Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Food and Disaster Management Minister Abdur Razzaque on Tuesday urged World Food Program (WFP) to divert part of food assistance to Bangladesh from Sub-Saharan Africa.

The United Nation’s WFP has recently decreased food assistance to Bangladesh and some other countries in South Asia, while increasing its supports for the poorest parts of Africa.

Food assistance from WFP has reduced only to a quarter in 2010 compared to the supports it offered two decades ago, according to official statistics. The WFP food assistance was 70,000 metric tons in last financial year.

Bangladesh produces between 25.00 million and 27.50 million metric tons of rice and wheat per annum against an average imports of cereals between 2.5 and 3.0 million tons, mostly under private initiatives.

However, the government has allocated a budget for imports of 1.7 million tons of staples-rice and wheat- for the current July- June financial year. The US agency for International Development (USAID) is the second biggest agency that provides food aid to Bangladesh.

BBN/SSR/AD-02Nov10-11:39 pm (BST)