Bangladesh are primarily an agrarian economy. Agriculture is the single largest producing sector of economy since it comprises about 30% of the country’s GDP and employing around 60% of the total labor force.
The performance of this sector has an overwhelming impact on major macroeconomic objectives like employment generation, poverty alleviation, human resources development and food security.
Meeting the nation’s food requirement remains the key-objective of the government and in recent years there has been substantial increase in grain production. However, due to calamities like flood, loss of food and cash crops is a recurring phenomenon, which disrupts the continuing progress of the entire economy.
Agricultural holdings in Bangladesh are generally small. Through Cooperatives the use of modern machinery is gradually gaining popularity. Rice, Jute, Sugarcane, Potato, Pulses, Wheat, Tea and Tobacco are the principal crops. The crop sub-sector dominates the agriculture sector contributing about 72% of total production. Fisheries, livestock and forestry sub-sectors are 10.33%, 10.11% and 7.33% respectively.
Bangladesh is the largest producer of Jute. Rice being the staple food, its production is of major importance. Rice production stood at 20.3 million tons in 1996-97 fiscal year.
Crop diversification program, credit, extension and research, and input distribution policies pursued by the government are yielding positive results. The country is now on the threshold of attaining self-sufficiency in food grain production.
Land Use by Agriculture
Government has the primary responsibility of ensuring optimum use of land. Although land is a privately owned property in general, its use has to be compatible with the overall social goals and utility. Moreover, it is important to consider that the interests of small and marginal farmers and the sharecroppers are protected, as they constitute the majority of farmers.
Following steps will be taken to ensure planned utilization of land for crop production:
Land zoning programme will be taken up by the Soil Resources Development Institute SRDI) on a priority basis. Integrated approach of SRDI will be further strengthened for this purpose.
To ensure maximum utilization of land, bottom up planning through people. Participation and its implementation will be started from the mouza or village level.
In most areas the same land is suitable for more than one crop. Therefore, farmers will be encouraged to grow more profitable crops as an alternative to only rice-rice cropping pattern.
Fertile agricultural land is going out of cultivation due to its use for non-agricultural purposes such as private construction, house building brickfield, etc. Appropriate measures will be taken to stop this trend in the light of the Land Policy of the government.
Maximum utilization of land will be ensured through promotion of inter-cropping with the main crops.
Acquisition of land in excess of requirement for non-agricultural purposes will be discouraged.
Programmes will be taken up to motivate the landowners not to keep their land unused without any acceptable reason.
Appropriate measures will be taken in the light of the Land Policy so that the interests of small and marginal farmers and the sharecroppers are protected and that the agricultural land is not kept fallow for a long period.