01. Agriculture sector in Bangladesh- its composition, trends, issues and problemsWhat are the major crops of Bangladesh?

Explain the trends of food grain production in Bangladesh? What are the major issues and problems facing the agriculture sector of Bangladesh? Explain.

Ans
Basically Bangladesh is an agriculture based country, as because the major portion our total economy depends on agriculture. The overall contribution of the broad agriculture sector at constant prices is projected at 20.87percent of GDP in 2007-08. The contribution of this broad sector was 21.37 percent in 2006-07.Though, the direct contribution of the agriculture sector decreased slightly, it has indirect contribution to the overall growth of GDP. The growth of broad service sector, particularly the growth of wholesale and retail trade, hotel and restaurants, transport and communication sectors is strongly supported by the agriculture sector. Besides, about 48.1 percent of the total labour forces of the country are engaged in agriculture (BBS Labour Force Survey, 200506). The 3 main crops—rice, jute, and tea—have dominated agricultural exports for decades, although the rice is grown almost entirely for domestic consumption, while jute and tea are the main export earners. In addition to these products, Bangladeshi farmers produce sugarcane, tobacco, cotton, and various fruits and vegetables (sweet potatoes, bananas, pineapples, etc.) for the domestic market. Fishing and livestock is another important activity in the country, contributing more than 4.9 percent to the GDP (1999-2000) and providing 6 percent of the total export income. The overall fish production was around 1.6 million metric tons (1999-2000). Bangladesh mainly exports its shrimp to the international market.
Food Grains Production

According to BBS final estimate, food grains production for FY 2006-07 was 289.42 lakh metric tons of which Aus accounted for 15.12 lakh metric tons, Aman 108.41 lakh metric tons, Boro149.65 lakh metric tons and wheat 7.25 lakh metric tons. According to BBS final estimate, the volume of food grains production in FY 2007-08 was 311.21 lakh metric tons of which Aus accounted for 15.07 lakh metric tons, Aman 96.62 lakh metric tons, Boro 177.62 lakh metric tons and wheat 8.44 lakh metric tons. Besides, the production of potatoes increases each year notably.In FY 2000-01, the total production of potatoes amounted at 32.16 lakh metric tons, which increased to 51.67 lakh metric tons in FY2006-07 and this production amounted at 80 lakh metric tons in FY2007-08 by superseding the target of 75 lakh metric tons. The United Nations declared the year 2008 as ‘International Potato Year’ considering world wide decline of food grains production specially downturn in rice production and the importance of potatoes in food items. Besides, according to final estimate of BBS, Jute production in FY 2007-08 was 46.22 lakh bales,

which was 48.84 lakh bales in FY2006-07. Table represents the food grains productions status from FY 2001-02 to FY 2007-08:

Food grains Aus Amon Boro
Total Rice

200102 18.08 107.26 127.66 243.00 16.06 1.52 260.58

200203 18.51 111.15 122.22 251.88 15.07 1.75 268.70

200304 18.32 115.21 128.37 261.90 12.53 2.41 276.43

200405 15.00 98.20 138.37 251.57 9.76 3.56 264.89

200506 17.45 108.10 139.75 265.53 7.35 5.22 277.87

200607 15.12 108.41 149.65 273.18 7.25 8.99 289.42

200708 15.07 96.62 177.62 289.31 8.44 13.46 311.21

Wheat Maize Total

Problems facing Bangladesh is prone to natural calamities like the floods or cyclones. Whenever the country is devastated by cyclone or floods, this hampers the food production. In such a situation, if the governmental policy or mechanism for food imports does not synchronize well, then we suffer from food scarcity. In the years 1988, 1989 & 1999 we had severe floods which engulfed two third of the total areas of the country, in such a situation, one crop had totally failed, however, the huge quantity and rapid grain imports had tackled the situation. In November 2007, the southern part of the country had been totally devastated by Cyclone Sidr. This was also responsible for the massive crop failure. During the beginning of the year 2008 we were having a sort of food crisis, for the crop failure secondly for the world wide food grain shortage and also the price spiral. This had a very negative impact. The food grain price had nearly doubled and it was very difficult for the poor people to buy food. People at the lower strata suffered a lot, but there were no reports of starvation related deaths. However, situation changed with the next harvest which was a bumper crop. The prices of food grains had come down now.

The other food related issue in Bangladesh is the availability of fertilizers, seeds, proper irrigation system to the farmers. If any of these components fall short, it too has negative impact in rice production. For example, the newly elected Government after being elected at the end of last year, immediately arranged 50% subsidies for fertilizers, again we had a drought like situation here in Bangladesh during this monsoon, the Government immediately had provided free electricity to the farmers for irrigation purpose. These steps augments the food production in the country. The other issue is that when the price of food goes up the people whom we term as ultra poor, looses the buying capacity, resulting in less food intake. The problem of malnutrition comes up then. Similarly, in the northern part of the country, when the harvest is over during the winter season, no work is available in the field. Being unemployed the poor people loose the capacity to buy food, though food is available in the market. This is somewhat an annual phenomenon in the northern region, especially in the districts of Rangpur, Dinajpur etc. We term this as ‘monga’ a semi famine like situation. The ultra poor section of the country suffers a lot during that time. Now a days the Government takes much measures to provide work for the people so that they can have some income to buy their food and the situation is improving each year. The food supply situtation of our country is more or less quite secure. However, we have to be cautious, especially dealing the food production during droughts, floods, cyclones. We have to see that the farmers have easy access ot agricultural amenities always and also they have a fair price of the products. Thus we can maintain a favorable condition in food production in our country.