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Timely government action helps agriculture sector to thrive

  • Published at 06:30 pm July 9th, 2018
The mechanization of irrigation and farming is just one of the initiatives taken by the government which has helped growth in the agriculture sector
File Photo: Bangladesh’s farm sector falls behind when it comes to mechanizing the process of seed transplantation and crop harvesting Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The 2011 population census showed that the country’s annual population growth is 1.37 (per 1000). Along with it, the average growth of the agriculture sector over last 10 years stood at 3.8%

Despite a gradual reduction of cultivable land in Bangladesh, agricultural production and the sector’s growth are on a positive track thanks to the government’s timely policies and actions.

The 2011 population census showed that the country’s annual population growth is 1.37 (per 1000). Along with it, the average growth of the agriculture sector over last 10 years stood at 3.8%.

Crop yield per hectare increased from 3,761kg to 4,629kg in the last nine years. Food grain production increased from 34.71 million tons in 2008-09 to 38.63 million tons in 2016-17. 

“This (the growth in the agriculture sector) is the result of taking timely agriculture-friendly policies and actions,” said Anwar Faruque, former secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture.

“It will be possible to sustain the growth by continuing ongoing activities and expanding the scope of research for innovation regarding disaster-tolerant varieties of rice and other crops,” he added.

The government has taken initiatives such as: the introduction of cards for fertilizer, seeds and other agricultural inputs; mechanization of irrigation and farming; diversification and marketing of crops; and agricultural rehabilitation support to help the sector flourish.

“To make these initiatives more useful, we will further enhance efficiency of these programs using modern technology,” Finance Minister AMA Muhith said in his budget speech for 2018-19 fiscal year.

The government has also taken initiatives to directly transfer cash benefits to farmers using mobile banking as the list of farmers holding cards for agriculture input assistance is being updated. 

In order to continue agriculture-friendly initiatives, the government has spent Tk9,000 crore annually to subsidize the sector. The government has also been emphasizing environmentally-friendly, and climate-adaptation, programs to ensure sustainable development in agriculture sector.

“We are working on innovation of technology and crop varieties through research; and disseminating the results thereafter,” Minister Muhith said.

State-owned Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA) and Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) have already invented different types of crop varieties which are able to resist adverse effects of natural calamities.

Of these, BRRI invented more than 10 saline, drought, and submergence-resistant rice— varieties which are gaining popularity among farmers.

In the next fiscal year, the government aims to create 22 new varieties of crops and 21 new forms of technology. Besides, research on innovating disaster-tolerant and environment-friendly varieties of jute, and diverse jute products, are going on in full swing, the finance minister said.

Additionally, the government has taken steps to reduce the use of chemical fertilizer and protect land fertility by increasing the use of organic and balanced fertilizer—as well as to increase crop productivity. 

It has also taken initiatives to establish, and renovate, fertilizer laboratories and research centres to ensure quality of fertilizers. 

Apart from agriculture, the country’s fisheries sector has also made significant progress in the last decade.

According to a report by the Food and Agricultural Organization in 2016, based on a global ranking, Bangladesh was fourth in inland open water fish farming and fifth in inland closed water fish production. 

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