POST TIME: 12 December, 2019 12:36:14 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 12 December, 2019 10:40:23 AM
Climate change, sea-level rise serious threat to agri growth

Climate change, sea-level rise serious threat to agri growth

Climate change and sea-level rise pose a serious threat to the country's impressive growth in agricultural productivity. Bangladesh and the World Bank (WB) yesterday launched the Climate-Smart Agriculture Investment Plan (CSAIP) to address the impact of climate change on agriculture and to prioritise investments to improve productivity, resilience, and mitigation in the agriculture sector at the city’s Krishibid Institution.

Agriculture minister Abdur Razzaque was present on the occasion. Fisheries and livestock minister Md Ashraf Ali Khan Khasru, k ministry secretary Raisul Alam Mondal, WB's acting country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan Dandan Chen, and joint secretary (blue economy) Taufiq Arif also spoke on the occasion.

“During the last 25 years, Bangladesh’s agricultural productivity growth has been among the highest in the world and supported around 87 per cent of the rural households.  But rising temperatures will affect the yield of Aman and Boro rice, the country’s two major staple crops,” Abdur Razzaque said.

He also said high water stress can lead to rice yield losses as high as 70 per cent. Moreover, soil salinity has affected 62 per cent of coastal land. Sea-level rise may reduce the available cropland by about one-fourth in coastal divisions, he added.

"Globally, Bangladesh is known for its success in attaining self-sufficiency in rice through improving agriculture productivity. This has enabled the country to feed its large population despite limited arable land. Bangladesh is also diversifying its agricultural production thanks to the availability of vegetables and other horticulture products. The focus is increasingly on safe and quality agri-produce, processing and market development, and mechanisation and commercialisation of agriculture to more effectively enhance food security, farmers’ profitability, employment, and poverty reduction,” said the agriculture minister.  

“Evidence-based climate-smart investments and implementation of the Delta Plan 2100 would help Bangladesh overcome climate change risks for a more productive and climate-resilient agriculture sector,” he added.

Climate-smart agriculture can help Bangladesh maintain rice self-sufficiency and increase non-rice crops, livestock, and fish production, he noted.

Razzaque also said the investment plan identifies five key investment areas totalling about USD 809 million to set the agriculture sector on a resilient growth path, to contribute towards achieving the government’s 2041 development targets, to reduce emissions, and to reach the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) regarding climate change and the Delta Plan goals. “Rural households’ livestock assets are highly exposed to climate change risks, including natural disasters and major disease outbreaks. Bangladesh has taken steps to reduce the vulnerability of small farmers and improve the livestock productivity,” said Md Ashraf Ali Khan Khasru.

He also said the project will sustainably increase livestock production to feed the growing population.

The USD 500-million ‘Livestock and Dairy Development’ project, which was also launched yesterday, will help improve livestock and dairy production, as well as ensure better market access of two million household farmers and small- and medium-scale entrepreneurs, the livestock and fisheries minister said.

He further said it will also help stimulate private sector investment and the development of livestock value chains in the country.

“Being among the most vulnerable countries to climate change, Bangladesh must take urgent actions to build on its impressive track record in the agriculture sector,” said Dandan Chen.

“It’s encouraging to see that the government considers climate-smart agriculture a strategic priority investment in response to the changing climate. The ‘Livestock and Dairy Development’ project is a testament to the government’s vision of a climate- resilient growth path, which will help the country meet the demand for essential nutrients like eggs, meat, and milk,” he added.

The CSAIP was developed to inform the implementation of major existing policies and policy formulation processes. It includes the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100; it builds on the NDC regarding climate change and the country’s Seventh Five Year Plan.

During the same time, the LDDP was developed to address the most pressing and emerging issues in the sector, including value chain development with private sector investments, food safety, environmental pollution, and climate change.

The WB was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence.

Currently, Bangladesh has the largest IDA programme totalling over USD 12 billion. Since independence, the WB has committed more than USD 30 billion in grants, interest-free, and concessional credits to the country.