Vegetable production in Bangladesh has seen a significant increase of 72.25 percent in the last 11 years, according to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE).
This growth is largely attributed to farmers bringing fallow land under cultivation, with the introduction of improved crop varieties.
"Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's directive to utilize every inch of land for food production has yielded success in vegetable production," said Mohammed Shafiuzzaman, Deputy Director (Tuber crops, Vegetable and Spices) of the Horticulture Wing at DAE.
The Ministry of Agriculture has taken a number of initiatives to increase crop production in the country, particularly since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
These initiatives include bringing uncultivated and fallow land around every homestead under cultivation, and introducing high yielding varieties. The efforts have been successful in increasing vegetable production in the country.
According to the DAE, some 216.70 lakh tonnes of vegetables were produced in the 2021-22 fiscal year from 10.26 lakh hectares of land. This is a significant increase compared to the previous year, when 197.17 lakh tonnes of vegetables were produced from 9.35 lakh hectares of land.
The DAE also reported that an additional 19.53 lakh tonnes of vegetables were produced in the 2021-22 fiscal year compared to 2020-21, and 32.23 lakh tonnes compared to 2019-20.
The government has also undertaken a project "Establishing Family Nutrition Gardens in Uncultivated Fallow Land and Backyards" to bring fallow land under cultivation and cope with the food crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under this project, gardens were made in the yards of houses and fallow land to meet family nutrition needs. This has led to a significant increase in food production, especially in vegetable production, according to agriculture officials.
Over the past decades, vegetable production in Bangladesh has seen a steady increase, according to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
In 1961, the country's vegetable production stood at 3,62,128 tonnes, while in 1971 it was 4,98,078 tonnes. By 1990, the production had grown to 5,65,127 tonnes, and by 2000 it had reached 9,11,000 tonnes. In 2010, the production stood at 12,90,000 tonnes.
Over 150 types of vegetables are now grown in Bangladesh, including tomato, cabbage, cauliflower, water gourd, pointed gourd, ridge gourd, bitter gourd, ash gourd, snake gourd, teasel gourd, green chili, sponge gourd, pumpkin, lady's finger, cucumber, water pumpkin, radishes, beans, pointed gourd, carrots, spinach, red amaranth, stem amaranth, yard long beans, sweet potato, drumstick, french bean, spinach, coriander leaf, and pea seed.