculture ministry is going to prepare a guideline for taking land on lease for farming in foreign countries," he said.

The government has set a target of 36 million tonnes of foodgrain production in the current fiscal year, according to the Bangladesh Bank.

BD News 24

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