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29 May, 2021 11:20:51 PM
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Agricultural sustainability and transformation of our rural economy

Over the past few decades, Bangladesh has achieved success in socio-economic development including – poverty reduction, food security, public health, social safety net, women empowerment, industrialization and tourism.
Shishir Reza
Agricultural sustainability and transformation of our rural economy

Bangladesh has confirmed a noticeable development in agricultural food production, despite her limited arable land. Crop production is extremely vulnerable to climate change in the 21st century due to higher temperatures, more variable rainfall and extreme climate events such as floods, cyclones, droughts and rising sea levels. It is important to mention that commercialization of agriculture has made significant contribution in food production revolution of the country. Commercial fishery, for instance, has considerably increased local fish production compared to period immediately after independence; it is also true that uncertainty of production persists simultaneously in the fishery subsector.

Across the developing nations and more particularly in Bangladesh, economists and agricultural scientists hold a persuasive argument that excess chemical fertilizers and insecticides flow from the crop field to the nearby water body at the time of downpour and cause great harms to fish production. Again, contagious disease poses a regular threat to the livestock and poultry farming. Bangladesh poses a serious development in livestock, fisheries and aquaculture production in haor, baor and beel areas. Also natural fish productions, sharputi-culture, prawn hatchery and post-harvest production and pearl culture are the strength of rural economy.

Farm activities and non-farm activities coexist in the rural landscape. By developing and expanding the agricultural or farm activities, Commercialization of agriculture reinforces the overall commercial Rural Non-Farm (RNF) activities. Growth in rural non-farm employment, in many cases, remains closely linked to growth in agriculture, as agriculture becomes a larger supplier of intermediate inputs to other sectors such as processed foods.

According to the study on commercialization of agricultural land and contract farming in Bangladesh, led by Economist Abul Barkat, rural trading and transport, often of food, make up about 30 percent of rural non-farm employment. Also ‘one of the implications of the increasing RNF activities is the growing augmentation of pro-market and market-oriented activities in the economy. Monetary expansion takes place for this. Getting released from self-exploitation, the economy gradually enters into the realm of financial profit and loss.

Over the past few decades, Bangladesh has achieved success in socio-economic development including – poverty reduction, food security, public health, social safety net, women empowerment, industrialization and tourism. BRAC has been deeply involved in Bangladesh development since its inception 1972. Agriculture is seen as a major conduit for poverty reduction, food security and employment of women. Through the effective policies of government towards NGO’s involvement in development, BRAC promoted sustainable agriculture – crops, poultry, livestock and fisheries.

The system of rice intensification, efficient and economic methods of irrigation, water distribution, using solar-powered irrigation pumps – reduce Bangladesh greenhouse gas emissions, reducing arsenic contamination of food. Researcher’s mention, to address the impacts of climate change, climate smart agricultural systems has taken. It includes strengthen the capacity of farmers and relevant stakeholders; introduce climate-smart technologies; promote improved climate-resilient crop/livestock varieties, promote alternative adaptation options, raise awareness and build partnerships to address climate change in agriculture dependent communities.

According to the book ‘From the Ground UP: BRAC’s Innovations in the development of Agriculture in Bangladesh and Beyond’, agriculture contributes about 18% GDP but responsible for 43% employment, livestock and fisheries offer tremendous potential for reducing malnutrition and increasing incomes; rice, wheat maize, oilseeds, pulses, potato, zinc enriched rice variety promotion, agro-forestry, biotechnological research to promote disease free plants; tenant farmers development and microfinance for agricultural value chain. BRAC has promoted different projects not only Bangladesh but also – Uganda, Tanzania, Sierra-Leone, South Sudan, Liberia, Afghanistan to connect small holder farmers to markets, establish a strong community based supply chain providing technical services and inputs; support stallholder investment in their farms by offering agriculture loans; stimulate the growth of small and medium-sized private agricultural enterprises (SMES).

Rural poultry has been developed in Bangladesh by bringing landless women into mainstream employment. It has been done by – productivity enhancement, birds for rural farmers, better feed ingredients; reduction of mortality of scavenging birds, improvement of poultry rearing and management system, service delivery system, credit system, control of birds flu and development of marketing system.

Bangladesh is an innocent victim of climate change. Immediate crop failure occurs from the destruction caused by natural calamities. Bangladesh has been a country of perpetual natural calamities since its geographical birth and the frequency of occurrences remains threatening in the recent past.  Natural calamities- flood, hailstorm, storm, tornado, cyclone, excessive rainfall, drought, river erosion etc. lead to cataclysm in the agricultural sector and compared to bring greater loss in the commercial farming than in subsistence farming as the former practice involves more in production for commercial purpose. Natural disasters destroy the household consumption stock of subsistence farming; while in commercial farming, the loss also includes the depletion of capital stock, invested for market oriented production.

The writer is an Environmental Analyst & Associate Member, Bangladesh Economic Association.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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