Thursday, 7 July, 2022
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Success in agriculture and challenges ahead

Success in agriculture and challenges ahead

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After prehistoric nomadic groups of people in this region (and other regions of the world as well) came out of the stage of foraging foods and entered the phase of production some 12 to 11 thousand years ago, the first form of economy they adopted was agriculture. This was more so and could not be otherwise in land like this hot and humid deltaic plain where riverine ecology and environment gave rise to distinct types of flora and fauna and determined the livelihood of the people. Our forefathers carried forward this economy and developed it over thousands of years.

But production of food grains based on low yielding varieties and depending on primitive tools was hardly enough for their subsistence. This was the reality until high yielding varieties of crops, especially rice, were introduced some six to five decades ago and more or less scientific methods of cultivation adopted. From then on, the farmers in this deltaic plain did not have to look back. Now Bangladesh ranks third among the world’s rice producing countries and retains the position for four years at a stretch. Bangladesh surpassed others countries in terms of increasing rice production last year. This recognition of Bangladesh agriculture came from none other than the Food and Agricultural Organisation of UN.

Disproving the Malthusian theory, rice production in the country has trebled and is able to feed the population that has doubled over the years. This miracle could have happened due to pragmatic policies of the government, huge budgetary allocation every year and intense research by our agricultural scientists. Agriculture got the second highest allocation in the proposed budget for the next fiscal year and amounts to more than 14 per cent of the total budget. This reflects the pro-agriculture policies of the government.

However, though rice production is sufficient to supply food for the present population, it will not be enough in years to come as the number of mouths to be fed continues increasing. So more advanced research and mechanisation of agriculture is of utmost importance. Despite that fact that the country is self-sufficient in rice production, it lags behind in the production of other crops, especially fruit, meat and milk. And there are the challenges of climate change. Taking all these factors into consideration, experts are of the opinion that more budgetary allocation is needed to take food production to next higher level.