Past, Present, and Future of Agriculture in Bangladesh
For every country, the primary purpose of agriculture is to produce food and the secondary purpose is to earn revenue and employment. Agriculture in Bangladesh also has no exceptional scenario.
Traditionally with the flow of time, different countries’ agricultural revenue and employment facilities are squeezing, so as in Bangladesh. But the thing has to be remembered that it is only true for the relative contribution, actually, the overall contribution is not squeezing at all, and rather it is stimulating day by day.
Even the agriculture in Bangladesh is still the largest sector for employment. The country has positive examples of jute exports as a raw material during the Pakistan period and later shrimp exports. Supplying raw materials for industries is the main contribution of this field. Yet agro-processing is a big part of the industry outside the ready-made garment sector. In this content, we will highlight the past, present, and future of agriculture in Bangladesh.
Grain production- A major agriculture in Bangladesh:
In the past, Bangladesh was not self-sufficient in agriculture. Farmers used plows to cultivate agricultural land and for irrigation purposes, they use cisterns, pond, and river water. Which was time-consuming and laborious for them. At that time many crops were wasted due to various pests and diseases. The amount of crop produced at that time was also insufficient. But today’s scenario is totally different.
In the case of grains, rice production, which was around 12 million tons in the 1970s, later increased to 36 million tons. Here several factors work as catalysts. One of the earliest was the increase in boro paddy production during the dry season through the introduction of deep tube wells and surface irrigation systems. But a major change occurred during the 80s century when shallow tube wells were encouraged in the private sector through policy changes.
Similarly, the simultaneous policy of subsidized chemical fertilizers added more impetus to the cultivation of high-yielding varieties. As a result, in the 1970s, where boro production was less than two million tons by the year 2000, it had quadrupled to eight million tons, surpassing Aman. The last 20 to 25 years have seen a lot of changes. Boro production now stands at 20 million tons, although Aman production has also increased from 7-8 to 13-14 million tons. Boro’s dominance has made it possible for Agriculture in Bangladesh to become more or less self-sufficient in food grain, although this has exposed the country to other risks, which could ultimately slow its growth.
Wheat production was satisfactory at the run of the century, about two million tons. However, in 2006-2007 it was reduced to seven lakh tons. Although it gradually increases again, that amount is not very high, only one million tons.
On the other hand, where production of maize was not significant in 2000, its production increased to 3.5 million tons by 2018-2019. This happened mainly due to the use of poultry farms as food.
Among other crops, the amount of potato production increases. Potato production, which was only one million tons in the mid-eighties, has increased almost 10 fold to 10 million tons.
The importance of vegetables and fruits in meeting the nutritional needs is very important, especially the deficiency of micronutrients in our country such as zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B12, and iron. There is no room for disagreement that the production of vegetables and fruits has increased, anyone can guess when they go to market, but in the past, it was not like that.
In short, we can say that Bangladesh has largely solved the problem of rice production. In the case of other crops, we see mixed results, in some cases positive, in some cases again disappointing.
Natural Fish and Aquaculture- an important branch of agriculture in bangladesh:
According to government estimates, annual fish production has increased by 5 percent in the last two decades. In the 80s, there was really almost no aquaculture here in Bangladesh. As we know that Bangladesh is a riverine country. There are huge numbers of ponds, lakes, rivers, and seasonal floodplains and have enormous opportunities for aquaculture. But aquaculture was growing in the right direction. But sooner Bangladesh got infected by the idea about systems aquaculture.
Bangladesh is now producing 4.2 million metric tons and reached the fourth-ranked in the world production. Now Bangladesh is one of the world’s great producers of cultured fish and shellfish. It is expected to improve the amount of production in the future.
We can easily estimate that the production of poultry and other meat has increased in recent years. Historically, as in the past, almost every household in the countryside farmed or non-farm still raised cattle and poultry. On the other hand, commercial poultry arms have been playing a major role in increasing meat and egg production in recent times. Also in recent years, many hybrid poultry and cattle breeds have been released to meet the production demand. It can be estimated that soon Bangladesh will be self-sufficient to meet the meat production needs.
In conclusion, as we know that Bangladesh is very much vulnerable to climate change, and the extreme changes in weather and temperature, it significantly affects the conditions for growing food. But if these circumstances remain under control, it can be estimated that Bangladesh will be sooner self-sufficient in the agricultural sector.
Again now Bangladesh government focuses on the new technologies used in agriculture in Bangladesh to increase production and also to make the production process easier for farmers. It can also be estimated that more modern types of machinery will be arriving soon in Bangladesh.
Again, Bangladesh researchers are also focusing on improving fish and meat production. And also they are trying to produce environmentally friendly herbicides and pesticides and even some of them are released in recent years, which also contribute to agriculture in Bangladesh and the ecosystem.