Poster in Jan 16, 2024 13:19:17

Bangladesh ranks third in rice production in the world but lags in productivity

Bangladesh ranks third in rice production in the world but lags in productivity

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Bangladesh's main food crop is rice, which consumes about 75 percent of agricultural land (and 28 percent of GDP). During the 1980s (through 1987) rice production increased every year except FY 1981, but annual growth was generally small in keeping with population. In fiscal year 1986, rice production crossed 15 million tonnes for the first time. In the mid-1980s, Bangladesh was the fourth largest rice producer in the world, but its productivity was lower than that of other Asian countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. High-yielding varieties of seed, fertilizer application, and irrigation have increased yields, although these inputs also increase production costs and mainly benefit wealthy farmers.

Rice cultivation in Bangladesh varies according to seasonal changes in water supply. The major crop is 'Aman', which occurs in November and December and accounts for more than half of the annual production. Some paddy for the 'Aman' crop is sown in spring by the broadcast method, matured by summer rains, and harvested in autumn. High-yielding methods include starting seeds in special beds and planting during summer monsoon. The second crop is aus, which involves traditional strains but often with high-yielding, dwarf varieties. Paddy for the Aush crop is sown in March or April, benefits from the April and May rains, matures in the summer rains, and is harvested in the summer. With the increasing use of irrigation, there is an increasing focus on another rice-growing season extended to the dry season from October to March. Production of this boro rice, including high-yielding varieties, expanded rapidly until the mid-1980s when production dropped to just under 4 million tons. Where irrigation is possible, paddy production twice a year is common for fields throughout Bangladesh. Paddy production in the country increased to 44 million tonnes in the fiscal year 2021-22 (FY22), breaking the previous record. Currently, Bangladesh is the third largest country in the world in rice production.

But Bangladesh ranks at the bottom among South Asian countries in terms of productivity growth. This information was presented in a keynote paper presented at the Agricultural Conference titled 'Transformation of Bangladesh Agriculture: Contribution of Kazi Badruddoza' organized by the Bangladesh Agricultural Journalists Forum (BAJF) in the past. The keynote paper was presented by the Professor of Agricultural Business and Marketing Department of Bangladesh Agricultural University. Jahangir Alam.

According to the keynote paper, Bangladesh has seen the fastest growth in rice production, but the productivity growth rate is only 1%. Whereas China's productivity rate is 3.7%, India's 2.4%, Thailand and Vietnam's 1.9%, Indonesia and Sri Lanka's 1.8%, and Nepal's 1.7%. Productivity growth is said to be low due to Bangladesh's high 'yield gap' compared to neighboring countries.

Professor of Agricultural Business and Marketing Department of Bangladesh Agricultural University. Jahangir Alam said, "Climate change is hampering our production. We have 6.71 lakh acres of cultivable land which we are not able to bring under cultivation. At a time when global production is decreasing due to the Russia-Ukraine war, our food production has become an added challenge. If we can grow our food, no global crisis can harm us."

The then Agriculture Minister Mohammad Abdur Razzak said, "Kazi Badruddoza dreamed of making traditional agriculture science-based and he did it. This was the first transformation of Bangladesh's agriculture. Now we have to take up the challenge of the second transformation."

He said, that starting from paddy planting to threshing, agriculture should be commercialized through mechanization. At the same time, our challenge is to transform agriculture into modern agriculture through the processing of agricultural products.

He said that due to the good yield, the price of rice in the market is going down. No need to import from abroad. The reason for this is our good breed. Earlier, 2-3 maunds of paddy were used per bigha in Aushe. Due to fertilizers, better varieties, and irrigation now Boro also produces the highest rice production; More than 21 maunds per bigha. This is the big transformation of agriculture.

President of ACI Agri-Business. FH Ansari said that apart from the government, the private sector is also making a significant contribution to agricultural research in the country. Private investors have developed two varieties of high-yielding wheat, registered 93% hybrid rice varieties, and 22.5% dry-meter industrial potatoes. Besides, more than 600 hybrids of 45 vegetables are being researched or imported.

He said, there are challenges in the agriculture of the future. Because humidity is increasing, new types of diseases are increasing. The challenges of climate change include reduced rainfall and longer winters, rising temperatures, rising sea levels, and rising salinity. The rapid development of 'climate-smart' crop varieties and increased capacity to scale up as well as narrowing the yield gap are needed.

-SZK, based on online information  

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