Agri sector made success amid setbacks last year

ANM Mohibub Uz Zaman

2 January, 2018 12:00 AM printer

Country’s agriculture sector witnessed a 2.9 percent growth despite drop in food production due to untimely flooding and excessive rain in 2017.

Success in production of hilsa fish, potato, Aman paddy, corn, fruits and vegetables was achieved in the year.

Flooding across the country caused food production to drop by 9,43,000 tonnes in 2016-17 fiscal year, according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.

Hilsa: A record production of hilsa fish marked the year 2017 as different government initiatives were taken to protect mother hilsa.

Hilsa output was 4.96 lakh tonnes in 2017 against 3.95 lakh tonnes in 2016 and 3.87 lakh tonnes in 2015.

The total hilsa output increased by 1 lakh tonnes from the previous year’s production due to favourable weather and long-time ban.

Dr M Anisur Rahman, senior scientific officer of Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute, told the daily sun that it was an overall success in the country’s fishery sector.

He said the government took initiatives to stop catching hilsa fry since 2004. Hilsa production has been increasing in the country at the rate of 8-10 percent every year.

Aman: A bumper production and high prices of Aman paddy brought smiles to the faces of farmers at the advent of harvesting season across the country.

The farmers were in a festive mood soon after the Nabanna Utsab (the festival of new harvest).

Aman, grown during the rainy season, is the second highest cereal crop produced in the country after boro.

Farmers sold newly harvested wet paddy, Guti Swarna, at Tk 800-Tk 950 per maund (37.32 kg) in Kushtia, Dinajpur, Rangpur, Rajshahi, Netrokona, Khulna, Faridpur, Bogra and other paddy producing areas, according to farmers and sources.

The prices of Pijam, Shorsoria, Digha, Ajoldigha, Laul, Kasho and other fine varieties of wet paddy were ranging between Tk 1,000 and 1,100 per maund.

Farmers sold their newly harvested paddy at Tk 770-850 per maund last season while the price was Tk 480-650 in 2016. Paddy price was as low as Tk 480-650 per maund against the production cost of Tk 700-720 in 2015.       

Prijam paddy was selling at Tk 1100 per maund at Shibganj market in Netrokona while Swarna paddy was selling at Tk 850 per maund.

Some 54 lakh hectares of land were brought under Aman cultivation, but the production area exceeded the target as more farmers cultivated Aman paddy last year.

The government set the Aman production target at 153.05 lakh tonnes in 2017 and expressed the hope that the yield would exceed the target, the DAE forecast.

Potato: potato production reached an all-time high in the last fiscal year but potato growers were seriously affected due to lower price despite having a higher production.

Potato production was around 10.21 million tonnes last season against the demand of 7 million tonnes for the vegetable in the country.

 Experts said a bumper harvest coupled with lack of marketing facilities led to a fall in potato prices in the country, causing misery for growers.

Earlier on November 16, at a media briefing by Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, Secretary of Statistics and Informatics Division KM Mozammel Hoq presented the production figures of rice, wheat, corn and potato for the fiscals of 2015-16 and 2016-17.

He said the boro rice had been severely affected by the floods while wheat production dropped by 36,000 tonnes in 2016-17, compared to the previous fiscal year.

Potato production, however, grew to 10.21 million tonnes in the last fiscal year from the previous year’s 9.45 million tonnes.

Corn production rose to 2.75 million tonnes last fiscal year from 2.45 million tonnes in fiscal 2015-16.

The planning minister attributed the overall drop in food production to the floods, which damaged the boro paddy. He, however, said the agriculture sector grew by 2.9 percent despite the drop in food production.