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Agricultural Production & National Food Balance

 National Food Balance

Map_Rice Production_2007-08_Bangladesh

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In Bangladesh the major cereal crops are rice and wheat although main focus is on rice production, with 79.4 percent of the total cultivatable land area under rice crop, as mentioned in FAO/WFP CFSAM 2008 Report. Three separate rice crops are recognized, the rainfed Aus crop with 10 percent of area, the rainfed Aman crop with about 51 percent area and the increasingly important irrigated Boro crop with about 39 percent of the cropped area. Rice dominates the cropping pattern throughout the country as almost 90 percent population is rice eaters. Rice contributes to over 63 percent of the caloric intake for urban consumers and over 71 percent for the rural population, on average. The percentages are much higher for the poor, while the 2005 household and income expenditure survey found that food accounted for nearly 54 percent of total consumption expenditures, a share approaching 60 percent in rural areas.

 

Bangladesh agriculture has grown at 3.2 percent annually during 1991-2005 and the dominant source of this growth has been the crop sub-sector growing at 2.3 percent per annum. During the same period, livestock and fisheries productions have grown annually at about 3 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively. Total food grains production, according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics/BBS, in 1991/92 was 19.32 million metric tons, which has gradually increased to 29.77 million tons in 2007/08, 6.13 percent higher than previous year’s production. Total rice production rose to 28.929 million metric tons in 2007-08, some 5.9 percent above those in the previous year and 12.7 percent above the five-year average.

 Graph_National Food Grain Production_1991-2008


Graph_National Food Grain Production

 

Total aman rice production in 2007/08 was 9.66 million metric tons, aus rice was 1.51 million metric tons and boro rice was 17.76 million metric tons. Boro production in 2007/08 was 18.7% higher than previous year’s production whereas Aus production didn’t gain any increase. Aman production during 2007-08 suffered from serious setback due to two rounds of floods and a devastating cyclone Sidr in 2007 and as so its production decreased by 10.9%. below previous year and 7.1 percent below the five-year average. Aman rice yield in 2007/08 was 1.91 tons/ha, a decrease of 4.4 percent below the national yield for the previous year of 2.0 tons/ha. The national average Boro rice yield of 3.86 tons/ha, an increase of 10 percent above the national yield for the previous year of 3.52 tons/ha. During this period, cultivated area under HYV Boro was highest at 3.69 million hectares and that of HYV Aman was 3.4 million hectares. Highest yield was for Boro-hybride at 5.61 metric tons per hectare and that for Boro-HYV and Aman-HYV were 3.79 and 2.27 metric tons per hectare respectively. Net production of food grains is calculated after deducting 10% for seed, feed and wastage.

 Table_Area Prod Yield Rice Wheat

 

 

Table_Rice Production Comparison_07-08

 

 

 Map_Aman Rice Production_2007-08_Bangladesh

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Map_Aus Rice Production_2007-08_Bangladesh

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 Map_Boro Rice Production_2007-08_Bangladesh

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Wheat is the second alternative cereal crop in Bangladesh next to rice. Wheat production has been declining over recent years, from 1.51 million tonnes in 2002-03 to 0.844 million tonnes in 2007-08. The area planted to wheat in 2007/08 has declined by 3.0 percent compared to 2006-07 and by 30.5 percent compared to average of five years and the land was planted instead to Boro. The main reason for the decline in wheat area is weather, which in recent years has been blamed for low yields. If low temperatures are prolonged in the winter season, the yield of wheat is increased. If winter is short the yield declines because of the temperature sensitivity of this crop. The winter season in 2007-08 had a long cool period for which wheat yield had improved at 2.18 t/ha compared to 1.84 t/ha the previous year, resulting in an increase of production of almost 15 percent above the previous year’s harvest.

 Map_Wheat Production_2007-08_Bangladesh

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It is observed from the table below that major cereal crop i.e., rice and wheat dominates the total cropping pattern in Bangladesh with 83.49% of land area under cereal production. Very little land is used to grow other foods such as pulse, fruits, oilseeds, vegitables etc. It is also observed that only rice dominates the cereal (rice and wheat) cropping pattern with 96.39 percent land under rice cultivation and only 3.61% under wheat cultivation. In terms of production, 97.17 percent of total cereal production is rice and the remaining 2.83 percent is wheat.

 Table_Percentage land planted to crop

 

Food Grain Import: In the regime of free economy, Bangladesh like many other countries, adopted a liberalized trade policy in the food grain sector. This facilitated the private sector to play an important role in augmenting the supply of foodgrain in the market and thus stabilizing the market prices. Private sector has been playing a vital role in foodgrain market since the inception of the private sector grain trading in early-1990. The government did not require to import any foodgrain by its own resources for the years 1999/00 to 2002/03 as the domestic supply was smooth through private sector import.

 

Total food grain import in the fiscale year 2007-08 as mentioned in the food situation report from the government Food Planning and Monitoring Unit/FPMU was 3.47 million metric tons against 2.42 million metric tons in 2006-07. Of this amount, 2.06 million metric tons was rice and the remaining 1.41 million metric tons was wheat. Private import constituted 84% of total import of which 58% was rice and 42% was wheat. There was 296 million metric tons of commercial/ public import of rice by the government but there was no such governmrnt import of wheat in 2007-08. The increased import of rice in 2007/08 was to compensate for the loss of rice production due to flood and cyclone. The government had to import more food grains in 2007/08 to recover the short fall in domestic procurement and to meet the increased requirement for PFDS, particularly resulting from the flood and cyclone in 2007. The projection for total food grain import in the fiscale year 2008/09 is 3.13 million metric tons of which 1.07 million metric tons rice and 2.06 million metric tons wheat.

 

Table_Food grain import situation

 

Food aid: Due to recent political and global socio-economic changes, the inflow of food-aid in the country has sharply reduced. After liberation to late nineties, the average annual food-aid was 1.0 to 1.2 million metric tons which reduced to only 242 thousand metric tons in 2002/03. Aid import constituted a very limited proportion of total public import, and only 82 thousand metric tons of rice and 177 thousand metric tons of wheat were received as food aid during 2007-08. The major aid providers are WFP, CARE and Sace the Children Fund. India, Pakistan, Italy, USA and Australia were the main donors.

 

Domestic Procurement of Food Grains for Public Stocks: The prime objectives of domestic procurement are to ensure remunerative prices to the producers, to build-up public stock and to stabilize the market prices of foodgrain. In the year 2007-08, a total of 1.3 million metric tons of food grains comprising 1.2 million metric tons of rice and 0.1 million metric tons of wheat was targeted to be procured locally. During 2007/08, Boro rice was procured in July-September 2007 and again in April to June 2008 amounting to 301.69 thousand metric tons. As the market price for Aman rice was higher than public procurement price in 2007-08, its procurement was not possible. Wheat procurement was also nil in 2007/08. In the fiscale year 2008/09, a total of 1.55 million metric tons of food grains comprising of 1.5 million metric tons of rice and 50 thousand metric tons of wheat was targeted to be procuted.

 

Export of Food Grains: Bangladesh produces aromatic fine quality rice in small scale such as kalijira, chinigura, kataribhog badshabhog etc. Although this rice is mostly consumed within the country at a very high price, a part of it is exported for which the major consumers are the ethnic Bangladeshi community living in different countries of the world. According to the information received from the Rice Exporters Association of Bangladesh, a total of 10,000 and 8,500 metric tons of aromatic fine rice were exported in 2006 and 2007 respectively mainly to USA, UK, Canada, Italy and some middle-eastern countries.

 

Public Food Distribution Operations: Public distribution of foodgrain in Bangladesh has it’s origin in the Bengal Rationing Order, 1943. Upto 1971, there had been 5 channels of distribution and the number has been raised afterwards to 13 out of which 8-10 are monetized or sales channels. Mainly rice and wheat are distributed through monetized and targeted channels under PFDS. From the very beginning of the 90’s government introduced some channels under poverty alleviation programme.  During the fiscale year 2007-08, a total of 1,329 thousand metric tons of food grains comprising of 1,080 thousand metric tons of rice and 248.5 thousand metric tons of wheat were distributed through the PFDS channels in 2007/08. A total of 3.47 million families were covered by the VGF programme where each family received 15 kg rice per month. Under VGD programme, each of the 0.75 million families received 25-30 kg rice/fortified atta per month. Grains distributed under FFW programme during 2007-08 included 88.28 thousand metric tons of rice and 50.52 thousand metric tons of wheat. Besides, 103.77 thousand metric tons of rice was distributed through TR and GR and 10.367 thousand metric tons of wheat was distributed as TR.The target for food grains distribution in the year 2008-09 was set at 2,974 thousand metric tons.

 

Table_Food grain distribution

 

Changes in availability and consumption pattern:

Using the traditional supply oriented approach, the availability of food on a per capita basis has increased from 453 gm/day in 1991/92 to 558 gm/day in 2007/08, almost 23 percent increase over the period (table below). According to the National Food Balance Sheet prepared by the government Food Planning and Monitoring Unit/FPMU, total requirement of food grains (considering per capita per day requirement of 453.6 gm) has increased from 18.79 million tons in 1991/92 to 24.17 million tons in 2007/08. In 1991/92, Bangladesh’s food gap was 1.32 million tons and since 1999/00 Bangladesh has had a surplus in food grain production. Amount of surplus food grain production in 2007/08 was 2.62 million tons. Net domestic availability of food grains (including imports and PFDS) has increased from 18.69 million tons in 1991/92 to 29.74 million tons in 2007/08. There is however discrepancies between foodgrain production statistics from different government sources, which can be reconciled when complete agricultural census report is available.

 Table_food Grain Availability_1991-2008

 

 

 

Geography of Bangladesh

Bangladesh occupies one of the biggest deltas in the world, with an area of about 147,570 sq. km. It enjoys sub-tropical monsoon climate and experiences annual average of 2,300 mm precipitation, varying from as little as 1,200 mm in the west to over 5,000 mm in the east. India borders the country in the north, and west. The southern part of the country lies on the coastal belt of the Bay of Bengal while Myanmar borders part of the southeastern area.

Bangladesh is the lowest country connected to the world’s three great river basins: the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna (GMB Basins). A combined total catchment area of about 1.7 million sq. km., extending over Bhutan, China, India and Nepal, flow through Bangladesh. Only 7 percent of this huge catchment lies in Bangladesh and 93 percent outside the country. The river systems drain the run-off generated from one of the heaviest rainfall areas in the world. The annual flow volume of the rivers is ~1,200 billion cubic meters, and 80 percent of the flow passes during the Monsoon season (June to September).

The country is extremely flat with only a few hills in the southeast and the northeast parts of the country. Generally, ground slopes of the country extend from the north to the south and the elevation ranges from 1-60 meters above Mean Sea Level (MSL). Due to the unique topography, river system and rainfall pattern, floods occur in Bangladesh almost every year and devastatie everything on a 5 to 10 year interval. The rivers both big and small gradually became incapable of draining the huge quantity of silt-laden run-off passing through them during the monsoon period, causing floods. The unique coastline, conical in shape, causes a higher sea level during monsoon period.

 

Water Resources

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Water is essential for ensuring food production. The main sources of water are rainfall, surface water and ground water. There are three main water bodies in Bangladesh, the Ganges river, the Brahmaputra river and the Meghna river. The country has 230 rivers including 57 international rivers. Among them, 54 rivers originated in India, including the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna. The country consists of the flood plains of these three major river systems and their numerous tributaries. The Ganges and the Brahmaputra join together in Bangladesh near Goalando and are known as the Padma river. The river Meghna joins the Padma near Chandpur and flows to the Bay of Bengal as the Meghna river. Three minor rivers originated from Myanmar.

 

Rainfall

Bangladesh has an average rainfall of about 2300 mm, ranging from 1250-5000 mm. Mean annual rainfall is lowest in the centre-west (1250 mm). It increases towards the north, east and south, reaching more than 2500 mm in the extreme north-west, near and within the northern and eastern hills, and near the coast, and exceeding 5000 mm in the extreme north- east. In all areas, about 85-90 percent of the annual total occurs between mid-April and end-September. Totals vary considerably between years. This is mainly because of the yearly variability in pre-monsoon rainfall and the irregular incidence of heavy rainfall events within the monsoon season. Winter rainfall, when it occurs may be either from local thunderstorms or from depressions crossing northern India. Pre-monsoon thunderstorms usually give rainfall of high intensity. Periods of heavy monsoon rainfall may give more than 100 mm in a day.

The heavy rainfall between May and September comes at a time when the major rivers are bringing in large volumes of water from the upper catchment areas outside Bangladesh. The high river levels block drainage of rainwater from the land. Because of this, most floodplain areas are submerged by rainwater in the monsoon season. In Bangladesh, there is a difference between flooding and flood. Flooding implies inundation of the land by water, such as floodplain inhabitants expect in ‘normal’ years and on which farmers base their traditional cropping patterns. On the other hand, flood implies abnormal submergence of the land, which may cause damage or loss of crops, property and lives.

 

Ground Water

Bangladesh has increased the system for groundwater irrigation for rice production in dry months. Two major groundwater irrigation devices are Deep Tubewell (DTW) and Shallow Tubewell (STW). There are other, traditional groundwater devices such as hand tubewell, treadle pump and dug wells, which have very low discharge in irrigation command areas. In 2006, the number of DTWs increased to 28000 from 14000 in the early eighties, irrigating 0.7 million hectares. The number of STWs increased from about 0.5 million in the early eighties to 1.2 million in 2006, irrigating 3.12 million hectares. About 80 percent of total irrigated area is covered by groundwater. STWs have been the dominant source, providing 65 percent of total irrigation area and 80 percent of total groundwater irrigation.

 

Soil Classification

 

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A total of 22 general soil types have been recognized in Bangladesh. Table below gives a summary description of 22 soil types, indicating their relative proportions. The composition of the 22 soil units is also shown on the map above.

 

Soil Classification of Bangladesh

 

Soil Type

% of total area

Major Crops Grown

 

Noncalcareous Alluvium

3.5

Mainly dry-season crop like cheena, kaon, mustard and groundnut.

Calcareous Alluvium(Nonsaline)

2.3

Mainly dry-season crop like pulses, mustard and groundnut.

Calcareous Alluvium(Saline)

6.4

Transplanted Aman

Acid Sulphate Soils

0.5

Transplanted Aman

Peat Soils

1.6

Transplanted Aman and Aus

Noncalcareous Grey Floodplain Soils (Nonsaline)

21.2

Aus or Jute followed by transplanted Aman

Noncalcareous Grey Floodplain Soils (Saline)

2.6

Transplanted Aman

Noncalcareous Grey Floodplain Soils and Acid Sulphate Soils

4.6

Sundarban is under mangrove forest and to the north used for transplanted Aman

Noncalcareous and Calcareous Grey Floodplain Soils

1.3

Transplanted Aman

Calcareous Grey and Noncalcareous Dark Grey Floodplain Soils

0.3

Within CIP areas HYV boro followed by HYV amon but outside CIP mixed Aus and Aman or jute

Noncalcareous Dark Grey Floodplain Soils

6.4

Aus-transplanted Amon on non-irrigated land but Boro-transplanted Aman with irrigation.

Noncalcareous Dark Grey and Grey Floodplain Soils

5.2

Irrigated HYV Boro, mustard and pulses

Calcareous Dark Grey and Brown Floodplain Soils

15.4

Aus or jute followed by rabi crops or Aus-transplanted Aman followed by rabi crops. With irrigation HYV Aus is followed ny HYV Aman.

Grey Piedment Soils, Noncalcareous Grey Floodplain Soils Acid Basin Clays

2.8

Broadcast or transplanted Aus followed by transplanted Aman.

Acid Basin Clays

0.1

40 percent dry-season grazing, 30 percent deepwater Aman and local Boro paddy

Acid Basin Clays and Noncalcareous Grey Floodplain Soils

2.2

Local Boro, HYV Boro and deepwater Aman

Noncalcareous Brown and Dark Grey Floodplain Soils

2.2

Transplanted Aman.

Black Terai Soils 

0.5

Transplanted Aman.

Brown Hill Soils

12.6

Shifting (Jhum) cultivation of Aus paddy mixed with hill cotton, pulses, gourds, vegetables and maize

Deep Red-Brown Terrace Soils

3.0

A small part is under reserved forest, but most part are used for Aus paddy followed by early dryland rabi crops

Deep Red-Brown and Deep Grey Terrace Soils

0.7

On the well-drained red soils jacfruit trees and Aus followed by rabi crops but on the less drained red soils Aus-transplanted aman.

Deep and Shallow Grey Terrace Soils

4.6

Under rainfed condition, transplanted aman is the principal crop. Tubewell irrigation has spread widely in the past three decades, making HYV Boro the principal crop.

Total

100.0

 

 

Source: Brammer, H. 1996: The Geography of the Soils of Bangladesh, pp. 146-166


Rice Ecosystems

In Bangladesh, the rice-growing environment is classified into three major ecosystems based on physiography and land types: irrigated, rainfed, and floating or deepwater. The rainfed ecosystem has been further classified as rainfed lowland and rainfed upland. Thus, all rice varieties cultivated in the country are grouped into distinct rice ecotypes such as Boro, Transplanted Aus, Transplanted Aman, Upland Aus, and Deepwater rice (Floating rice). Boro rice is grown completely under the irrigated ecosystem during the dry period (November to July) while T. Aman (during July to December), T. Aus (during April to August) and Upland rice (during March to July) are grown under the rainfed ecosystem. Of the total 13.8 million ha of cultivable land in the country (UNDP/FAO, 1988), 10.27 million ha (74.4 percent) are devoted to rice cultivation covering the above four ecosystems (BBS, 1993 & 1997; Hamid 1991). Besides these, special types of ecosystems, like tidal wetland, cover about 425 thousand ha and about 3.05 million ha of coastal saline soil and are included in the 10.27 million ha of rice land.

The area, production, and yield of rice in different ecosystems during 1998 can be seen in the table below. Rice was cultivated on about 10.27 million ha including about 3.47 million ha of tidal wetlands (both saline and non saline). Modern varieties (MV) of rice cover about 31.4 percent of the total Aus area (lowland and upland) contributing 47 percent to the total Aus rice production, 51 percent of T. Aman area sharing about 59 percent of total Aman rice production and 92.4 percent of Boro area contributing 96 percent to total Boro rice production.

 

Area, Rice Production and Yield under Various Ecosystems in 1998

 

Ecosystem

Ecotype

Variety

Area (million ha)

Production (million tonnes)

Yield (t/ha)

Irrigated

Boro

Local Modern

0.22

2.67

0.52

12.03

1.54

4.51

Rainfed Lowland

T Amon*

Local

Modern

2.45

2.55

5.51

8.05

1.72

3.14

 

T. Aus

Modern

0.49

1.35

2.76

Rainfed Upland

DSR Aus

Local

1.07

1.55

1.45

Floating

Deepwater rice

Local

0.81

1.46

1.80

Tidal Wetland Non-saline

Boro/T. Aman

HYV/Local

(0.425)

 

 

Saline

T. Aman

Local

(3.053)

 

 

Total

 

 

10.26

30.47

 

* Including tidal wetlands

 

The classification of land types in relation to seasonal flooding is shown in the table below.

Land Type

Description


Highland

Which is above normal flood level


Medium Highland

Which normally is flooded up to about 90 cm deep during the monsoon season


Medium Lowland

Which normally is flooded up to between 90 cm and 180 cm during the monsoon season


Lowland

Which normally is flooded up to between 180 cm and 300 cm during the monsoon season


Very Lowland

Which normally is flooded deeper than 300 cm during the monsoon season


Bottomland

Depressio land in any of the above land types which remains wet throughout the year


 

Regional and local differences in timing, depth and duration of seasonal flooding are of great importance for land use, especially for agriculture. For example, only local, early-maturing varieties of boro paddy can be grown in low-lying parts where floodwater normally starts to rise in April; such sites are normally unsuitable for deepwater aman because of the risk of floodwater during early growth stages of the crop or because the soils stay wet throughout the dry season. Similarly, little transplanted aman is grown on shallowly-flooded parts of the Ganges river floodplain. This is because peak flood-levels normally occur in August-September, which is the main planting period for t-aman crop, whereas the crop is grown extensively on the Brahmaputra-Jamuna floodplains where flood waters have usually started to retreat by then. On the other hand, severe losses of transplanted aman occur when late Brahmaputra floods occur.

Only long-stem varieties of aman paddy (deepwater or broadcast aman) can be grown in areas where flood depths exceed about 50 cm in July-September, the period when transplanted aman varieties are planted; however, deepwater aman cannot be sown or transplanted in basin sites where flood-levels may rise rapidly in the pre-monsoon and early monsoon seasons while the seedlings are still short; it is not grown on land which stays wet during the dry season.

 

Deepwater Rice

Rice grown in more than 50 cm water for one month or longer during the growing season is called deep water rice. Based on stature and depth of water, there are two types: traditional tall and floating rice. Traditional, tall cultivars have long leaves, and are grown at water depths between 50 and 100 cm; floating rice is grown in 100 cm or deeper situations. In Bangladesh, most of the rice grown in low-lying areas during the monsoon season are floating type, generally called deepwater rice. 

In Bangladesh, deepwater rice occupied 2.09 million ha (21 percent of the total rice area) in the late 1960s. The area has now shrunk to about 0.85 million ha because of cultivation of high yielding varieties under irrigation in deepwater rice fields in the dry season (boro). At present, 1.24 million ha remain fallow during the monsoon. Deepwater rice is usually dry seeded in the months of March-April following the first monsoon shower. In some areas, farmers establish deepwater rice by transplanting seedlings following the cultivation of dry season rice. Very little fertilizer is used and weeds are effectively controlled by harrowing and hand weeding, twice before flooding occurs.

 

Rainfed Rice

This type of rice is grown using rain-based agriculture and little or no irrigated water. Due to agro-ecological and socio-economical specialties, the farmers of Bangladesh devised a sustainable, low-input, risk-aversion type of mixed farming to attain a minimum food security in the face of natural hazards. Due to its geographical location, Bangladesh has a uni-modal monsoon climate bracketed by a hot-humid summer and a dry, mild winter. The total rainfed food grain cropped area in 1994-95 was 10.6 million ha, about 76 percent of the total cropped area.

The rainfed rice crop consists of aus and aman groups, high yielding varieties, local aus, broadcast aman, and local transplant-aman. The extent of the rainfed area is about ~94 percent of the total area under aus and aman crops. In the Kharif season, apart from rice, sesame (til), cowpea, sorghum (jowar) and some millet (cheena, kaon, bajra, etc) are grown. However, in the Rabi season boro rice, wheat, maize, cheena, kaon, oilseeds and pulse crops are grown extensively. About 56 percent of the wheat crop is rainfed. Only 10 percent of the boro crop is rainfed which mostly covers local boro crops. The rainfed area of pulses and oil seeds exceed more than 95 percent of the total area.

 

Dry-Season Irrigated Rice

In the non-flooded areas, various crops are grown both under rainfed and irrigation conditions. During the dry, cooler period, non-rice crops are grown under residual moisture. Boro rice is grown extensively with irrigation.

Area irrigated under different crops (Thousand acres)

Crops

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

Rice Aus

220

211

-

-

-

Rice Aman

785

805

838

1162

1368

Rice Boro

8526

8938

9049

9560

10050

Total Rice

9531

9954

9887

10722

 

Wheat

976

944

900

855

773

 

Main Crops Cultivated

In Bangladesh, the major cereals are rice and wheat and the minor cereals include barley/jab, joar, bazra, cheena and kaon; of the oil seeds, rape and mustard are most important. About 85 percent of the population is directly or indirectly engaged in agriculture and about 64 percent of the land is under crop cultivation.

Major crops are those that are grown on one percent or more of the gross-cropped area (GCA). In Bangladesh, only nine crops- rice (73.94 percent), wheat (4.45 percent), jute (3.91 percent), rape and mustard (3.08 percent), lentil (1.54 percent), chicklling vetch (1.25 percent), potato (1.13 percent), sugarcane (1.12 percent), and chilli (1.05 percent) are grown on 1 percent or more of the crop acreage (14.61 million hectare).

Minor crops are those that are grown on less than one percent of the gross cropped area (GCA). In Bangladesh gram (0.78 percent), millet and maize (0.60 percent), onion (0.58 percent), black gram (0.51 percent), sweet potato (0.45 percent), groundnut (0.40 percent), green pea (0.36 percent), sesame (0.33 percent), linseed (0.30 percent), garlic (0.20 percent), pea (0.12 percent), and barley (0.10 percent) are grown on less than 1 percent of the gross cropped area. Some crops, including vegetables, spices, etc., occupy an insignificant proportion of the GCA (i.e. less than 0.10 percent to each crop), and they altogether account for 1.57 percent.

      Kharif Crop: Crops that are grown during the season that starts from April and extends up to November, when the moisture supply from rainfall plus soil storage is enough to support rainfed crops. In other words, Kharif crops are grown in the spring or summer season and harvested in late summer or in early winter. The season is conveniently divided into Kharif I and Kharif II. Kharif I, often called Pre-kharif, actually starts from the last week of March and ends in May. The Kharif season is characterized by high temperature, rainfall and humidity.

The principal crops grown in the country during this season are as follows: (i) cereals- broadcast and transplant aus, transplant aman, prosomillet, foxtail millet, and sorghum; (ii) tuber and root crops- panikachu, mukhikachu, olkachu, mankachu, and pancha mukhikachu; (iii) oilseeds- sesame, groundnut, and soybean; (iv) pulses- black gram, mungbean, and pigeon pea; (v) summer vegetables- lady's finger, red amaranths, amaranths, Indian Spinach, sweet gourd, ash gourd, bitter gourd, squash, palwal, snake gourd, teasle gourd, yardlong bean, brinjal, and summer tomato; (vi) spices- green chillies, ginger, and turmeric; (vii) fibre crops- jute, kenaf, mesta, and cotton; (viii) sugar crops- sugarcane; (ix) stimulant- tea, and (x) fruit plants- banana, pineapple, papaya, and melon. Most Kharif crops are subject to drought and floods in areas where there are no irrigation systems and flood control measures.

   Rabi Crop: Crops that are grown in one of the two agricultural seasons called Rabi that begins at the end of the humid period when the Southeast monsoon begins to stop in November and extends up to the end of March. The season is characterized by dry sunny weather, warm at the beginning and end, but cool in December-February. The average length of the Rabi growing period ranges from 100-120 days in the extreme west to 140-150 days in the Northeast part of Bangladesh.

Major Rabi crops grown in the country include: (i) cereals- wheat, maize, barley, and boro rice; (ii) tuber and roots crops- potato and sweet potato; (iii) oilseeds- mustard, sesame, groundnut, niger, sunflower, linseed, and safflower; (iv) pulses- chickpea, lentil, grass pea, and cowpea; (v) winter vegetables- cabbage, cauliflower, brinjal, tomato, carrot, turnip, radish, spinach, lettuce, bottle gourd, country bean, and garden pea; (vi) spices- chilli, onion, garlic, coriander, sweet cumin, black cumin, and fenugreek; (vii) fibre crops- sunhemp; (viii) sugar crop- sugarcane; (ix) stimulant- tobacco, and (x) fruit plants- watermelon. Rabi crops can use residual moisture stored down to 125 cm in soils. [MS Islam]

 

Rice

Three seasonal rice groups are recognized in Bangladesh and it dominates the cropping pattern throughout the country. Almost 90 percent population are rice eaters. These three groups are cultivated throughout the year as Aus, Aman or Boro. The varieties of Aman are transplant, broadcast and high yielding variety (HYV), varieties of Aus are local and HYV and varieties of Boro are local, HYV and hybrid. Among these croppings Aman is most important and occupies about 48.46% of the rice cultivated land. The rest 42.71% and 8.83% of the land is occupied by Boro and Aus respectively. Rice covers about 70 percent of the total annual cropped area. Transplanted Aman is grown throughout Bangladesh and  broadcast Aman is grown mostly in the south and southeastern part of the country. Aus is cultivated scatteredly in most of the districts. Rice is grown throughout the year and provides employment for 75 percent of the total labour force in the rural areas of Bangladesh.

Rice is rich in carbohydrates. The protein content is about 8.5 percent. Rice does not have C and A vitamins. The thiamin and riboflavin contents are 0.27 and 0.12 micrograms respectively. The Food Department of the Government of Bangladesh recommends 410 gms of rice/head/day.

Table below shows the statistics of rice production in Bangladesh during 2007-2008. Total production of rice rose to 28.929 million metric tons in 2007-08. During this period, cultivated area under HYV Boro was highest at 3.69 million hectares and that of HYV Aman was 3.4 million hectares. Highest yield was for Boro-hybride at 5.61 metric tons per hectare and that for Boro-HYV and Aman-HYV were 3.79 and 2.27 metric tons per hectare respectively.

 

Area, Production and Yield of Rice in Bangladesh during 2007-08

Rice

Cultivated Area (Million Hectares)

% of total Area Cultivated

Yield (Metric Tons per Hectare)

Production (Million Metric Tons)

% of total Production

Aman - Broadcast

0.31

2.98

0.93

0.287

0.99

Aman - Transplant

1.34

12.86

1.24

1.660

5.74

Aman – HYV

3.40

32.63

2.27

7.715

26.67

Aman - Total

5.05

48.46

1.91

9.662

33.40

Aus – Local

0.36

3.45

1.14

0.407

1.41

Aus – HYV

0.56

5.37

1.96

1.099

3.8

Aus - Total

0.92

8.83

1.64

1.506

5.2

Boro – Local

0.13

1.25

1.79

0.225

0.78

Boro – HYV

3.69

35.41

3.79

13.984

48.34

Boro - Hybrid

0.63

6.05

5.61

3.552

12.28

Boro - Total

4.45

42.71

3.86

17.761

61.40

Total Rice

10.42

 

 

28.929

 

Source: Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) 2008

 

Aus paddy is sown in the pre-monsoon season and harvested in the monsoon season, grown both as a dry land crop (broadcast Aus) and as transplant Aus. Aman paddy growing in the monsoon season and harvested after the monsoon season; and Boro, grown in the dry season. Aman is divided into deepwater aman, mainly sown as a dryland crop pre-monsoon, growing in up to 4 meter of water in the monsoon season, and harvested post-monsoon; and transplanted aman, sown in seedbeds in mid-monsoon, transplanted to fields in <30 cm water in August-September, and harvested post-monsoon. Boro paddy is always transplanted and is mainly irrigated.

 

Sowing and harvesting period of different varieties of rice:

Rice

Sowing Period

Harvesting Period

Aus

Mid March to mid April

Mid July to early Aug

Aman - Broadcast

Mid March to mid April

Mid Nov to mid Dec

Aman – Transplant

End June to early Sep

Dec to early Jan

Boro – Local

Mid Nov to mid Jan

April to May

Boro – HYV

Dec to mid Feb

Mid April to June

Source: Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics

 

Wheat

After rice, wheat is the most important crop in Bangladesh. It is grown mainly in the drier parts of the north and cultivated only as a winter crop (Nov-Dec). It is mostly used as ata or maida (wheat flour) for preparation of bread and cakes. Wheat is grown under a wide range of climatic and soil conditions and grows well in clayey loam soils. In Bangladesh, it is a crop of Rabi season, requires dry weather and bright sunlight. Well distributed rainfall between 40 and 110 cm is sufficient for its growth. Depending on variety and weather conditions, 100-120 days are required from sowing to harvest. The harvesting time of wheat is March to mid April.

Farmers in Bangladesh grow wheat, fitting the crop into their intensive, rice-based cropping system. About 80 percent of wheat area is planted in a three-crop rotation, 60 percent being aus rice, transplanted aman rice-wheat and 20 percent being jute-transplanted aman rice-wheat. About 2 million farmers benefit from wheat cultivation; about 600,000 people are employed for a period of 120 man-days during the wheat season.

 

Area, Production and Yield of rice and wheat during 2007-08

Cereal

Cultivated Area (Million Hectares)

% of total Area Cultivated

Yield (Metric Tons per Hectare)

Production (Million Metric Tons)

% of total Production

Aman Rice

5.05

48.46

1.91

9.662

33.40

Aus Rice

0.92

8.83

1.64

1.506

5.21

Boro Rice

4.45

42.71

3.86

17.761

61.40

Rice Total

10.42

96.39

2.78

28.929

97.17

Wheat

0.39

3.61

2.18

0.844

2.83

Total Cereal

10.81

 

 

29.773

 

Source: Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) 2008

 

Potato

In Bangladesh, potato is primarily used as a vegetable but it is also considered as a staple food like many other countries. Potato varieties that are cultivated in Bangladesh are broadly categorized into two groups: local and high yielding (HYV). In spite of poor yields, some of the local varieties are still being cultivated because of their taste and cooking qualities. There are about 27 local varieties and at least 10 high yielding varieties (HYV) of potato that are cultivated in the country. Most varieties are cultivated during the winter in all the districts of Bangladesh and harvested February-March. Of the total 401,850 hectares of land used for potato cultivation during 2007-2008, 81,370 hectares for local and 320,480 hectares for high yielding varieties. The gross production of potato during 2007-2008 was 6.65 million MT.

 Map_Potato Production_2007-08_Bangladesh

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Area and Production of potato during 2007-2008

Potato

Cultivated Area (Thousand Hectares)

Yield (Metric Tons per Hectare)

Production (Thousand Metric Tons)

Local

81.37

10.89

886

HYV

320.48

17.98

5762

Total Potato

401.85

16.54

6648

 


Production of potato during 2002-03 to 2007-08

Potato

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Thousand MT

3,386

3,907

4,856

4,161

5,167

6,648

 

Pulses

The common pulses in Bangladesh are Masur (lentil), Mung (green gram), Mashkalai (black gram), Chhola (chick pea), Kheshari (lathyrus or grass pea), and Motor (pea). Kheshari is widely cultivated, mostly as fodder, and also consumed by the villagers of the northern part of the country. Masur is popular to all classes of people, and is taken in almost all meals. Mashkalai and Chhola are taken occasionally. Pulses are cultivated as rabi crop, mainly in the western and northern parts. The sowing period of masur pulse is mid October to mid November and that of Kheshari is mid October to mid December. The harvesting period of Masur pulse is early February to early March and that of Kheshari is mid February to mid April. Pulses contain high amounts of protein (20-25 percent); along with proteins, pulses also supply a good proportion of carbohydrate, fats and minerals.

 

Production of principal pulses (2002-03 to 2006-07)

Pulses

2002-2003 (MT)

2002-2003 (MT)

2002-2003 (MT)

2002-2003 (MT)

2006-2007 (MT)

Kheshari

157,000

134,000

136,000

107,000

83,000

Masur

116,000

122,000

121,000

115,000

117,000

Gram

11,000

10,000

10,000

10,000

10,000

Mashkalai

16,000

18,000

17,000

17,000

18,000

Mung

30,000

30,000

18,000

17,000

19,000

Motor

12,000

13,000

9,000

8,000

7,000

Arhar

2,000

2,000

1,000

1,000

1,000

Other pulses

4,000

4,000

4,000

4,000

3,000

Total

349,000

333,000

316,000

279,000

258,000

 

Vegetables

Vegetables are important for food security in Bangladesh. Nearly 100 different types of vegetables, comprising both local and exotic types, are grown in Bangladesh. However, the availability of vegetables is only about 20 percent of the recommended requirement of 200 g/person/day. Vegetable farming in Bangladesh can be grouped into 3 categories based on scale of production and objectives of farming: vegetable production on homestead, vegetable production for commercial market and vegetable farming for seed production.

The area under vegetable farming has increased over time. The production of vegetables has also increased from about 1.47 million metric tons in 2002-03 to about 1.89 million metric tons in 2006-07. The major winter vegetables are cabbage, cauliflower, tomato, brinjal, radish, hyacinth bean, bottle gourd, and major summer vegetables are pumpkin, bitter gourd, teasle gourd, ribbed gourd, ash gourd, okra, yard-long bean, and Indian spinach among others. Some vegetables like brinjal, pumpkin, okra, and red amaranth are found to grow in both the seasons.

 

Industrial Crops

Fiber crops such as jute, cotton, hemp and kenaf are some common industrial crops. Jute dominates among fiber crops, having about 737,000 metric tons of annual production. Jute leads the country's list of export crops. It is confined mainly to the low-lying areas of the Brahmaputra-Jamuna and Padma floodplains. Other cash crops of Bangladesh include tea, tobacco, rubber, ornamental flowers, and plants that produce perfumes, pharmaceuticals, and dyes. Tea comes second as an export cash crop. It is mainly grown in the hills of Maulvi Bazar district and small areas of Habiganj, Sylhet, Chittagong, and Cox's Bazar districts. Three other minor cash crops are tobacco, betel nut, and betel vine. Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari, Rangpur and Kushtia have the maximum share in tobacco cultivation. Betel nut cultivation is generally concentrated in the seaward districts, while betel vine is an important crop in certain areas of Barisal, Cox's Bazar, Rajshahi, Maulvi Bazar, and Satkhira

 

Land Distribution

 

Distribution of farms and farm land (2005)

Farm size (hactare)

No. of farm holdings (million)

% of total farm holdings

Area of farm land (million hactare)

% of total farm land

Marginal farms

(0.02-0.20)

5.8

38.63

1.01

11.20

Small Farms (0.21 - 0.40)

3.6

23.55

1.40

15.49

Small Farms (0.41-0.60)

2.1

14.00

1.28

14.22

Small Farms (0.61-1.00)

1.8

12.31

1.69

18.79

Mdium farms

(1.01-3.00)

1.6

10.34

2.70

30.20

Large farms (3.01+)

0.2

1.17

0.91

10.10

All

15.01

100.00

9.03

100.00

Source: Report on the Agriculture Sample Survey of Bangladesh-2005, Vol.-1.

 

Land in Bangladesh is unequally distributed. Small farms, defined as those operating up to 1 hectare, account for 88 percent of the total number of farms, but they operate only 60 percent of land (see table). Inequality increases as the farm size gets smaller, farms operating up to 0.4 hectare (1 acre) account for 62 percent of all farms, but they operate only 27 percent of total land. Large farm holdings are gradually disappearing and their number currently accounts for 1 percent, but they cultivate 10 percent of farm land. Total farm land in the country is decreasing at about 1 percent rate annually due to loss of land to urbanization, infrastructure, housing settlement, etc. Farms are getting fragmented and subdivided due to operations of law of inheritance.

 

Land Utilization (area in ‘000’ acre)

Year    Forest area    Cultivatable waste area    Current fallow area    Single cropped area    double cropped area    tripple cropped area    Net cropped area    Total cropped area

1999-00    6490    781    862    7395    10246    2460    20101    35267

2000-01    6491    794    987    7141    10293    2536    19970    35335

2001-02    6365    799    1005    7097    10200    2527    19824    35076

2002-03    6418    764    957    7108    10193    2544    19845    35126

2003-04    6418    736    957    794    10212    2538    19843    35129

2004-05    6420    663    1159    7091    10082    2530    19703    34845

2005-06    6420    640    1518    7041    9841    2407    19703    33944

Source: BBS Agriculture Wing

 

Cropping Season/ Cropping Pattern

The dominant cropping patterns of Bangladesh are shown in the map below. Most areas allow three crops a year with the exception of the Sylhet hoar basin, the drought-prone areas in the west and the coastal areas. Rice is grown throughout the country with the exception of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Wheat is predominantly grown in the north-west and in districts along the Padma river.  The main vegetable producing areas are in the west around the town of Jessore. The availability of fresh vegetables here may be an important factor for the low incidence of child malnutrition in this area.

 

crop_calendar_bang_usda_fao.JPG

 

 

Food supply varies according to the season, with domestic food supplies being scarce during the lean seasons in March–April and October–November, prior to harvesting. The lean seasons are characterized by a lack of agricultural employment opportunities, low agricultural wages and high rice prices. An annual phenomenon is the occurrence of “monga” (hunger), particularly in the north-western region of the country during this time.

Crop combination is a pattern of cultivating two or more crops in a cropping season. This practice provides farmers with opportunities for harvesting diverse crops from the same land, increasing total land productivity, and maintaining or improving soil fertility through use of legumes. The major cereal cropping system of Bangladesh is rice and wheat grown on the same field but in different seasons during the year. Although the rice-wheat cropping pattern is the major cereal production pattern, farmers are sowing continuous cereals year after year. Although the area of rice-wheat may not change within years on a national level, farmers themselves are changing their cropping pattern within their plots. Farmers sow pulses, oilseeds, potatos, vegetables and sugarcanes on the plots previously in rice-wheat. Commonly used 2-crop combinations are aman-boro rice, aman-aus rice and aman-boro rice, 3-crop combinations are aman-boro-aus, aman-boro-jute and aman-boro-pulse. 4-crop combinations are boro-aman-jute-mustard, boro-aman-mustrad-aus, aman-aus-boro-tea, aman-boro-jute-wheat, aman-wheat-boro-aus, aman-boro-wheat-aus, and aman-aus-maskalai-boro.

Because of its tropical location, Bangladesh is able to plant several crops on the same lamd each uear. The crop-growing period is divided into two main seasons, Kharif and Rabi. Crops (such as rice, jute, maize, millets, etc) which are grown during the Kharif season are called Kharif crops and those (such as wheat, mustard, chickpea, lentil etc) grown during the Rabi season are called Rabi crops. The Kharif season extends from May through October, while the Rabi seasons starts from November and continues up to April. In addition to these two main seasons, another transition season called Pre-kharif has been identified. This season starts from March-April and ends in May-June.

The major characteristics of the cropping seasons of Bangladesh are described below:

Pre-Kharif Season is characterized by unreliable rainfall and varies in timing, frequency and intensity from year to year, and provides only an intermittent supply of moisture for such crops as jute, broadcast aman, aus, groundnut, amaranths, teasle gourd, etc. During this transition period, soils intermittently become moist and dry. The relative lengths and frequency of such periods depend on the timing and intensity of pre-monsoon rainfall during this season in individual years.

With the expansion of irrigation facilities, some of the Pre-kharif crops are now grown under irrigated conditions. These include sugarcane, maize, jute, amaranths, groundnut, banana, sesame, lady's finger, teasle gourd, sweet gourd, white gourd, bitter gourd, balsam apple, ribbed gourd, Indian spinach, ginger, turmeric etc.

The Kharif Season starts from May when the moisture supply from rainfall plus soil storage is enough to support rainfed or un-irrigated Kharif crops. The season actually begins on the date from which precipitation continuously exceeds 0.5 Potential Evapotranspiration (PET) and ends on the date when the combination of precipitation plus an assumed 100 mm of soil moisture storage after the rainy season falls below 0.5 PET. During the greater part of this season, precipitation exceeds full PET and water can be held on the surface of impermeable soils by bunds. The period of excess precipitation is called the humid period.

The crops most extensively cultivated during the Kharif season are jute, aus, broadcast aman, transplant aman, sesame, different kinds of summer vegetables, ginger, turmeric, pepper, green chilli, different kinds of aroids, cotton, mungbean, black gram, etc. Most Kharif crops are subject to drought and flood in areas without water control.

The Rabi season starts at the end of the humid period and lasts to the pre-kharif season. The mean length of the Rabi growing period ranges from 100-120 days in the extreme west to 140-150 days in the northeast of the country. The mean starting date of the Rabi season ranges from 1-10 October in the extreme west, to 1-10 November in the Northeast, and in central and eastern coastal areas. The mean end dates range from 1-10 February in the following year in extreme west to 20-31 March in the Northeast. Most common Rabi or winter crops are wheat, maize, mustard, groundnut, sesame, tobacco, potato, sweet potato, sugarcane, lentil, chickpea, grass pea etc. On lowlands, very lowlands and bottomlands where flooding continues even after the end of rainy season, the Rabi season starts from the date when flooding ends.

 Cropping Pattern and Landuse


Livestock

The major livestock in Bangladesh are cattle, buffalo, goat, sheep, fowl and duck. Livestock constitute an important part of country’s wealth. In addition to draft power and leather, livestock provides manure, meat and milk to the vast majority of the people. The Government of Bangladesh has given top priority to livestock development in recent years to meet the growing demand for milk, meat and egg production, and to create employment and generate income for the rural poor. Statistics show that about 6.5 percent of national GDP is covered by the livestock sector, and its annual rate of productivity is 9 percent. About 20 percent of the population of Bangladesh earns their livelihood through work associated with raising cattle and poultry. Draught power for tilling the land, the use of cowdung as manure and fuel, and animal power for transportation make up about 15 percent of the GDP. In addition, hides and skins, bones, offals, feathers, etc, help in earning foreign exchange. Livestock resources also play an important role in the sustenance of landless people.

 

National Number of Livestock and Poultry

No Cattle and Buffaloes

25.2 million

No of Goats and Sheep

17.5 million

No of Fowls and Ducks

188.4 million

No of Pigeons

10.9 million

Source: Agriculture Sample Survey 2005, BBS

 

 

The relative contribution of the livestock sector to the national economy:

Total national income

6.5%

Whole time work provision

20%

Part time work provision

50%

Nutrition (combined with fisheries sector)

80%

Export (only in livestock sector)

13%

Animal draft power in agriculture

95%

Animal draft power in transportation

50%

Manure production

80 million m ton

Organic manure production

10% of chemical fertiliser

Fuel supply

20%

 

Different livestock farms during 1995 to 1998.

Type of farm

1995-96

1996-97

1997-98

Dairy Farm

23,924

26,581

29,649

Goat Farm

9,228

15,249

20,833

Sheep Farm

4,186

6,666

10,289

Source Department of Livestock Services

 

The people of Bangladesh rear three categories of cattle: pure breed, crossbreed, and local. The pure breed and the crossbreed cattle have high nutritional requirement, less adaptability, and are susceptible to parasitic infestation and diseases compared to the local variety. The local variety is less prone to diseases and is heat tolerant. To improve the production potential of the local cattle, efforts were made to cross breed with different exotic breeds. A number of exotic pure breeds, their crossbreeds, and up-graded cattle are found in the government dairy farms, commercial dairy farms, milk producing areas, and in urban and semi-urban areas of Bangladesh.

In Bangladesh, cattle is mostly reared as a component of traditional crop-based mixed farming or a source of traction power and manure. In Bangladesh the number of cattle per farm and system of cattle management vary with farm sizes. Four types of farms are generally recognized, depending on the land size: very small (less than 0.5 acre), small (0.51 to 2.00 acre), medium (2.01 to 5.0 acre), and large (above 5.0 acre). In Bangladesh, the total cattle population is about 23.4 million.

Buffaloes are seen only in a few districts in Bangladesh and are used as draft animals for ploughing and pulling carts. The goat ranks second in position in terms of meat, milk, and skin production, representing about 28, 23, and 28 percent respectively of the total livestock in Bangladesh. Cattle and buffalo provide the necessary draft power for ploughing, road and farm transport, threshing, and crushing of sugarcane and oil seeds. There is acute shortage of animal power for tillage. The average body weight and power output of cattle in Bangladesh is very low compared to many other countries of the world. Poor genetic quality of the species of livestock is the main cause of acute shortage of milk, meat and eggs. A local cow produces only about 221 kg milk per year against 4920 kg in Denmark and 5,377 kg in USA.

The average meat production of indigenous cattle is about 50 kg against 224 kg in Denmark and 271 kg in USA. A native hen lays about 40-50 eggs per year as against 250-300 eggs laid by a hen of exotic breed. However, the aspect of meat production per goat in Bangladesh compares well with the levels of goats in other countries. The world average of meat production per goat is 11 kg, while that in Bangladesh it is about 10 kg. During the year 1997-98, the production of milk was 1.62 million metric tons, production of meat was 0.62 million m tons and number of egg-production was 3252.5 million.

The production, need, demand, deficit of milk, meat and eggs for a population of 126 million has been estimated as follows:

 

Products

Production million

Need per capita

Demand million

Deficit million

Milk

1.62 tons

120 g/day

11.04 tons

9.42 tons

Meat

0.62 tons

240 g/day

6.40 tons

5.78 tons

Eggs

3252 

180/ year

22680

19428

 

 

Meat, milk and egg production have increased significantly from 1994-207 years (table below), but the availability of these food items is less than required for a nutritionally balanced diet.

 

 Trends in Production of Fish, Meat, Milk and Egg: 1994-2007

Year

Fish (mil. tons)

Meat (mil. tons)

Milk (mil. tons)

Egg (million)

1991-92

0.95

0.46

1.35

2158

1992-93

1.02

0.47

1.37

2177

1993-94

1.09

0.49

1.39

2505

1994-95

1.17

0.48

1.52

2400

1995-96

1.26

0.54

1.57

2830

1996-97

1.36

0.58

1.58

3020

1997-98

1.46

0.62

1.62

3250

1998-99

1.55

0.66

1.66

3510

1999-00

1.66

0.70

1.70

3790

2000-01

1.78

0.75

1.74

4097

2001-02

1.89

0.78

1.78

4424

2002-03

1.99

0.83

1.82

4777

2003-04

2.10

0.91

1.99

4780

2004-05

2.22

1.06

2.14

5623

2005-06

2.33

1.13

2.27

5422

2006-07

-

1.03

2.28

5370

Source: Memento, National Fish Week, 2005; BBS 2005, Department of Livestock Services, Raha, S. (2000) and Statistical Pocketbook Bangladesh, 1997.

 

The data indicate that the recent growth rate is much lower than the annual rates of growth required to meet the increasing demand for livestock products, specifically milk and meat. Nevertheless, recent expansion in the poultry sector may provide a break-through in egg production.

Hides and skins are other non-edible, valuable animal products. The production of hides and skins in Bangladesh is high. About 81 percent of the total production is exported in the form of 'wet blue' leather and leather products. There are several hundred tanning and finishing industries in the country. Several thousand people are engaged full time in this industry. Notable leather-made commodities are shoes, suitcase, bags, tents, etc. Cowdung is an important source of natural manure and fuel. About 80 million m tons of cowdung is produced annually.

A large number of poultry farms have been established in recent years. Using improved varities of birds, including White Leghorn, Rhode Island Red, Plymouth Rock, Assel, Winedot etc., productivity is increasing. Compared to local forms, these birds are larger and may gain up to 4 kg. The White Leghorn is more popular in Bangladesh and the female birds may lay nearly 230 eggs per year. The quail bird is also gaining popularity in Bangladesh. This small bird, having a weight of about 150 g, may lay over 200 eggs annually. The total number of fowl and duck in Bangladesh was about 188.4 million during 2005.

 

Limitations to Agricultural Productivity

Limits to agricultural productivity growth are caused by a number of interrelated problems. Some of the major ones include: loss of arable land due to infrastructure, housing, and rural industrialization, lack of good quality HYV and hybrid seeds, degradation of soil fertility due to unbalanced use of chemical fertilizers, lack of scientific irrigation application, problems related to delivery of agricultural credit, poor marketing, processing and storage facilities of agricultural products, poor agricultural extension services, and weak farm and non-farm sector linkages.

 

High Costs of Agricultural Production

The prices of fertilizers and fuel have risen continuously and steeply in recent years, but the prices of farm products have not kept pace. This deteriorating input-to-output ratio for all crops decreases farmers’ profitability. As a result, for next season, farmers cannot afford to use fertilizers and improved hybrid quality seeds to increase yield. Although the Government is taking initiatives to supply fertilizers at a subsidized rate and decrease diesel price every year, these are not enough.

Addressing Problems of Low Soil Fertility

To increase crop production in response to increasing population, forests are constantly being cleared to make room for new, arable land. This large scale removal of forests is resulting in the reduction of soil fertility. These cleared lands are not fertile enough to support high-yielf crops, resulting in low-yield and crop failure. On the other hand, cultivatable lands lose their fertility after a certain number of cultivation cycles. These lands require soil treatment.

Depletion of organic matter, degradation of its physical and chemical properties, reduction in the availability of major micronutrients, imbalance in the fertiliser application and build-up of toxicity through improper use of pesticides are the major reasons for soil fertility decline. Furthermore, sheet and gully erosion clears land of fertile soils. Clearing of vegetation, earth removal, road construction, etc. cause most of the land degradation. Other issues related to land degradation include shifting cultivation in the Chittagong Hill regions, and unsustainable cultivation practices in the Barind and Madhupur tracts. Uses of pesticides and overexploitation of biomass leads to denudation, deforestation and degradation of soil. The consequences of soil degradation should be considered while the country strives to boost agricultural production.

Lack of Diversity

Land diversity is very much needed to maintain the fertility of soil. A large percentage of cultivatable land is allocated to rice despite the country having the environment to produce a number of crops, trees and horitcultural species.

Adverse Effects of Natural Disaster

Much of Bangladesh lies in disaster-prone, floodplain areas. Annual flooding and occasional flash flooding, together with other periodic natural disaters, often cause crop damage and food shortage for vulnerable populations. Consecutive floods in August- September and Cyclone Sidr in November 2007 caused severe losses to crops, lives, infrastructure and properties. The natural disaster risks and uncertainities also lead to transitory food insecurity, known as Monga, in certain northern districts of Rangpur, Kurigram, Gaibandha and Lalmonirhat.

Agricultural Productivity at Household Level

The availability and accessibility of food at the household level is very important for household food and nutrition security. Around 50 percent of the population of Bangladesh remains below the established food-based poverty line, one third are in extreme poverty and severly undernourished despite the notable increases in aggregate national food grain production. The prevalence of malnutrition in rural areas is highest among the world. Half of the population cannot afford an adequate diet. The recent price hike for rice and other commodities in Bangladesh severely threatens the food and nutrition security of an already compromised and disadvantaged population.

The agricultural production at household level can address some of the food security needs of vulnerable families. Gardening is an important component of household food security, contributes to household income and savings, and improves the health and nutritional well-being of the family. At present, home gardening activities in Bangladesh are abundant and diverse. Many organizations are promoting home gardening directly or indirectly with different objectives, such as income generation, women’s empowerment, local availability of vegetables and improvement of nutritional status. Home gardening strategies also vary from one organization to another. Some agencies are working on nursery development for fruit and tree sapling production, while others work on food nutrition fortification.

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