Bangladesh – Agricultural Advances to Spur Economic Growth

The rural economy of Bangladesh, specifically the country’s agricultural sector, has been a very powerful driver for the reduction of poverty in the nation since 2000. In fact, agriculture has been accountable for 90% of poverty reduction between the years 2005 and 2010.

Over 70% of the population of Bangladesh, and 77% of its workforce is living in the rural areas. Almost half of all the workers in the country, and 2/3 in the rural areas are being directly employed in the agricultural sector, and around 87% of the rural households depend on agriculture for at least a portion of their overall income.

The country of Bangladesh has been successful in making such an excellent progress for the past four decades when it comes to attaining food security in spite of the usual natural disasters that strike the place, as well as the notable growth in population. For instance, the production of food grain has tripled between the years 1972 and 2014, growing from only 9.8 to as much as 34.4 million tons.

Being among the fastest productivity growth rates in the world since the year 1995, with the average of 2.7% per year trailing right behind China, the agricultural sector of Bangladesh was able to benefit a lot from the consistent and sound policy framework that is supported by the substantial public investments in human capital, rural infrastructure, and technology.

However, Bangladesh also happens to be one of the most vulnerable countries to the threats of climate change that poses long-term threats to the agricultural sector of the country, especially in the areas that are affected by saline intrusion, flooding, and drought.

More inclusive and faster rural growth with job creations will need greater diversification in the industry of agriculture with more robust development of non-farm enterprise in rural. A production shift, from rice to crops that are high value, will reduce malnutrition significantly, make better and more non-farm and on-farm jobs for the youth and women, and trigger rapid growth in terms of incomes.

Fisheries and livestock also provide a huge potential to reduce malnutrition as well as increasing jobs and incomes in a land constrained economy, yet struggle due to inadequate government support. Expansion and investment in rural non-farm enterprises is a priority for the country of Bangladesh. RFNEs can help some households become more resilient to the climate shocks through livelihood diversification and income. They can also be a powerful source of jobs, particularly for women and young people through more competitive and efficient value chains.

Solutions – Livelihood Diversification, Support, and Stronger Resilience

The agricultural needs of Bangladesh were addressed by World Bank through IAPP or Integrated Agriculture Productivity Project, which is made to enhance agriculture production’s resilience, especially in southern and northern affected by drought, flash floods, and saline intrusion due to tidal surges. The IAPP supports mitigation and adaptation programs as well. This introduces heat-tolerant, saline-tolerant, and drought-tolerant crops, diversification out of the production of rice, and enhanced soil health management.

Other solutions include MFSFP or Modern Food Storage Facilities Project, NJLIP or Nuton Jibon Livelihood Improvement Project, and NATP-II or National Agriculture Technology Program.


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