Chapter 1: Strategy for Raising Farm Productivity and Agricultural Growth
Although the share of agriculture in gross domestic product (GDP) has declined from over half at the time of independence to around one fifth currently, it remains the predominant sector in terms of employment and livelihood, with about half of Bangladesh’s workforce engaged in it as the principal occupation. Agriculture is the principal source of food and nutrition. Therefore the level of farm production and prices are a key determinant of poverty and human welfare. Agriculture also contributes significantly to export earnings of Bangladesh and agricultural output is used as an important source of raw materials of many industries. Therefore, the importance of agriculture sector in generating employment, alleviating poverty and fostering growth is needless to mention.
Agricultural growth has accelerated from less than 2.0% per year during the first two decades after independence to around 3.0% during the last decade. Despite such a steady growth in agriculture as well as in food production, Bangladesh has been facing persistent challenges in achieving food security. This is mainly due to natural disasters and fluctuations in food prices from the influence of volatile international market for basic food items. Sudden increase of price of staple food such as rice and flour erode the purchasing capacity of the poor people. Access to food will continue to depend on comprehensive economic development including faster growth in industry and service sector of the economy. But since almost half of the labor force still depend on the agricultural sector for employment, growth of this sector and favorable terms of trade for agricultural commodities are crucial for increasing incomes of the low-income people and to expand their capacity for accessing food. A rapid agricultural growth will sustain high growth of the economy with better capacity to reduce poverty through enhancing rural wages, creating synergies for diversifying the rural economy, and enabling the supply of low-cost food to improve nutritional status and food security of the people.
Encouraging agricultural growth requires various policies ranging from applying new technology and extension services to providing credit to small farmers. The past growth in agriculture was helped by the new HYV (High yielding variety) technology, particularly in rice, in which both the state and the market played important roles. The Government would continue its pro-active role in delivering key public goods in agriculture, particularly in improving the ability of farmers to adopt new technology and providing appropriate mix of incentives to pursue profitable operations. Efforts would be made to ensure preservation of indigenous knowledge with respect to seeds, plants and herbs, where tapping the traditional knowledge base of both rural men and woman would be important. Particular attention would be given to develop and adopt technologies and improved agricultural practices in ecologically vulnerable areas such as saline prone areas and flood and drought prone locations. In recognition to women’s various contributions in farm productivity (fisheries, livestock, poultry etc.) and agricultural growth (pre and post harvesting, field crop production) special measures would be taken to increase women’s participation in these sectors.
Bangladesh has made significant progress in food grain and especially rice production but ensuring food security of the people of Bangladesh remains a daunting challenge. The National Food Policy and its Plan of Action identify the objectives to be fulfilled so as to ensure food security, extending the concept of food security well beyond that of food availability. In this context, agriculture contributes to food security by making enough varied and nutritious food available and by providing employment thus ensuring economic access to food. “The 2011 Country Investment Plan (CIP): A roadmap towards investments in agriculture, food security and nutrition” has been formulated within the context of the SFYP to help focus Government, DP and non-Government interventions on priority areas.
Performance of Agriculture Sector
Agriculture sector is comprised of four sub sectors, e.g. crops, forestry, livestock and fisheries with crop sub sector being the predominant one. In spite of the gradual decline of the relative importance of crop sector in agriculture and in national economy, it still has remained the most important sector of agriculture. More importantly, the crop sector provides staple food such as rice and wheat, and other daily necessities like pulses, oil, sugar, vegetables, spices, and fruits.
Non-crop agriculture (livestock, fisheries and forestry) also plays a significant role in terms of employment generation and contribution to GDP. Although livestock accounts for only 3 per cent of total GDP, it employs about 20 per cent of rural labor force. Fisheries sub-sector contributes about 5 percent of total GDP and employs about 13 per cent of rural labor force. Livestock sub-sector contributes output for both production and consumption. However there exists a gap between requirement of livestock products and their current levels of production and, this gap is expected to widen further due to increase in per capita income and change in food consumption pattern.
Fisheries sector contributes 4.4 per cent of total GDP and 22 per cent of agricultural GDP. The small-scale open water capture fisheries which was dominant in the 1970s has given way to close water culture fisheries, which is now playing an important role in the development of the sub-sector.
Forestry sector contributes about 1.8% of the total GDP. Forests also play an important role in protecting watersheds, irrigation and hydraulic structure and also in keeping the rivers and ports navigable and protect coastal areas from natural calamities. The role of forest in protecting the environment from pollution and its contribution towards bio-diversity is immense. In addition, the participatory social forestry contributes towards rural poverty reduction. For example, in the last three years, out of total sale proceeds of timber and fuel-wood about 308 million taka has been distributed to 23,561 participants.
Bangladesh has achieved remarkable progress in agriculture since her independence in 1971. Within crop sub-sector, food grain, particularly rice crop dominated country’s agricultural scenario in terms of both cropped area and production, claiming a share of 74 per cent and 54 per cent respectively in 1996/97. There has, however, been shift in the composition of agriculture over the past few years as indicated by gradual decline in the share of crop agriculture and increase in the share of non-crop agriculture (NCA).
In crop agriculture, Bangladesh has made steady progress in the post-independence period. The cropping intensity increased from 148 to 181 percent. Food grain production although increased substantially over the years, following the introduction of high yielding varieties (HYV) and application of modern inputs like fertilizers and pesticides; but its dependence on weather results in fluctuations in production. Wide fluctuations in production leads to large instability in food grain prices having serious implications for household food security and also for the welfare of the people.
For over a decade, a wide range of policy reforms have been implemented. Few of these are privatization of input distribution, input and food subsidy, import liberalization and a broadening of the scope of private investment in agriculture. In recent years, the coverage of policy reforms in the agriculture sector has substantially expanded to include minor irrigation equipment, agricultural machinery, seeds and agricultural trade.
The myriad of existing policies are generally compatible in terms of their avowed goals of rapid poverty reduction, increasing productivity and profitability of farming, creating income and employment opportunities, especially for the rural population. The major thrusts of these policies are largely consistent with the MDGs as well as the strategies and future policy priorities of agriculture and rural development policy matrix suggested in the previous plan documents. However, there are some generic areas of concerns. Those are as follows:
Dominance of cereal food production: The National Agriculture Policy, 1999, National Agriculture Policy Plan of Action 2004, APB and other major crop sector policy documents mainly focus on food production, especially rice production, giving lesser attention to non-cereal crops i.e. vegetables, fruits and flowers. As one would expect, policy prescriptions for input distribution and input levels, extension services, credit delivery and output marketing are directed to major cereal food crop, rice and not much to wheat.
Inadequate progress with diversification and commercialization: The policy documents mention diversification and commercialization of agriculture as a common objective, but very little understanding is given with respect to relative profitability of competing crops, physical and location specific conditions for non-crop enterprise, supply chain of high value products and provision for processing, storage and marketing activities.
Lack of modernization of soil and water tests: Soil tests for proper fertilizer use and water quality tests for fish culture are crucially important interventions. The concerned policies mention these casually to imply that the government should do these, but there does not seem to be much understanding of the recent trends that the private sector has already taken up soil tests (with Catalyst support) and water test by as business ventures, for example by an NGO, Shushilon.
Lack of modern form of production-contract farming and value chain: The policies being reviewed conceive agriculture as individualistic production system, although this is becoming economically and technically unfeasible for increasingly large number of small and marginal farmers due to rapid decline in average farm size. Increase in number of farms vis-à-vis rapid loss of cultivable land is recognized in the documents, but there are no reflections on or contemplation about the emerging new forms of farming e.g. contract farming by the private sector for high value products like poultry, vegetables, aromatic rice, milk and so on.
Absence of farm and non-farm linkages: The most conspicuous shortcoming of all the policy documents is their silence over the growing non-farm sector development. Even the most recent policy documents, e.g. APB, avoid any analysis of linking the growth of farm productivity with development of non-farm activities.
In addition to the above mentioned issues, some other constraints in this sector are:
- Absence of demanding technologies to co-opt with climate change,
- Unstable market price of agricultural products, which is a barrier for farmers to select crops for cultivation in the following season/year,
- Very little stress to agro-based industrialization,
- Depletion of soil health/soil fertility,
- Unusual depletion of underground water table,
- Unwise development of infrastructures (dams, roads etc) blocking drainage,
- Non-zonal based cultivation and lack of development of market chain,
- Overlapping of irrigation units with less command area, causing huge loss of underground water and resulting in depletion of ground water table.
- Overdose of chemical fertilizer by the farmer is a threat to soil health.
Performance of Crop Sector
Rice, the dominant staple food occupies over three fourths of cropped area of the country. The other major crops are jute, wheat, potato, different types of pulses, chilies and onions and vegetables, sugarcane, tobacco and tea. In recent years, the cropped area under boro rice, wheat, maize, potato and vegetable has increased.
Since independence, rice production has tripled from 11 million tonne (milled rice) to about 32 million tonne. Growth in rice production was 2.8% per year in the 1980s, and 3.5% per year since 1990/91. Most of this growth has occurred since late 1980s, through adoption of improved rice varieties supported by rapid expansion of ground water irrigation (Figure 1.1). Over 80 percent of the increase in rice production during the last two decades has come from the expansion of irrigated boro rice in the dry season, with reallocation of land from low-yielding rain fed aus rice. Over three-fourths of the rice area is now cropped with improved varieties developed by Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) and Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA) in collaboration with international research centers.
Figure 1.1:Trends in Rice (Paddy) Yield in Bangladesh: FY 1971/72-FY2008/09
Source: Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics
Wheat, the minor food staple also had a respectable growth till the late 1990s, but has recently given way to maize. This shift has occurred mainly due to favorable agro-ecological environment for maize that gives higher productivity and a stable and expanding market for maize as feed for the expanding poultry sector. The production of maize was negligible till the end of 1990s, but has grown very fast in the current decade and has now overtaken that of wheat. Since maize is used as poultry feed, the substitution of wheat by maize has had a negative impact on the supply of staple food for people and has put more pressure on rice to meet the growing demand.
Over the last two decades significant progress has also been achieved in the production of potato and vegetables. The major problem faced by potato and vegetable production is the volatility in prices leading to large year to year fluctuations in production. It will be difficult to sustain the growth of production of these high-value and labor- intensive crops unless investment is made in the processing and storage to stagger marketing of the crops throughout the year to match the demand that remains stable across the season. In addition, it is also important to exploit international market for the surplus after meeting domestic demands. Penetration in the world market for vegetables is however difficult due to phyto-sanitary regulations and concerns regarding food safety. The production of other crops including pulses, oilseeds, jute and sugarcane has either remained stagnant or has declined over time. The production of oilseeds and jute has picked up in recent years due to favorable markets and due to some progress made in recent years in the development of higher yielding varieties, and identification of favorable agro-ecological niche for these crops.
Major drivers of crop production have been development and diffusion of improved crop varieties, and more effective water management, particularly expansion of irrigation infrastructure (mostly shallow tube well based groundwater irrigation). In addition to the modern varieties of different crops, developed in the national agricultural research systems, a few Indian varieties have also moved into Bangladesh through farmer to farmer exchange. Farmers have also started growing hybrid rice, the seed of which is imported from China. In recent years some private sector farms have started producing seeds of hybrid rice and maize within the country through contract farming. Gradual adoption of these improved varieties by replacing low-yielding traditional varieties have contributed to increase in yield, reduction in per unit cost of production, and increased profitability in farming. The technological progress has been supported by public and private investment for the infrastructure for irrigation; flood control and drainage, because the optimum exploitation of the yield potential of improved varieties depend on good water control. The area irrigated has expanded rapidly since 1989 with the liberalization in the import of diesel engines and reduction in import duties and withdrawal of restrictions on standardization of irrigation equipment. This has facilitated the cultivation of dry season irrigated rice farming known as boro rice.
Sector Specific Challenges
Dependence on imports: Despite the progress made over the last two decades, Bangladesh is yet to achieve self-sufficiency in food production as it is a net importer of both rice and wheat. It is also a net importer of pulses, edible oils, spices, fruits, sugar, milk and milk products. The import bill on account of food has grown at more than 10 percent in the current decade, and now accounts for over one-fifth of the export earnings of the country. The volatility of prices in the world market for these basic necessities that is transmitted in the domestic market affect the food security of the low-income households. The SFYP would emphasize for import substitution of these crops looking at their competitive edge through promotion of crop diversification.
Food intake and nutritional imbalance: The availability and access to food are major elements of food security. The per capita intake of rice has increased over time and reached the level of 477 gm per person per day for rural area and 389 gm for urban area. The intake of potato and vegetables has also increased over time and has reached almost 250 gm per person per day, close to the recommended norm for achieving balance nutrition. The level of consumption of cereals and vegetables has increased over time and the gap in consumption for the poor and non-poor has narrowed down. However substantial gap remains between the consumption level of quality food items such as pulses, oils, fish and livestock products and level of intake has remained substantially below the level recommended by nutritionists for achieving balance nutrition. In addition, price of pulses, oils, fish and meat has increased at a much higher rate than that of rice, indicating growing demand-supply imbalance for non-cereal food items. The Sixth Plan would emphasize for faster growth of non-cereal food products to address the issue of unbalanced diet of the poor.
Volatility of prices of food items: In recent years, the volatility of prices has increased which is a major concern for poor consumers. Several studies have predicted that volatility in food prices in the international market is likely to continue indicating that more reliance on international market for food commodities will have negative consequences on the food security situation in Bangladesh. Therefore, the Sixth Plan emphasizes at reducing the dependence on the world market for basic necessities such as rice, pulses, oils and sugar to overcome nutritional imbalance and to reduce volatility in prices of these commodities in the domestic market.
Growth of population and rapid urbanization: In order to meet the demand for food for the growing population, production of cereal must increase by over 300,000 tonnes per year. The expected growth of urbanization requires marketed surplus to increase at a fast rate to feed the urban population. The generation of this marketed surplus will depend on sustaining high levels of profitability in farming and maintaining a favorable terms of trade for agriculture. The population growth will be the main driver of the increase in demand for rice. But the demand for other food items continues to increase much faster than the growth of population due to strong income growth induced demand (high income elasticity) of non-cereal food items and recent acceleration in the growth of per capita income (over 4.5 percent per year) which is expected to accelerate further in future, In addition, diversification of diet in favor of non-rice food items associated with urbanization and income growth is also playing important role for this increase in demand.. Increasing the supply of food to match the demand from domestic production will however be difficult due to several factors:
Decreased Crop Area: The natural resources, land and water and soil fertility, available for agricultural production has however been declining. It is reported that cultivated land has been declining by almost one percent per year due to its demand for increased habitation, industrial and commercial establishment, transport infrastructure, river erosion, and intrusion of saline water in the coastal areas. Therefore the land available for crop production has been declining and the trend will continue. The increase in crop yield will have to be targeted at a faster rate that the required growth in supply.
According to the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) per hector production of rice is about 7 tonne in the research field whereas at the farmer’s field it is less than 4 tonne. In this context, if the gap of yield of rice could be minimized, total production of rice will be increased without expanding cultivable area.
Decreased Soil Fertility: Soil fertility has declined due to high cropping intensity, unbalanced or over use of chemical fertilizers and less or no use of organic matter. The exploitation of ground water for irrigation for dry season rice farming (boro) has gone beyond the capacity of annual recharge of aquifers, with adverse effects on the supply of safe drinking water. The irrigated area has expanded to over 5.5 million ha out of 8.0 million ha of cultivated land, and over three-fourths of the area is irrigated with ground water, mostly by privately installed shallow tube wells. The arsenic contamination of drinking water in large parts of the country is often blamed to exploitation of ground water for irrigation with shallow tube wells. For sustainable development the dependence on ground water for further expansion of irrigation infrastructure must be reduced. The SFYP would emphasize for surface water irrigation which will need massive public sector investment.
Detrimental Effect of Climate Change: Bangladesh is projected to be most seriously affected by climate change and sea level rise. The land available for crop farming in the large coastal belt is going to be gradually reduced due to inundation from sea water and intrusion of saline water inwards. The risk in rain fed rice farming will further increase due to erratic monsoons and increased incidence of floods and droughts. Due to high risks farmers will continue to use inputs at sub-optimal levels in crop farming in the monsoon season. The high risk will be a constraint to adoption of improved crop varieties that are input-intensive.
Fragmented Land Structure: The agrarian structure of Bangladesh is dominated by small and tenant farmers and scattered holdings. Despite rapid rural urban migration, the number of farm households is expected to increase and the size of farm is getting smaller. The farms with holdings of over 3.0 ha were only 300,000 in 1996 (out of 11.8 million farms); their number has further declined to 171,000 by 2005. The medium and large farms are investing the surplus for non-farm activities, leaving farming to agricultural laborers and marginal farmers. As a result the tenancy market has been expanding. The area under tenant farming has increased from 23% of the cultivated land in 1996 to 38% in 2005 which is the main factor behind the vast increase in the number of marginal farmers.
Farmers continue to face large fluctuations in farm gate prices. The price of most farm produce remains low at harvest that helps market intermediaries and large farmers to mobilize most of the farm surplus. The rapid migration to urban areas and oversees and an inactive land market lead to increasing concentration of land in the hand of the absentee landowners. The large and middle farmers are increasingly leaving farm in favor of non-farm activities in rural and urban areas and getting the land cultivated by agricultural laborers and marginal landowners with unviable tiny holdings. The exploitative rental arrangements, the inability to mobilize savings and credit to finance working capital needs, and lack of information and knowledge may act as constraints to adoption of improved technologies and investment in agricultural enterprises. In addition, the market for imported food grain has also become unreliable with governments in exporting countries imposing export bans to protect the interest of their own people. The prices of the food items in the world market fluctuate widely making the domestic market highly volatile in case of heavy dependence on imports. Sudden increase in prices emanating from the connectivity with the world market imposes hardship on low-income consumers.
Constraints to raising productivity: Future growth and raising productivity in crop agriculture could come from three main sources: (i) use of additional inputs (land, fertilizer, irrigation water); (ii) productivity gains resulting from technical change or removing market distortions; and (iii) shift to higher- value crops. In this context the challenges are as follows:
Sustained Growth Through The Use of Additional Inputs Seems Limited: Additional land could be brought under crops through increases in actual area cropped (conversion of non-crop or non- agricultural land and restoration of degraded land) and increases in cropping intensity. But rather than bringing more land under crops in the future some contraction is an active possibility. In terms of cropping intensity, the present rate of 1.8 compares favorably with other Asian countries, including India (Punjab) at 1.78 and Pakistan at 1.25 though it is below Vietnam and Java, Indonesia.
Following removal of restrictions on irrigation, on pump imports and on marketing of fertilizers and crops, 206000 new hectares were added annually between 1978-92, more than double the expansion of the previous five years. Current estimates suggest that during the next two decades, 150,000 – 200,000 new hectares per year could be brought under irrigation, making it a major source of prospective agricultural growth.
Productivity enhancing infrastructure includes markets, roads, utilities (e.g. water, electricity) and communications. Investments in these can improve efficiency by cutting intermediation and transaction costs, leading to lower input prices and cheaper technology.
Productivity gain can come from two sources – technical change and correction of market distortions. Technical progress resulting in improved seeds (HYV) was responsible for doubling yields per acre during the 1970s. Whereas 50% of cropped area today is under HYV, with current rates of conversion, almost all suitable land is expected to come under HYV within the next decade or so. But agricultural research has been a neglected area largely the result of “brain drain” of trained professionals to research centers overseas. This trend needs to be reversed by creating an appropriate environment and providing the right incentives.
After the reforms of the 1980s, Bangladesh’s agricultural economy is relatively free of market distortions from intrusive public interventions. Today, trade protection of agricultural products is minimal though there remains an anti-agriculture bias in existing industrial protection policies. Domestic producer prices of rice and wheat have been closely related to world prices. Understandably in a country with high internal transport costs, prices have long fluctuated between import and export parity prices.
Prospects of Diversification to High- Value Crops
Bangladesh given a receptive market and the right policy environment could have a comparative advantage in certain high-value crops, including traditional fruits and vegetables. The future of non-rice crops will depend on the removal of a number of constraints that currently inhibit their expansion, including comparatively less attention given to development of appropriate technology for non-rice crops and inadequacies of market infrastructure and services. Food processing e.g., pineapple canning, mushroom growing and dried food production also has considerable potential, provided quality control can be imposed. To ensure that their production and export potential are fully realized, the government needs to continue its current commitment to investing in manufacturing and infrastructure.
Jute is the major fibre crop of the country. Potential exists for the fibre to increase its contribution to the economy through productivity increases and diversification. The share of raw jute and jute goods in the total exports of the country has been increasing with increased world demand for nature fibre. In this situation, special measures will be taken during the Plan period to encourage farmers to further intensify jute production in order to satisfy domestic and increased export demand. To enable jute to compete with synthetics, emphasis will be given to related agricultural and technological research efforts.
In addition to the above mentioned issues, there exists several other challenges in crop sub-sector: (a) adultered agricultural inputs marketing by unscrupulous traders, (b) abrupt depletion of soil organic matter, (c) insufficient discharge of underground irrigation water at the peak demand hours of boro crop due to depletion of ground water table, (d) intrusions of saline water at the ground water table, (e) insolvency of disaster victimized farmers to invest in crop production, (f) weak-matching of explored technologies with climate change, (g) scarcity of seasonal farm labors sometimes even at high wages, (h) flash flood and drainage problem, (i) low quality of agricultural inputs (seeds, feeds, fingerlings, breeds, broods, fertilizers and pesticides), (j) degradation of land (salinity, erosion, water logging etc.), (k) farm gate price support for the producers etc.
SFYP Targets and Objectives for Crop Sub-Sector
Building on past progress, the core objectives of the Sixth Plan are:
- To attain self-sufficiency in food grain production along with increased production of other nutritional crops;
- To increase productivity and real income of farming families in rural areas on a sustainable basis;
- To ensure equal wage for equal work for women-men labor at agriculture;
- To encourage export of agricultural commodities, particularly vegetables and fruits keeping in view domestic production and need;
- To promote adoption of modern agricultural practices in drought, submergence and saline prone areas;
- To encourage research on adaptation to climate change, proper use of genetically modified technology in agriculture.
- To gradually shift the main HYV, irrigation-fed Boro rice production to the Southern areas and to utilize new salinity, submergence, and other Stress tolerant varieties and also to utilize abundant surface water for irrigation;
- To utilize the irrigated north-eastern uplands to grow more high value cash crops like wheat, maize, corn etc. and horticulture products;
- To emphasize on yield gap reduction and also to emphasize on maximization of yield in Aus and Aman crops with similar care as the Boro cultivation for ensuring self-sufficiency in food grain;
- To strengthen farming system/cropping system/whole farm approach based technology transfer;
- To increase production of jute, measures have to be taken to improve jute variety and retting system to obtain quality fibres;
- To include oil crops and spices for increased production;
- To encourage research and extension for the promotion of pulse crop;
- To bring coastal and hilly areas under intensive cultivation;
- To ensure sustained agricultural growth more efficient and balanced utilization of land, water and other resources;
- To encourage comparatively large farm to graduate into commercial farming;
- To promote the use of modern technologies with the help of ICT;
- To form cooperatives and to construct special growth center only for the actual growers to ensure fair price;
- To strengthen agricultural mechanization for enhancing production;
- To develop crop zoning market based agriculture on the basis of AEZ.
- To restore germplasm specially for minor fruits;
- To ensure quality seed at farmer’s level through the development of community based seed production, storage, and dissemination system;
- To strengthen decentralized knowledge based extension system.
SFYP Policies and Strategies for the Crop Sub-sector
For achieving the targets of the Sixth Plan, following strategies and policies should be adopted:
- Achieving self-sufficiency in the production of rice, as we can no longer depend on the world market for meeting our needs. Studies show that we have comparative advantage in rice production on the import parity basis. In addition to rice, increased production of wheat will also be given priority. For increasing crop production food inter-cropping will be emphasized.
- Diversification in food production must address the challenge of achieving balanced nutrition. To achieve this objective we must adopt system-based rather than crop based planning for crop sector development. We must also use the rich information on agro-ecological zoning for identifying areas suitable for different crops and also use it for area based approach to development.
- For crop intensification, the coastal zone, the Sylhet region and the char areas must receive priority in crop sector development plans.
- The short winter season, November to February, should be kept for the production of non-rice crops, as this season is ecologically favorable for growing the high-profit non-rice crops. The remaining period could be used for growing two/three rice crops, special emphasis on Aus paddy for meeting our rice needs. It will require development of shorter-maturity drought- and submergence-tolerant rice varieties. This strategy will also help reducing dependence on expensive ground water irrigation.
- For further increase in productivity of land we must continue to focus on expansion and efficiency of R&D system. We must exploit the potential of hybrid rice technology for achieving 20 percent increase in yield and should further explore shifting the yield potential for the favorable ecosystem where technological progress has reached the plateau. In addition, we need to develop and deploy stress tolerant varieties (salt-tolerance, submergence tolerance, and drought tolerance for rice, and heat tolerance for wheat).
- Further potential for increase in yield through reducing yield gap for existing technologies must be explored. There are possibility of substantial increase in yield through use of better quality seeds, efficient management of seed bed, and the adoption of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) that includes use of young seedlings, one seedling per hill, larger spacing, wet and dry irrigation system, use of compost and farm yard manure, direct seeding etc. The plan also emphasizes the use of technologies like Urea Super Granules (USG) and Leaf Color Chart (LCC). Agricultural Information Services (AIS) will be used to communicate weather forecasting information for agricultural producers.
- To meet up scarcity of quality jute seeds BADC should undertake seed production programmes like rice and wheat.
- Appropriate land reforms such as (i) ceiling of rents for the fixed rent system, (ii) distribution of Khas land among landless and non-viable marginal farmers where ever feasible, (iii) imposition of restriction on conversion of prime agricultural land for non-agricultural uses, (iv) hourly rental system for irrigation equipment instead of crop-share based or season-based fixed irrigation charge, and (v) computerization of records of landownership and land transfer, etc must be attempted.
- The information and communication technology could help information dissemination among farmers Weather forecasts could be made available on a regular basis through T.V., radio, community radio, agricultural information and communication center, and cell phone systems. Bangladesh Space Research and Remote Sensing Organization (SPARSO) can play a vital role in this regard.
- The reliability of official data on area under different crops is often questioned. In order to get reliable data for policy making, a project for accurate estimation of area under different crops either through satellite imagery or through plot-to plot enumeration may be undertaken during the Sixth Plan period.
- In the existing agricultural marketing system of Bangladesh there are many middlemen active in different stages of marketing chain. As a result, on one hand the producer does not receive fair price for their agriculture product, on the other the consumer also has to pay extra price. In order to ensure fair price for both the growers and final consumers through a competitive market environment, it is necessary to reduce the number of middlemen from the marketing chain. In this context, formation of cooperative for the growers and construction of special growth center only for the actual growers could be a way out of this problem.
- In order to meet the growing demand of additional food for the increasing people of the country emphasis should be given in utilizing the unutilized hoar land of the north-east part of Bangladesh.
- Strategy, policy and action should be formulated to convert the single crop land into double crop land, double crop land to triple crop land.
- Policies in favor of continuation of subsidization to agricultural inputs e.g. electricity, diesel, fertilizer etc should be emphasized.
- Strategies should be directed towards massive use of USG rather than spilled urea and to encourage use of non-urea (use of balanced fertilizer).
- The plan emphasizes on the importance of farm mechanization.
- Policies to construct new food storage facilities to handle 2.8 to 3.3 million tonnes of food grains annually will be emphasized. In addition, food storage capacity per unit of land will be increased by adopting new technologies like constructing vertical silos and bulk storage.
- The plan considers the importance of land reclamation in coastal areas and reclamation of cultivable land in water logging areas and emphasizes on the intensive cultivation of saline tolerant varieties particularly in Rabi season and will take necessary steps in this context. In addition, the plan also emphasizes policy strategy on protecting agricultural land from inundation, river erosion and other productive purposes.
- It is important to ensure increased use of quality seeds for all crops and stop trading of adulterated inputs.
- Fragmented land structure is a hindrance to mechanization of agriculture in Bangladesh. On the other hand, mechanization would generate surplus labor released from agriculture, which would need employment elsewhere. Policies to engage such laborers will be taken into account.
- Special support for cultivation to the disaster victimized small and marginal farmers;
- To ensure equal wage for equal work for women-men labour at agriculture
- Measures to encourage surface irrigation e.g. dredging of rivers, canals, sluice gate etc. will be taken.
- In order to maintain soil fertility use of organic fertilizer will be popularized.
- In order to meet the demand for additional food for the increasing people, emphasis will be given to utilize the unutilized haor land of the North-Eastern part of Bangladesh.
- The plan emphasizes on the policy of formation of cooperative for the growers and construction of special growth centers so that the growers get fair price. Men and women growers have equal access to these centers and equal opportunity related to market access.
Specific Strategies under Crop Sub-sector
Agricultural Inputs — Seeds: At present, BADC, as per seed policy 1993, concentrates its efforts on the production of HYV seeds of paddy, wheat, potato and jute in the seed farms and also uses farmers to multiply seed on contract basis. Production program of all other crops beyond foundation seed will be done by contract growers. With the introduction of seed policy, emphasis has been given to private seed grower’s development. However, the public sector will conduct basic scientific research, support or conduct breeding work for self-pollinated and minor crops for greater suitability to divergent agro-ecological zone. Public sector will also carry out program for training and support services for private research and development, variety testing and registration, plant material inspection and maintaining germplasm, supporting seed associations and promotion of farmer or community-based seed program. The concerned agencies under the MOA will be further strengthened in order to ensure quality of seed at all stages of its production — breeder, foundation and certified seed. Emphasis will be given on creating facilities and infrastructure support for hybrid seed research, marketing and development. Farmers will be given training and technical assistance to extend improved methods of seed production, testing and storage.
Protection of Plant: Actual plant protection activities are in the private hands. However, the public sector programs are confined to qualitative and quantitative aspects of plant protection: pest’s surveillance, monitoring and early warning against pest attacks, advisory service to farmers, traders and others dealing with pesticides and quality control of pesticides marketed by the private sector. In the Sixth Plan period, the integrated pest management (IPM) program will be intensified and expanded in order to safeguard crops from pest and combat environmental degradation due to pesticide uses. Agricultural extension workers are responsible for providing advice to the farmers on appropriate plant protection measures. Within the extension services, the plan will emphasize on controlling maximum residual limit and marketing of adultered fertilizer and pesticides. Collaboration among the local government representatives, extension workers and the NGOs will be sought to expand IPM program. Farmers will be given training in the use of different pesticides through demonstration.
Mechanization of Agriculture: There is a serious dearth of animal draft power to cater for the growing needs of an expanding modern agriculture. The available animal draft power is inefficient and unreliable. As against this, agriculture mechanization can help in improving productivity, reducing cost of production, increasing efficiency, increasing input use (water, seed, fertilizer, labor) and achieving timeliness of crop production operations. Agricultural mechanization is also required for quick turn-over time and high input use. There is a need for continuous development of more efficient and less costly equipment so that farmers can benefit. Since agriculture is still the mainstay of the economy, promotion and development of agro-related metal working industries to provide support to agricultural production is a major concern. Selective mechanization based on traditional devices conducive to productivity will be adopted. In the context of market economy, emphasis will be given to the collaborative role of public and private sectors in technology development and its diffusion. An appropriate policy framework for sustainable development of farm machinery manufacturing will be pursued in the Sixth Plan period.
Rural Infrastructure: Empirical evidence from Bangladesh and other countries suggests the critical role of rural infrastructure for farm productivity, both crops and non-crops. Bangladesh has made substantial progress in improving irrigation facilities. Progress has also been made in improving the availability of electricity in the rural areas and also strengthening farm-to-market rural roads. Yet, there is a huge unfinished agenda. Accordingly, the Sixth Plan will put strong emphasis in further developing the rural infrastructure.
Agricultural Prices and Marketing: Prices of agricultural produce are determined by market forces. The main effort will be to improve the efficiency of agricultural marketing to reduce market distortions and the cost of marketing, and to ensure that farmers get proper price for their produce. Regarding rice, the policy approach will be to broadly align domestic prices with international prices on a long-term trend basis.
With a more intensive system of crop production and increasing emphasis on diversification, marketing problems, particularly with perishable crops, have already been multiplied and are likely to multiply further unless necessary steps are taken. Marketing costs are already high because of inadequate infrastructure, high price risks and the lack of credit to traders for marketing activities. Among the vast number of primary and secondary markets in the country (about 10,000), the Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM) is responsible for fixing market charges in 800 markets only. The market centers are under the control of the Ministry of Land which owns the land and collects marketing fees from sellers. The DAM, during the Sixth Plan period, will be strengthened to provide improved marketing services with a view to ensuring fair returns to the growers for their produces and adequate supply to the consumers at reasonable prices through the improvement of market conditions, reduction of marketing costs, regulation of market practices and market promotion for agricultural crops. Wholesale market development, promotion of agro-processing industries, market management, creation of MIS in DAM, classification, grading and standardization of agricultural products, improvement of storage facilities, particularly for marginal and small farmers, setting up an Agricultural Price Commission to make price forecast, production estimate and to make recommendations on the economics of productions and marketing are some of the specific programs that will be undertaken during the Sixth Plan for ensuring fair price, quality of agricultural products and increased production with stable price. The thrust will be to improve the efficiency of agricultural marketing to reduce market distortions and cost of marketing, and to ensure that farmers get proper price for their produce.
Modernization and mechanization of food storage system along with modern weighing and bagging, conveyors for aeration, adequate drying system, entoleters etc. is needed in order to enhance efficient handling and distribution of food grain, and increase shelf life and maintain quality. It may also call for storage of fortified foods and storage of multiple grains. In addition, it is important to enhance the use of ICT along with customized software to ensure traceability of stocks, to know the exact supply/delivery of PFDS and quick sharing of data on transactions.
Agro-processing: Bangladesh experiences seasonal surpluses in several agricultural commodities of perishable nature. Development of agro-processing facilities can prevent post-harvest losses and enhance farmers’ income. The agro-processing industries are at present in their nascent stage of development. Most of the technologies and facilities for handling, storage, processing and packaging of farm products and by-products are substandard and outdated as they cater primarily to the domestic market. There exists considerable under-utilization of capacity as well. The scope for privatization of support services such as research and extension is likely to remain limited. However, agricultural research institutes like BARI and BRRI will carry out research on technology development for agro-processing. Meanwhile, some technologies are already available with these institutes for the development and growth of agro-processing industries in the country. Nevertheless, some specialized extension activities could be delegated to the private sector such as those related to fruits and vegetables enterprises.
This process of supporting agro-business will be continued and strengthened during the Sixth Plan period. In this regard, the establishment of HORTEX, a private board for horticulture promotion, is an important institutional development. In addition, the SFYP emphasizes the importance of capacity building of government agencies and will take necessary steps in this regard.
Agricultural Research: Autonomous research institutes like BRRI, BARI, BJRI, BINA, BSRI and government organizations like SRDI were established with specific mandates for agricultural research in order to make the research system more service oriented and dynamic. National Agricultural Research System (NARS) with all the agriculture related research institutes under the coordinated leadership of Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council (BARC) has been established.
The research system needs to re-examine its focus and re-order its priorities, avoid fragmenting and duplicating its efforts, orient its approach from commodity based to farming system or integrated production system and strengthen its planning, program monitoring and co-ordination. The research system should also strengthen its linkages with extension in the Plan period. Agro-ecological zone-based research will be undertaken. The criteria for evaluation of research programs towards rates of adoption of research output by end- users and the system of accountability of individual research institution, research administration and personnel will be reviewed and made consistent with actual needs. Problem-solving researches will be given priority. Criteria for identification and selection of contract research programs by the private sector and NGOs will also be developed in response to the changing environment at farm level. In the same way, priority list will be evaluated annually to accommodate changed circumstances. Keeping in view these objectives and strategies, the following tentative research priority areas have been identified:
- Increase of yield per unit land;
- Improvement of quality of food grain and other agricultural produces with more digestible protein;
- Increase in efficiency in water use in rice cultivation;
- Integrated plant nutrients system and sustainable soil management (soil quality/soil health);
- Post-harvest technology, preservation and relevant agricultural machinery;
- Higher photosynthetic efficiency;
- Nitrogen fixation by non-legumes;
- Technologies for maximum use of commodities and their by-products for value addition;
- Fruits and vegetables for off-season production including preservation, storability and tolerance to transportation damage;
- Environmental issues and IPM;
- Development of varieties tolerant to stresses (e.g. drought, salinity, water logging);
- Development of hybrid technology for vegetables, maize and sunflowers;
- Management of soil and plant nutrients with balanced use of organic nutrients;
- Management of on-farm water resources in both irrigated and rain-fed agriculture;
- Conservation of soil, plant and genetic resources;
- Assessing the environmental impacts of declining ground water level;
- Research on tillage operation to reduce turn-around time, multiple cropping and relay cropping;
- Rainfed technology with major thrusts on development of crop cultivation and management practices (e.g. zero/minimum tillage, relay cropping, appropriate planting schedule and use of fertilizers including micro-nutrients);
- Post-harvest handling and storage, primary, secondary and tertiary processing of farm products and by-products, including pulses, oilseeds, potato, vegetables and fruits;
- Development and pilot testing of different scales of producers-processors agro-business schemes, including contract growing schemes;
- Management of hill agriculture in the eastern and south eastern parts of the country, to harness the agriculture in largely mono-cropped Barind tract, characterized by drought, low organic matter and sub-surface heavy clay through identification of suitable crops varieties and soil/water management and agronomic practices; management of coastal saline soils;
- Genetic modification and tissue culture;
- Bio-technology research;
- Increase production of cereals and other crops by the development of new improved varieties;
- Climate change mitigation/adaptive research;
- Location specific varietals development;
- Germplasm collection and their utilization in crop improvement;
- Development of short duration, heat tolerant cereals, vegetables, pulses and oilseed varieties;
- Improvement of soil health by organic farming;
- Farming system research;
- Strengthening nuclear agricultural research for varietals development for agro-ecologically constrained areas.
In order to support continuous Research and Development (R & D), budget provision during the Plan period will be raised to 1% from current level of 0.6% of GDP.
Agricultural Extension: Transfer of technologies and diversification and intensification of crop production program through appropriate extension services are of crucial importance. The extension services must be able to render required technical advice and management support at the appropriate time and place. Currently, the extension service draws its strength from research findings as well as from farmer’s innovation. On the one hand, it acquires up-to-date findings from research and transfers them to the farmers, and on the other hand, it brings feedback in the shape of farmers’ problems to the concern of research for possible solution and again takes back the results to the farmers for their field adoption. Strengthening of these three way linkages among research, extension and farmers community is vital for the development of a strong and effective new agricultural extension policy (NAEP). The Regional Technical Committee (RTC) and District Technical Committee (DTC) have been replaced by 18 Agricultural Technical Committees (ATC), each covering 2-6 districts in similar agro-ecological zone (AEZ). The composition of National Technical Co-ordination Committee (NTCC) has been amended to include representatives from NGOs and farming community. Agricultural extension together with nutritional awareness program will receive about 8 per cent of the agricultural development Plan outlay.
The following will be constituents of strategies to develop extension services:
- Development of qualitative demonstration, field days, agricultural exhibition;
- Decentralized and farming system approach to extension system;
- Non-commodity approach, i.e., irrigation technology, seed technology, on-farm water management technology and uses, IPM;
- Strengthening of field level activities through proper delegation of authority from headquarters to field level;
- Priority to marginal and small farmers;
- Development and promotion of environmentally sound farming practices and specially for distressed areas involving local government bodies, especially union and Upazila Parishads in the process
- Mechanized agriculture.
- Community seed production, storage and distribution.
- MIS (ICT) based knowledge management system.
- Ensuring soil health.
- Business development initiative in agriculture especially capacity building of extension personnel.
- Recruit more women agriculture worker and increase their participation and involvement in the modern technology innovation in agriculture sector as well as social forestry.
- Protection of women and children from health hazards during tobacco production
Agricultural and Rural Training: In addition to higher education at agricultural colleges and the university, several other training institutions teach and train personnel who serve agricultural sector. These institutions are Central Extension Resources Development Institute (CERDI) at Joydebpur, Graduate Training Institute (GTI) attached to Agricultural University at Mymensingh and 12 Agricultural Training Institutes (ATIs) located throughout the country; although the training facilities vary considerably among institutes, they are generally inadequate and need support for overall improvement. The curricula equally emphasize both academic and field trainings. During the Sixth Plan period, two ATIs will be established to meet the growing needs of extension personnel including women extension agents. Besides, Academy for Rural Development at Comilla and that at Bogra will train agriculture personnel of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives in addition to pursuing their training program for model farmers and managers of village co-operative societies on various aspects of agricultural development. To make the agricultural extension service efficient and effective, the training and communication support of extension system needs to be reorganized, strengthened and improved. The ATIs and CERDI will emphasize the qualitative aspects of training in agricultural management, instruction in the production of training materials, training of trainers and of extension agents. Training institutes will be given responsibilities for extension work in the nearby villages of their locations with the objective of achieving better organized extension work in the rural communities which will, in turn, result in an improvement in the quality of training. In support of the agricultural extension services, agricultural information service will concentrate on the systematic planning of multimedia communication activities to assist crop production and on taking initiatives in other relevant areas and fields. On regional basis, women farmers will be imparted training on cultivation including modern technology innovation in agriculture sector as well as organic manure production.
In order to reduce ‘yield gap’ government will try to reduce ‘information gap’. Modern ICT tools would be used for agricultural information dissemination besides regional printing facilities development and establishment of community radio would be encouraged for reaching agro-ecologically constrained areas.
Rural communication system would be an umbrella for enhancing rural development services in a very appropriate manner, combination of previous system with modern system for achieving proper socioeconomic development, people’s participation, ensuring food security, narrow down rural and urban divide and ultimately building up the digital Bangladesh by 2021.
Bangladesh is a densely populated country having 14.757 million hectares of land where forest area is 2.52 million hectares (2007) representing 13% surface area of the country. But Bangladesh is not on track to achieve the MDG target of 20% tree cover with density greater than 70% by 2015. The forest is an integral part of our environment that maintains the ecological balance by controlling soil erosion, water and air quality. It also contributes to our national economy by providing timber, fuel wood, food like honey, wax, medicine, fodder, industrial raw materials etc. Poverty reduction through social forestry is now a success story within forestry sector of Bangladesh. About 0.335 million rural poor are now engaged as participants of the social forestry programme. This sector is contributing 1.7% (2010) of the nation’s GDP1.
Public commons: Public commons including natural resources such as land, wetlands, forests, grasslands, grazing land, reed land, khas land, peat land, rivers, estuaries and the open seas may be one of the most important safety nets available to the poor particularly in the rural areas, provided these are managed in a sustainable manner. In order to increase access to natural resources for the rural poor, participatory social forestry for degraded and encroached forestland and co-management for PAs have been introduced by the Forest Department. It will continue to allow better access of the poor to the public commons.
National forest assessment: National forest assessment and periodic forest inventory will be conducted using MIS and GIS to generate quality and reliable data for future planning and better management. Technical support for developing GIS and training of remote sensing specialists in the Forest Department will be considered in future interventions.
Aforestation: Building forest resources through aforestation will be emphasized. Efforts will be made to establish climate change resilient aforestation in the denuded hill forests and coastal land by accretion.
Non–Crop Sector: Livestock
Performance of Livestock Sector
Livestock sector plays a significant role in Bangladesh economy. Cattle and buffaloes are used for draft power, rural road transport, and threshing purposes. Moreover, livestock provides animal protein through milk, meat, and eggs for human consumption, and dung as fuel and manure. Although livestock sub-sector contributes about 3 per cent of total GDP, it employs about 20 per cent of rural labor force. The development of livestock sub-sector has, therefore, been considered as an important element for generating income and employment, especially in rural areas.
There exists a wide gap between total requirement of livestock products such as milk, meat, and eggs and their current levels of production. Moreover, the gaps between requirement and production are expected to widen due to population growth and more importantly, to rapid increase in per capita income. As income rises, the demand for livestock and poultry products increases rapidly since the income elasticity of these products is quite high: 2.16 for milk, 2.45 for meat, and 1.40 for eggs. This requires urgent and rapid development of livestock sub-sector in general and growth of livestock products in particular, in the future.
However, there are bright prospects for developing the livestock sub-sector given that the sub-sector currently has extremely low per-bird and per-animal production of meat, milk, and eggs as it is constrained by disease, poor genetic stock, shortage of land for pasture, and inadequate feed supplies. Production of this sector is dominated by smallholder farmers who are mostly unfamiliar with basic animal nutrition, the nutrient value of different feed sources, disease control, and breed selection. Hence, output can be increased relatively fast by introducing modern methods of production through wider dissemination of relevant information to the farmers and building a supportive infrastructure for this sub-sector.
The growth of livestock population has been most rapid for poultry (chicken/ducks) and least for cattle/buffaloes over the 1983/84-2005 period. In fact, the number of cattle/buffaloes increased by only 2.57 million (mostly during 1996-2005 period) over the 22 year period. This has led to a decline of cattle/buffaloes per holding and per capita by 37.5 and 30.8 per cent respectively over the period. The number of chicken/ducks, on the other hand, increased significantly (by 52.96 million between 1983/84 and 1996, and by 55.12 million between 1996 and 2005) thereby registering per holding and per capita increase of 38.8 and 64.8 per cent respectively over the period. The differential growth of livestock and poultry largely reflects the scarcity of grazing land and the scavenging nature of chickens/ducks as well as recent growth spurt of commercial poultry relative to cattle/buffaloes.
During the current decade (2000/01-2008/09 period), poultry population registered a satisfactory growth (over 5 per cent) followed by goats/sheep (around 4 per cent). The growth of cattle/buffaloes, especially cattle, however, is most disappointing, registering a growth of only 0.5 per cent over this period. This has led to a per capita decline in the number of bovine animals, especially cattle in the country. Due to robust growth of poultry, however, the livestock population registered an overall growth of 4.6 per cent, thereby leading to an increase in the number of livestock per capita over the period.
Current and Future Challenges in Livestock Sub-sector
The major problems constraining the development of livestock sub-sector in Bangladesh are: lack of feed, incidence of disease, and poor genetic stock. These problems, however, are intertwined. The lack of high-quality feed tends to keep both animals and birds in weak conditions, which, in turn, make them more susceptible to disease. Diseases increase mortality and make animal production less profitable than it would otherwise be. This, in turn, reduces requirements for feed production. Poor genetic potential reduces feed use efficiency which increases feed requirement.
Feed and fodder: The shortage of quality feed and fodder has been identified as the most important constraint to livestock development in the country. The problem is becoming more acute as a result of dwindling grazing land due to expansion of crop cultivation in general and more intensive cereal production (with short-stemmed HYV rice plants replacing traditional longer stemmed varieties) in particular, and human habitat expansion. Rice straw has been the principal component of feed for cattle and buffaloes, accounting for 80 per cent of total dry roughage, followed by maize. Maize is, however the preferred feed choice in most part of the world because of its high nutrient value relative to its price. The demand for maize as feed ingredient is growing fast in the country with the establishment of new poultry, dairy and fish farms. Poultry farms with an average capacity of 5,000 birds or less use imported maize of only one-fourth of their requirements. The feed mills, on the other hand, use imported maize amounting to two-thirds of their grain requirements. Poultry and dairy industries are, thus, dependent on imported maize despite high potentials of domestic production.
The number of poultry farms has been growing over the last two decades. Most of these are layer farms. Poultry farms use mixed food grains, maize, and wheat, along with manufactured feeds popularly known as ready feeds. Mixed feeds are prepared by farm owners themselves, following the prescriptions from the Department of Livestock Services (DLS) under the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock and the feed mills. In making feeds, households or small farms seem to be at a disadvantage due to lack of proper technical knowledge and price information. Poultry farms are dependent on imports mostly for feed ingredients and occasionally for chicks. There are, however, no clear rules and regulations regarding their imports and quality control.
There is hardly any disagreement that the main reason behind current feed shortage is the growing scarcity of grazing land; in particular, very little area of land is devoted to fodder cultivation in the country. With programs to improve the productive capacity of the indigenous livestock, there will be an increase in demand for feed as the improved animals and birds will require better nutrition. Thus, the problem of feed shortage will become more acute unless the supply of feed and fodder resources is increased.
Potential varieties of fodder and feeds were developed by BLRI having tested in different AEZs. Extension activities for transferring germplasm of these to farmers as a regular extension work of the DLS will be strengthened further. Feed technologies developed by BLRI (UMS, Fresh and Wet Straw, Maize stover, Banana pseudostem processing and preservation technologies) will be extended to farmers and also utilizing crop by-products effectively to reduce demad supply gaps of cattle feeds.
Animal disease: Climatic conditions in Bangladesh make diseases more prevalent along with other factors such as high animal densities, poor animal nutrition, and lack of veterinary services. A shortage of vaccines further complicates the problems. Among different animal diseases, Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) in cattle causes heavy losses to farmers in Bangladesh. It appears mostly in endemic proportions and sometimes in epidemic form. In case of chicken, Newcastle disease causes heavy losses in the form of mortality. Gumboro has also been identified as a fatal disease of chicken. Highly pathogenic avian flu (H5N1 strain) has recently emerged as a major threat for poultry development in the country.
The major factor hindering any headway in prevention and control of diseases is the unavailability of vaccine and sera in required quantities. In fact, during the mid-90s the supply of vaccine and sera against different diseases were less than one-third of total requirement in the country. Since the cost of local production of major vaccines is less than their import prices, the private sector should be given incentives to undertake production of vaccines that are in short supply or not available in the country.
Genetic breed: The genetic potential of indigenous livestock in Bangladesh is generally poor, characterized by low productivity. Although indigenous breeds are less susceptible to diseases and able to survive on meager rations of rice straw and crop residues, they are also low producers of meat, milk, and eggs.
Cattle dominate the livestock population in Bangladesh, accounting for about 60 per cent of the total stock in 2005. Virtually all cattle in Bangladesh are zebu, with three main types: large deshi (local), small deshi, and Red Chittagong. These animals are genetically small in size and slow growers. The national cattle breeding policy envisaged that cattle breeding operation will be carried in urban, semi-urban and milk potential areas. Whether the breeding policy has been successfully implemented is a matter of in-depth investigation. Some experiences have been gained however, on the basis of which future course of action can be initiated. These are:
- Despite significant increase in use of power tillers, the use of cattle as the main source of draft power for agricultural operations, as well as for meeting the requirements of meat and milk in Bangladesh will continue for years to come. In rural areas, there is a need to improve the working efficiency of bulls through improved breeding and feeding practices. At the same time, breeding for higher milk production has to be emphasized in urban, semi-urban, and milk pockets for meeting the deficit in milk.
- An important constraint to cross-breeding is the scarcity of breeding bulls. These bulls are not largely produced by individual farms because it is not remunerative to them for breeding purpose only. It is, therefore, necessary for the government to set up more cattle breeding stations and farms in different areas of the country to develop improved herds of various breeds.
- The coverage of cross-breeding programs of milking cows is still very limited. However, it is expected that the coverage will expand as organized marketing of milk spreads over more areas and the necessary inputs and services are made available to a large number of farmers for breeding and rearing of cross-breed cattle.
- As mentioned earlier, the low productivity of local breeds of animals and birds is a constraint to livestock development in Bangladesh. High yielding exotic breeds normally do not have adequate resistance against prevalent diseases or thrive well in local environment. It is necessary to develop suitable breeds of animals and birds in the country through selection, cross-breeding, and upgrading along with appropriate management.
Buffaloes are larger than the local breed cows, although the average fertility is about the same. Buffaloes subsist on the same types of feed as cattle but are better able to utilize low grade roughage. Moreover, buffaloes are more resistant to diseases than cattle. However, they thrive only on marshy and swampy lands. There are two varieties of indigenous goats in Bangladesh, the Black Bengal and the Jamunapuri. The Black Bengal accounts for bulk of the goat population. They are well adapted and productive under local conditions. In fact, goats are harder, faster breeders, and better feed converters than cattle. Besides, they rarely suffer from serious diseases. The Black Bengal variety should be encouraged for goat population expansion.
More than 90 per cent of the chicken in Bangladesh are local variety unimproved breeds or cross breeds of local varieties with imported birds. The government and the private sector import improved varieties for parent stocks used in producing chicks. However, the size of the parent stock of imported birds is not large enough to meet the demand for chick. Consequently, the private sector produces about 80 per cent of the chicks from broody hens using local and cross-breed varieties.
Research and management: Apart from the three major constraints discussed above, low investment in livestock research and its poor management are matters of major concern. The livestock and poultry sub-sector has not been a priority of the government or the farmers. The government has allocated its resources mostly for research and development on crop, especially food crop production. Moreover, priority was given to livestock for on-farm draft power rather than for meat or milk production. This low priority given to livestock and poultry was reflected in the small allocation of budgets to this sub-sector. Not only the budget allocation is small but this has actually declined in recent years.
Livestock management is also weak, with farmers lacking knowledge of feeding requirements, disease control, and breed selection. The present livestock management system, therefore, serve as a constraint to livestock development in the country. Small number of livestock is kept by the majority of rural households rather than intensive commercial production. Under the existing management practices, the animals neither receive adequate nutrition nor proper health care for efficient growth and production. Poor management is also reflected in inadequate effort given to fodder cultivation by farmers and the common practice of feeding cattle only with rice straw.
In addition to the above mentioned challenges, some other constraints affecting the livestock sector are: (a) weak delivery of livestock services of DLS and strengthening of DLS, (b) insufficient diagnostic facilities at upazila level, (c) lack of credit facilities at low interest rate, (d) insufficient facilities for the development of indigenous poultry etc.
SFYP Targets and Objectives for the Livestock Sub-sector
The main goal of development initiative of the current government termed ‘Vision 2021; Bangladesh for resolution of crisis and a prosperous future’ is to reduce unemployment to meet the demand of standard nutrition for 85% of the population. The livestock sub-sector may play a significant role to achieve these goals.
- To promote sustainable improvements in productivity of milk, meat and egg production including processing and value addition;
- To promote sustained improvements in income, nutrition and employment for the landless, small and marginal farmers; and
- To facilitate increased private sector participation and investments in livestock production, livestock services, development and export of livestock products and by-products.
SFYP Policies and Strategies for the Livestock Sub-sector
A useful way of identifying and realizing potentials for accelerated growth of livestock lies in addressing properly the constraints identified earlier. As mentioned earlier, lack of adequate feed and fodder has been constraining the development of livestock in the country. There is ample scope for ensuring improved feed supply in Bangladesh. Also, there are bright prospects for including certain feed crops such as maize into farmers’ cropping pattern by selective inter-cropping with other food or cash crops. Moreover, high yielding perennial fodder crops such as Napier grass and para grass could be grown on embankments, road sides, and other underutilized areas. Ipil-ipil plants which are fast growing leguminous plants with high protein content could also be grown for animal feed. Research will be conducted on unconventional green grasses in hilly and char lands to meet the fodder shortage. A shortage of seeds has slowed down this development and lack of farmers’ knowledge has limited the expansion of these high yielding fodder crops. Also, opportunity exists for Bangladesh to produce significant quantities of fish meal which could be used for animal and poultry feed.
As mentioned earlier, the incidence of a comprehensive program is needed for combating diseases – in particular, to train veterinary technicians to identify and treat common diseases, and also to administer vaccines to prevent diseases. This was done on a limited scale for the poultry in the past. This type of programs needs to be expanded to cover the entire livestock. Moreover, adequate supplies of vaccine need to be made available to immunize the livestock population of Bangladesh.
There is a need for a dual purpose animal which can provide draft power for crop production and milk as well as meat for consumption. This could be achieved through cross-breeding of imported and domestic animals to upgrade the indigenous cattle and buffaloes. Since imported breeds normally do not have adequate resistance to disease and do not thrive in the local environment, it is necessary to develop suitable breeds of animals through selection, cross-breeding, and appropriate management. Despite a government programs to provide AI services at subsidized rates, farmers have been slow to adopt this as an alternative option for insemination. This needs to be seriously looked into and appropriate policy measures needs to be undertaken on a priority basis.
It is necessary to improve livestock management practices so that farmers take better care of their animals and can better understand basic nutrition and health of farm animals. Women folks working in the dairy and poultry will also be provided proper training. This would not only improve the health of animals but would make disease control more effective as farmers will be able to recognize common diseases and health problems. This can be entrusted with government extension agents and specialists from the DLS.
With increased mechanization, the use of cows/buffalos for cultivation of land is reducing. In addition, lack of grazing land is also increasing the cost of raising cattle. Furthermore, mechanized cultivation is relatively cheaper and time saving. All such factors have made mechanized cultivation more popular in recent years. Increased use of power tillers has the potential to replace cattle as the primary source of draft power. This replacement is desirable as it would alleviate the shortage of animal power for cultivation to some extent and an increasing proportion of cattle population would then be reared for meat and milk production. Given the shortage of animals for draft power and severe malnutrition problem in the country, it is desirable to encourage mechanical tilling which would allow limited pastures to be used for grazing animals for milk and meat production while still providing supplementary draft power for cultivation. Char areas should be utilized to produce feed crops. Rearing of sheep and buffalos in the char area will be promoted under the SFYP. For rapid breeding development of buffaloes, artificial insemination activities will be undertaken throughout the potential areas of the country for genetic improvement of local buffaloes.
The local Black Bengal goats that are disease resistant, prolific breeder, and able to live off scavenged food, represent perhaps the most productive component of the livestock sub-sector. The skins of these goats are also of high quality and a major source of export earnings. Efforts should be made to improve the breed to increase meat (and milk) production, while retaining its disease resistance and skin quality. Mortality rate of kids (buckling and doeling) of these goats is, however, high and efforts should be made to reduce it by greater veterinary care, training for goat rearing, and improved feeding.
The livestock sub-sector, still dominated by smallholder producers, has considerable potential to improve its productivity and benefits to the rural poor can be increased by appropriate policies of livestock asset control. The smallholder farms own poultry, goats and sheep rather than large animals. The pro-poor policies need to assess why poor households tend to own smaller animals, whether to support such ownership or to relieve constraints to increasing their ownership of large animals. A number of factors determine the livestock ownership pattern of the poor e.g. small animals require less capital to buy and maintain, simplify distress sales, and reduce risks of loss due to death or theft, grow and breed faster, and can thrive on harsher conditions. These issues suggest two major policies to enhance the poverty-reducing role of livestock. First, the focus of livestock research, extension, and public goods provision needs to be directed more towards improving management of small animals in small lots (e.g. better management of infectious diseases). In this context, increasing layered farming of chicken needs to be encouraged. Second, barriers that constrain the poor’s ownership of large animals need to be removed. An important policy approach could be to create institutional arrangements (e.g. through cooperatives or entrusting large animals owners) to perform management, finance, and sale functions of livestock products while ownership rests with small producers. Along with creating new employment opportunities, such policies would provide inputs and services to small herd owners thereby removing critical constraints for them to emerge as profitable livestock farmers.
In order to protect transboundary diseases, as well as to protect the livestock sector from avian flu, anthrax etc. the plan will take specific measures. In addition, research on production of vaccines will be done in accordance to climate and weather of the country. Given the fact that, cattle and buffalos are more tolerant to saline water, production of these species in the Southern part of the country will be encouraged. Moreover, for upgrading indigenous cattle, in addition to artificial insemination, the Plan will incorporate breed upgradation through Progeny Test. Finally, necessary steps will be taken to conserve the indigenous species of livestock and poultry population.
Performance of Fisheries Sector
Fisheries fall broadly into three main categories: inland capture, inland culture and marine fisheries. Inland capture fishery plays the dominant role in this sub-sector. Capture fisheries includes rivers, floodplains, beels, haors, etc. some of which retain water throughout the year. Inland culture fisheries include pond culture, ox-bow lakes (baors) and shrimp farms. Marine fisheries of the country are made up of marine industrial (trawl) and marine artisanal fisheries. Inland captured fisheries dominate the whole sector and constitutes more than 40% of the total fish production with an average annual rate of growth of 5.6%. Inland cultured fisheries contribute about 39% of total production with an average annual growth of 6%. Marine fisheries constitutes about 19% of total fish production (with a growth of 5.4% per annum), of which marine artisanal alone contributes 18%. According to group-wise species production for both inland and marine fisheries, Hilsa, as a single category, contributes the highest share (11.3%) followed by Shrimp (8.7%) in total production.
The main use of fishery resources is domestic consumption. Fish is much preferred by the people of Bangladesh as an important food item. In fact, fish is generally treated as a staple food next to rice. Fish is an important source of animal protein for the majority of the people of Bangladesh and it is the only source for many of them. Another important use of fishery resources, particularly shrimp, is export.
The National Fisheries Strategy (2006) reflects a shift from the way the sub-sector is currently managed. The sector was controlled by the Government through its agents mostly the Department of Fisheries. Their activities largely included the management and control with direct involvement in supplying some of the inputs such as fingerling. The strategy stipulates that their activities moves to one of fostering participation with local communities, the private sector and NGOs; the provision of advice; and establishing a regulatory framework in which the sub-sector can function properly. This strategy emphasizes collaboration linkages and partnerships throughout. The strategy also reflects current government concern for poverty alleviation through more targeted activities by all. Some of the strategies as outlined in the National Fisheries Strategy (2006) are pointed out below:
- Developing Long Term Objective Planning;
- Ensuring People’s Participation;
- Coordination, Collaboration and Support from Relevant Other Ministries/Departments for the Fisheries Sector;
- Developing a Regulatory Framework for the Sub-sector;
- Having Pro-Poor Management Strategy;
- Ensuring Gender Equality;
- Providing Alternative Income Generating Activities; and
- Managing the Environment Properly.
Challenges Facing the Fisheries Sub-sector
Major causes of resource degradation in this sub-sector can be identified as: (i) construction of flood control embankments and roads, (ii) siltation, (iii) over fishing and fishing of under-sized, (iv) incidence of fish diseases, (v) discharge of chemical fertilizers and industrial effluents in the water, and (vi) conflict between paddy cultivation and fish production.
The major environmental threat to inland capture fisheries is considered to be the water control, specially flood control structures, and road embankments. The general arguments for such project interventions are two-fold. First, they increase rice production by converting floodplains into irrigated paddy land. Second, they prevent death and damage to property from flooding. There are inadequate institutional arrangements and commitments to integrate fisheries into the planning, designing and operation of these projects. The sustainability of fisheries in the floodplains is very much linked with extensive system of interconnected areas of fish habitat for their migration, breeding, feeding and growth. However, findings of Flood Action Plan 17 (FAP 17) indicate that the negative impact of flood control and water development projects could be mitigated and the floodplain fish production could be increased by the introduction of better water management practices to ensure access of fish from rivers into the floodplains and vice versa. In addition to such intervention, natural siltation of the waterways also reduces the open water aquatic habitats.
With population growth and growing unemployment, pressure on open water fisheries is also increasing, leading to over exploitation of the resources. Effective enforcement of fish laws, providing alternative employment opportunities for poor fishermen during lean period and ensuring redistribution of economic benefits through implementation of equitable and effective management policies can address these problems of over-exploitation of the resources.
Incidence of fish diseases is another problem for fisheries development. Degradation of natural balance of the environment and intensification of freshwater aquaculture are the main causes for fish disease. Maintaining natural balance and practicing good husbandry is the best way to prevent most diseases. The increased use of chemical fertilizers for crop production and discharge of industrial effluents in the water are other problems for resource degradation. These pollute the open water aquatic habitats and cause problems for breeding and feeding of fishery resources. There are also resource conflicts between paddy cultivation and fish production that occur as a result of converting floodplain areas to paddy fields, increased use of water for irrigation in the dry season, and the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers which have impeded inland fisheries development.
Some other challenges in the fisheries sub-sector are: (a) genetic degradation of carps, (b) decline of food-plain fisheries, (c) problems related to quality feed, fingerlings etc. of inland aquaculture, (d) rapid depletion of the stock of marine fisheries, (e) complicated leasing of public wet lands etc.
SFYP Strategies and Policies for Fisheries Sub-sector
The overall strategy of fisheries sub-sector development should focus more on open water fisheries, ensuring biodiversity and preserving natural breeding grounds, product diversification, value addition, capacity building and development of appropriate marketing infrastructure. The strategy should be to promote a dynamic capture fisheries and aquaculture, involving the key actors e.g. NGOs, private sector entrepreneurs and community based fishing groups. Priority areas of interventions in the fisheries sub-sector may therefore include the following:
- Emphasis should be given on the management of open water capture fisheries since the potential for pond culture has nearly been exhausted. Productivity in the open water capture fisheries in Bangladesh is fairly low. It is only about 200kg/ha. There is a good potential for doubling the productivity in the open water capture fisheries through effective management. There already exist some good practices of better management of open water fisheries which need to be disseminated among the concerned fishermen and fish farmers.
- Although the potential for pond culture has nearly been exhausted, steps should be taken to raise the productivity of pond fishery in the country.
- Initiatives should be taken to enhance the productivity of shrimp culture. While the productivity of shrimp culture in Thailand is 3000kg/ha, it is only 300 kg/ha in Bangladesh. Introduction of intensive shrimp farming may help augmenting shrimp productivity in the country.
- For the marine fisheries, it is vitally important to assess the resources in the artisanal and deep sea levels. Allocation of fishing rights should be contingent upon this assessment so that optimal fishing is carried out at both artisanal and deep sea levels. Introducing modern techniques of fishing in the coast as well as in the sea and providing modern fishing equipment are also required to augment production from the marine fishery.
- Community-based fisheries management should be encouraged. There are already some examples of successful community based management of open water fisheries that can be disseminated and replicated in other places. This ensures broad-based participation of community people in the fisheries management as well as higher production.
However, in most cases, community-based management works better during the project period only and the situation deteriorates soon after the completion of the projects. Hence, to make the community-based management more effective and sustainable, community people should be made more aware about the fishing practices and fisheries management. They should also be given “ownership” of the resources so that they invest and adequately take care of the resources. Introducing long-term leasing system can serve the ownership problem in this respect.
- Better practices of open water fisheries management should be re-introduced in other places. Restocking in the open water fisheries, not to catch fish for some time of the year, enhancing seasonal culture, pen culture and beel nursery can significantly contribute to augmenting fish production from the capture fishery.
- It is also important to emphasize on the creation of more sanctuaries and proper enforcement of laws in order to ensure the breeding and growth of fish in the open water capture fisheries.
- Providing adequate training to the fish farmers and extending extension services to them is important for the development of fisheries sub-sector in future. The Sixth Five Year Plan should emphasize on this so that the capacities are built at the fishermen and farmers levels.
- The Department of Fisheries (DoF) is suffering from lack of manpower, particularly at the field levels. It cannot provide adequate extension services to the fish farmers at the local levels. In order to take the modern technology of fish farming to the local levels, be it capture or culture, it needs to strengthen the capacity of the department. Capacities of the Fisheries Research Institutes should also be strengthened.
- It is important to regulate the private hatcheries, many of which are producing sub-standard fingerlings. Fish farmers are using these fingerlings without knowing its quality and hence the fish production is also being adversely affected. Policies/strategies should there be adopted in the area of hatchery management. Policies/strategies should also be undertaken in the areas of sanctuary management and fish-feed production.
- Lack of proper coordination among relevant government ministries/departments still a problem in the development of the sub-sector. Ministries of Land and Fisheries should also work together in deciding leasing of the jalmahals. Ministries of Agriculture and Industries should also cooperate with the Ministries of Fisheries in regulating the use of pesticides in agricultural field and controlling the pollution of water in the water bodies. Responsible officials of the Department of Fisheries at the Upazila levels should also be given limited magistracy in order to enforce the fishery law to protect the sanctuaries and control the use of fishing gears.
- Fish preservation, processing and marketing structure, particularly for the capture fisheries, are also weak. It needs to develop proper preservation facilities, processing plant and appropriate marketing structures to reduce market imperfections and the role of the middlemen so that the fishermen get the major share of the price paid by the consumers. Role of Bangladesh Fisheries Development Corporation should also be strengthened so that it can intervene in preserving and processing of fish during harvesting period and marketing during the lean period.
- There should be adequate provisions of credit access for the fishermen and fish farmers. Fishermen in most of the cases work as contract labor of large traders and arotdars. They should therefore be provided with credit so that they can purchase fishing equipment themselves and meet regular expenses during lean seasons. Fish farmers, particularly the small farmers, should also be provided with credit so that they can invest in the fishery.
- There is a growing realization that the fisheries sector cannot continue to support the numbers of people currently engaged in this activity, especially if they have limited access to resources and also during lean/off-fishing period. There is thus a need to work with other agencies (government non-government) that can provide support in the identification of other opportunities and supply training and resources to enable these people to seek alternative income earning opportunities.
- In each of the strategies and programs, focus on the poorest and on female participants should be maintained.
- Policies will be targeted towards improving fish habitat e.g. river/channel dredging, conservation etc.
- The plan emphasizes on reversing stock in breed, managing quality brood stock etc.
- Steps will be taken for establishing of hatcheries, quality fingerlings and feeds.
- The plan emphasizes on co-management of public wet lands, strengthening farmers/fishers organization.
- Strategies and policies should emphasize on the quality control of fish and fisheries product. This has to be done both in the context of international export market as well as for domestic consumption.
- Research on best management practice of high yielding fish species and research on genetic/biotechnological improvement of fish species should be given further importance.
- The plan emphasizes on conservation of aquatic biodiversity and indigenous fish species.
Food Security and Management
Bangladesh has a population of 150 million and is growing at a rate of 1.4 per year. Provision of food for all is therefore a real challenge and Bangladesh may have to depend on imported food to ensure food security. During the last two decades safety net programs were extensively used to channel food to the landless unskilled poor especially during the lean season. This effort has added to the government policy of poverty reduction. In fact poverty has dropped from 58.8 percent in 1990 to 31.5 percent in 2010. During the period percentage of under-nourished people declined from 35 to 30 with improvements in child and maternal mortality. Country has made significant progress in food production but the increase in food production has been neutralized by the absolute increase in demand for food due to population growth and the country remained as a low-income food deficit country with an average food grain import of 2 million tonnes since 1990-91. An estimated 27 million ultra poor people survive on less than 1805 Kcal per day and risk losing life and livelihoods to recurrent natural disasters. This is compounded by an increasing disparity in income distribution and high prevalence of malnutrition among women and children. Although poverty has declined in Bangladesh during the last decade, the country has third high number of hungry people in the world.
One of the criticisms of FFW projects is leakage of resource. A leakage study by World Food Program indicated that leakages vary agency to agency as well as program to program. The Vulnerable Development program (VGD) has a leakage of about 11% while LGED implemented FFW projects’ leakage was around 4%. Several reasons for leakage were identified which include (i) a flat rate for transportation of commodity @ Tk 250/tonne provided for carrying commodity from food godown to distribution point though it varies from place to place, (ii) no resource is officially allocated to weight and distribute commodity at the distribution point, (iii) Commodity is shared with real deserving non project beneficiary with consent of the project beneficiary (specially in VGD). Despite all this shortcomings FFW probably helps the general poor by keeping food price reasonable. Therefore, strategy could be to improve access to food for the poor rural families vulnerable to shortage of employment, fluctuating food prices and natural disasters and FFW interventions will be planned in such a way that would facilitate agriculture development or address climate change issues.
Vulnerability of domestic production of food grain necessitated building up of an elaborate public food distribution system (PFDS) over the years. PFDS aimed at both meeting emergency needs as well as normal demand of the poor households in addition to meeting institutional demand originating in hostels, hospitals, jails, etc. While the distribution of public food grain continued to expand, it acquired a new emphasis through domestic procurement on a voluntary basis as a tool for stimulating food grain production with price support and open market sales (OMS) for price stabilization at consumer level. Thus, it has both consumption and production objectives and in respect of both, it has undergone changes with the growth of domestic output and greater availability of food grain in markets.
Attainment of food grain self-sufficiency and food security remain the stated objectives of the national food policy and strategies. However, the objective contents of the food sub-sector during the Sixth Plan are as follows:
- Ensuring food security for all and elevating nutritional status of the people living below poverty line;
- Preservation and maintenance of security stock of food grain to meet any natural calamities, production shortfalls and supply hazards;
- Development of a social safety net program for vulnerable groups with special focus on women and children through improvement and enlargement of targeted food distribution;
- Maintenance of price stability within a band to protect interests of producers and consumers;
- Expansion of private sector in storage, distribution and trade of food grain; and
- Development of a sound quality control, grading and standardization system of food grain and food products.
SFYP Policies and Strategies for Food Management
The food sector has undergone major structural improvements over the years both in terms of market operation as well as in the context of Public Food grain Distribution System (PFDS). The present policy and strategy to further liberalize food trade will continue. However, though the private sector is expected to play a greater role in food grain management and trade in future, the government involvement in some specific areas will be continued in food grain management. The following issues relating to food security in particular, will continue to engage the government’s attention:
- Maintenance of Buffer Stock: Buffer stock will be maintained to make up anticipated production and stock losses due to periodical droughts, floods and cyclones. An estimated 1.5 million tonnes of food grain will be required to be maintained as security stock.
- Procurement of Food Grain: Internal procurement of food grain will continue to ensure floor price to the growers and to provide incentive and confidence to growers for further production.
- Stabilization of Price: The government will formulate an effective mechanism to avoid wide fluctuations of prices. One of the current public policies is to hold food security stock for price stabilization. Open market sale is one of the short term instruments used for avoiding temporarily wide fluctuations in market prices. Private sector will be encouraged to strengthen food storage facilities at strategic places such as food deficit/surplus areas. This will enable the traders to augment market supply in response to rise in prices, thereby reducing both seasonal and regional price spreads.
- Targeted Support for Vulnerable Groups: National level food grain availability does not necessarily ensure household food security. In spite of increasing food grain production and falling real prices of rice, over half of the country’s population cannot afford a diet to meet minimum nutritional requirement. Hence, the case for public intervention remains strong and clear. Consequently, targeting the poor for supply of food remains squarely within the public domain. Vulnerable Group Development, Food for Work Program and Food for Education in wider ambits will be some of the specific programs of public interventions. Women’s participation in the management of food distribution (nutrition feeding programme) will be ensured.
- Role of the Government : To meet any shortfall in the flow of required quantum of food, the public sector may have to intervene for:
- Preservation and maintenance of security stock
- Development of a safety net programs by improvement and enlargement of targeted food distribution;
- Providing incentive to growers through procurement of food grain at remunerative prices;
- Stabilization of price of food grain in relation to production cost and purchasing power of the consumers; and
- Modernizing and maintaining existing storage capacity by renovating old food storage facility and, if necessary, constructing new storage facility in strategic areas of the country.
Review of Past Performance
Water resources sector has undergone significant shift in terms of policies, strategies, plans and programs in the last decade. The Water Resources Planning Act (1992), the National Water Policy (NWPo-1999), the National Water Management Plan (NWMP-2001), the Guidelines for Participatory Water Management (GPWM-2000), the Coastal Zone Policy (CZPo-2005), the Coastal Development Strategy (CDS-20006), the BWDB Act (2000), the National Water Act (draft) have created an enabling environment in the country to practice Integrated Water Recourse Management (IWRM) for economic, social and environmental sustainability. The programs and projects of water sector in Sixth Five Year Plan would be guided on the backdrop of this favorable environment.
LGED’s initiatives on the development of Small Scale Water Resources (SSWR) (less than 1000 hectare) started in 1960 under Thana Irrigation Program. During 1986 to 1996, sixty SSWR schemes were implemented under the Rural Employment Sector Program. Taking lessons from the performances of the earlier water resources development projects, sustainable use of water resources has been facilitated with the participation of local stakeholders along with local government institutions involving public and private sectors, communities and individuals in implementation of Small Scale Water Resources Development Sector Project (SSW-1 and SSW-2). Both SSW-1 and SSW-2 have enhanced rural incomes by developing community based water management associations and community managed small scale infrastructure and this approach has proved effective in the drive to reduce rural poverty.
Irrigation is one of the most important and essential part of agricultural production and that is why the Government has given importance to the irrigation for increased agricultural production. Irrigation has got direct positive impact on raising farm productivity and agricultural growth. Irrigation should be given priority to the Monga prone and other less productive areas. This will also help in reducing regional disparities as the Monga prone areas of the country suffer from less rainfall throughout the year.
Government has also given importance on the effective and optimum utilization of surface water rather than extracting ground water for irrigation. Utilization of surface water is more effective and useful for agricultural production. In addition, by preserving available surface water in the monsoon, it can also be used in the dry season for irrigation. This will directly help to recharge the ground water and increase agricultural production. It will minimize regional disparities in agriculture and will help in maintaining sustainable environment.
During the past, about 5.90 million hectare of flood vulnerable land has been brought under flood control and drainage improvement facilities (up to June 2009) by Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB). By this time, the organization has also provided irrigation to about 1.40 million hectare land under surface water irrigation project. In addition, about 0.10 million hectare land has been reclaimed from the Bay of Bengal which creates room for settlement of poor people. The direct impacts of about 721 projects implemented so far by BWDB are (i) creation of secured environment for crop production that ensured security of the country, (ii) rural employment generation, (iii) protection of agricultural land, towns, human settlements from river erosion and (iv) reclamation of land. The indirect benefits of the projects are (i) better communication; (ii) security from water-borne hazards (like flood, cyclone, storm-surges, saline water intrusion, water logging, drought), (iii) primary defense against possible sea level rise resulting from climate change and (iv) enhancement of agro-based economic activities is a flood-free secured environment.
The benefits derived from water sector interventions are contributing to the poverty reduction initiatives of the country. Through the FCD and FCDI projects, BWDB creates favorable environment for HYV rice production. This induces enhanced employment generation for rural agriculture laborers. Moreover, construction works and annual operation and maintenance works in the infrastructures of these FCD and FCDI projects provide wage income opportunities for the rural skilled and unskilled poor laborers roughly equivalent to one-third of the total annual agricultural wage income.
SFYP Objectives and Targets for Water Resources
The objectives of the SFYP have been formulated to materialize the vision of 2021 along with other international, regional and national priorities. All water sector programs/projects are pro-poor initiatives, be it an irrigation project or a river management project. These projects are also complementary among themselves. A river management project, by dredging the river, is creating safe passage for flood flow thus controlling the havoc of flood while reducing the furry of bank erosion, a natural hazard causing tens of thousands people homeless and poor. This river management project is also thus helping to attain “food security.”
Under these circumstances, a balance approach is followed in setting the objectives of the water sector of the SFYP. River management, which is commonly known as river dredging, has been given proper emphasis in addition to the flood control, drainage and irrigation project. Trans boundary water sharing has also been given priority because of the urgency of the issue. Arsenic contamination is addressed by fixing priority on utilizing surface water as much as possible. The use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in water sector has also been considered with due priority as a step forward to convert the country into “Digital Bangladesh”. Land reclamation is also a priority issue as Bangladesh is a land hungry country.
Specifically, the objectives of water sector of the SFYP are as follows:
- People’s participation in conformity with IWRM principals.
- Enhancing conveyance capacity of water courses through river dredging.
- Protection of river erosion.
- Land reclamation.
- Conjunctive use of surface and groundwater for sustainable irrigation.
- Optimum use of available flows of the common rivers for multipurpose use.
- Regional and International cooperation for basin-wide water resources development and management of trans-boundary rivers.
- Flood Control/ Flood Management
- Heights of coastal and flood embankments to be raised.
- Food security by achieving food grains self-sufficiency through ensuring year-round sustainable irrigation.
- Water conservation for irrigation and other uses.
- Prevention of saline intrusion through augmenting the fresh water flow in the south west region including the Sundarbans (the world heritage).
- Climate change adoption and mitigation.
- Environmental protection.
- Culture fisheries in the completed projects of BWDB.
- Integrated coastal zone management.
- Strengthening and capacity building of water resources institutions in the fields of
- climate change issues
- data management
- river management
- ICT arena
- Studies and research on future water resources management.
The water sector activities will enhance to achieve these targets. Within the SFYP period, the specific targets of water sector are presented in Table 1.2.
|(Growth as % Change)|
|A. Agriculture and Forestry||2.6||1.5||3.6||4.2||5.6||4.8|
|i) Crops & horticulture||2.7||1.1||3.2||4.0||6.1||5.0|
|ii) Animal farming||2.1||2.5||4.5||4.4||3.4||3.5|
|iii) Forest and related services||2.7||3.5||4.7||5.4||5.2||5.4|
|(Share as % of GDP)|
|A. Agriculture and Forestry||26.5||21.4||18.5||16.6||15.8||15.5|
|i) Crops & horticulture||20.2||16.1||13.7||12.0||11.4||11.2|
|ii) Animal farming||4.0||3.4||3.0||2.9||2.7||2.6|
|iii) Forest and related services||2.2||2.0||1.9||1.8||1.7||1.7|
|Employment Generation||12.5 millions mandays|
|Poverty Alleviation||Water sector projects are pro-poor|
|Protection of Environment||EIA is mandatory for all water sectors project|
|Social Security||Water sector projects are pro-poor|
|Food Security||Contributing about 10 millions mt food grains annually|
|Flood Control||0.7 million ha.|
|Human Resources Development||Train 30000 staff|
|Dredging of rivers||318 km.|
|River bank protection (New)||158 km.|
|River bank protection (Rehabilitation)||142 km.|
|Resectioning of embankment||469 km.|
|Coastal embankment||45 km.|
|Resectioning of coastal embankment||480 km.|
|Coastal cross-dam||19 nos|
|Excavation of irrigation canal||1067 km.|
|Re-excavation of irrigation canal||1124 km.|
|Excavation / Re-excavation of drainage channel||636 km.|
|Irrigation / Hydraulic structure||1117 nos|
|Rehabilitation of irrigation structure||440 nos|
|Construction / Rehabilitation of flood control structures||365 nos|
|Rubber dam||6 nos|
|Installation of pump house & rehabilitation||9 nos|
|Formation of WMO’s (in addition to existing 7000 nos)||3000 nos|
SFYP Strategies for Water Management
The programs/projects included in the water resources sector of the SFYP (2011-2015) would require approximately Tk.235050 million for implementation. Institutional, human resources, logistics and financial involvement for the successful implementation of the various programs are huge and need well thought out strategies and policies. The following strategies would be followed in the SFYP plan (2011-2015) period:
- River dredging: Dredging would be carried out in a systematic and comprehensive way and that has to be done in combination with river bank protection for nondestructive, easy and smooth passage of flood flow of river system. Such a planned activity would help to protect the river banks from erosion, which is also a major vector of rural poverty. BWDB would take the lead role in this context.
- Addressing dry season water scarcity: In the wake of continued stress on surface water especially during dry season, top-most priority would be given on water-sharing of the common/trans-boundary rivers with the neighboring country/countries following the model of the Ganges Treaty-1996.
- Basin-wide water resources development initiative: Steps has to be taken immediately to enter into agreements with co-riparian countries for sharing water of international rivers, data exchange, resource planning and long-term management of water resources under normal and emergency conditions of flood, drought and water pollution. While moving towards the attainment of basin-wide plans in the long run, it will also be necessary for Bangladesh to concentrate on the development of individual hydrological areas to meet short and intermediate term requirements.
- The Ganges Barrage project with ancillary infrastructure: The project would be undertaken with a view to meet several objectives, e.g. (i) to harness properly the benefits of the Ganges Water Treaty 1996 (ii) to save the Sundarbans and the south-west region of the country from salinity intrusion and (iii) to utilize the surface water in the wake of widespread arsenic contamination in groundwater, BWDB would address the issue within the shortest possible timeframe. This project is expected to benefit the South Western region and it is expected that 1.2 lac hectare land would be under coverage of irrigation with fresh water, industrial water etc.
- Participatory water management: Such an approach would be followed in all water resources sector projects right from the identification up to monitoring and evaluation. The approach is mandatory for all public sector institutions.
- O&M of completed projects: The completed projects of water resources sector especially the projects related to flood control, drainage and irrigation would be properly operated and maintained with the participation of stakeholders so that the targeted benefits of the projects are ensured. Given the importance of these projects in terms of poverty alleviation of the rural population, BWDB would exert its effort to achieve this goal.
- Achieving “Food-for-All”: BADC, BMDA and BWDB would continue to pursue command area development activities in surface water irrigation project and to explore expansion of irrigation.
- Coastal zone management: Coastal Zone is the zone of prosperity and at the same time is considered as vulnerable point within the country. The area would be treated as a special zone.
- Public Private Partnership: As water resources development interventions are costly initiatives, public-private partnership model has to be explored whenever possible.
- Climate change: The issue would be assessed on a realistic scale and then the effects of the issue on water resources sector would be addressed with reasonable care. BWDB, BHWDB, WARPO, RRI, IWM, JRC, BMDA, BADC and CEGIS would take joint effort in this field with WARPO taking the lead.
- Land reclamation: Bangladesh is facing land scarcity and in this context, necessary projects and steps would be taken for land reclamation. BWDB would implement projects for this purpose.
Continuous Monitoring and Updating of Water Resources
In view of the critical importance of water resources for the economy, the state of the water of the country in the perspective of time and socio-economic setting needs continuous updating and monitoring, WARPO with the help of all the stakeholders of the water resources sector especially with BWDB, BHWDB, JRC, IWM and CEGIS would update the National Water Resources Management Plan (NWMP). The organization will also achieve water resources data in the National Water Resources Database (NWRD). The National Water Management PLAN (NWMP) would be updated through continuous monitoring of its implementation and the state of water resources in the country in perspective of climate change and social setting. WARPO would implement the update in consultation with all the relevant stakeholders including BWDB, LGED, DPHE, WASA, BADC, BHWDR, JRC, DoE and others. WARPO would also update the National Water Resources Database (NWRD) for future updating of NWMP.
Lessons Learned from Past Development Interventions and Key Constraints
Importance of Road Development: Road development is critical to socio-economic development and poverty reduction. An improved road communication system reduces road user costs and costs of production and thus facilitates socio-economic development of the country. It contributes to the reduction of poverty by creating employment opportunities for all, including women, increasing the mobility of working people and facilitating the distribution of capital and consumption goods. Moreover, it contributes to the expansion of markets, augmentation of regional balance and creation of investment opportunities, all of which are conducive to economic growth and poverty reduction. Furthermore, it supports human resource development through improved access to health and education services.
Employment Generation: Through construction and maintenance of infrastructure development and tree plantation activities direct employment opportunity is created for the poor and the destitute women. In addition to the direct employment opportunity, the infrastructure development program implemented by LGED has contributed towards generation of indirect employment opportunities in the following areas:
- Employment in the road transport sector
- Employment in trading activities in growth centers/rural markets
- Employment in the farm sector
- Employment in other non-farm productive activities.
Development Impact of Rural Infrastructure: The development impact of rural infrastructure is highly positive. This is evident from international experience as well as the experience of Bangladesh.
A study done by the Government of Bangladesh in 1996 made the following suggestions for strengthening the rural infrastructure development program.
- The strategy’s growth centre approach (which focuses public investments on selected growth centers and are selected based on well-defined criteria to indicate their socio-economic importance) remains valid.
- No major changes are required, only some readjustments or “fine tuning” may be justified in the light of the experience acquired by different rural development projects.
- Targets will have to be reset after the recent increase of growth centers from 1400 to 2100 due to population and regional growth and regional priorities will have to be defined in view of the natural potential of the regions.
- Some minor readjustments will be needed in the spatial distribution of infrastructure investments to be fully in line with agricultural production and potential.
- In addition emphasis should be given on user/community participation in planning, implementation and monitoring, improved use of local resources, such as, local materials and the continued use of labor intensive techniques with appropriate equipment. Co-ordination in the use of complementary modes of transportation, specifically waterways, increasing the role of the private sector and further strengthening the capacity of contractors operating in the rural areas who provide cost effective, labor intensive skills and resources enhancing the future sustainability of the rural infrastructure system may be given priority as well. Institutional strengthening of the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) and its wide network at local levels with a greater orientation towards community participation will also receive due attention.
- Greater emphasis will be given on building and funding a sustainable maintenance system.
Vision, Goals, Objectives and Targets for SFYP
The vision of Rural Infrastructure Development sub-sector includes, among others, developing, maintaining and managing transport, trading infrastructure at the local level by ensuring LGI and community participation and taking care of environmental and social issues.
The objectives of the sub-sector will include the following:
- Improvement and maintenance of rural infrastructure
- Create direct employment opportunity for the rural poor and the destitute women through improvement and maintenance rural infrastructure.
- Create indirect employment opportunity in road transport, trading and other farm and non-farm sectors.
- Improve utilization of health and education services/facilities
- Facilitate participation of community people in development work and promote good local governance.
- Contribute towards poverty reduction at the local level.
Under the rural infrastructure development program, projects will be taken up for development of growth centers and growth centre connecting roads, bridges and culverts. Road maintenance programs, mostly rural roads, will be implemented through the rural destitute women and eventually they will accumulate savings to undertake income-generation activities by themselves. In addition Union Parishad Complexes (UPCs), Cyclone Shelters and ghats (landing stations) will be constructed in significant numbers.
Current and Future Challenges for the Sector/Sub-sector
The development of road and road transport suffers from a number of challenges/ constraints:
- Bangladesh has a low-lying topography requiring a raised earth embankment. It has a large number of rivers and canals calling for construction of bridges and culverts at frequent intervals. Moreover, there is scarcity of a number of construction materials like stone, cement and lime which have to be imported in large quantities. All these factors make building of a road network in Bangladesh very expensive.
- Bangladesh is located in the monsoon region. Due to the influence of monsoon weather, there are torrential rains in Bangladesh for about half of the year washing away road surfaces, particularly the shoulders and earth embankments of the road network.
Within the framework of the above challenges/constraints, the problems in the development of roads are:
- lack of availability of land
- local conflict in prioritizing roads for development
- conflict of interest of various groups
- shortage of skilled manpower at union level
- inadequate flow of funds
- overloaded trucks causing early damage to the pavement
- number of gaps in road network increasing road development costs
- non-availability of good quality construction materials, and
- frequent inundation by annual floods.
Sectoral/Sub-Sectoral Development Strategies and Policies for the SFYP
Components/Activities under Rural Infrastructure Development
The activities under rural infrastructure development and maintenance will include the following:
- Improvement of Upazila Road
- Improvement of Union Road
- Improvement of Village Road
- Construction of Bridges and Culverts on Upazila Road, Union Road & Village Road
- Development of Growth Centers and Rural Markets
- Tree Plantation on Slopes Roads
- Construction of Union Parishad Complex (UPC) and Upazila Complex
- Construction of Cyclone Shelters and Killas
- Routine Maintenance and periodic maintenance of Earthen Roads, Herring Bone Bond (HBB) Paved Roads and Structures.
Strategies of the Sub-Sector
The strategies for the development of the road system of LGED include finalization and adoption of a Road Master Plan, adoption of a maintenance plan and according higher priority to maintenance over new construction, exploring technological options to construct quality roads with available construction materials, introduction of measures to stop overloading, adoption of procedures to maximize generation of employment for the poor, ensuring quality of construction, more involvement of Local Government Institutions (LGI) and ensuring utilization and maintenance of constructed facilities.
Strategic Plan for Rural Infrastructure Development and Management
The Plan will include the following:
- The rural infrastructure development/improvement will be planned and implemented based on the findings of Effect/Benefit/Impact Studies carried out by LGED in respect of rural infrastructure development projects and the principles/elements as included in the National Strategy for Accelerated Poverty Reduction, October, 2005.
- Government approved Rural Road Master Plan will be followed for infrastructure development projects covering Upazila and Union roads including bridges/culverts, bridges/culverts on village roads and development of growth centers/markets, ghats and Union Parishad HQ etc.
- Rural road improvement which will contribute in a better way towards increasing agricultural production, promoting transport and trading activities, providing access to other socio-economic services and facilitating employment generation will be given priority.
- For sustainability of rural infrastructure, adequate maintenance system and a viable funding mechanism based on local resources and emphasizing local participation and ownership will be arranged.
- Since maintenance needs are increasing, the Government and the local bodies will make special efforts to fully fund these needs and LGED will make continuous efforts to improve maintenance efficiency and ensure local participation.
- The labor-based construction techniques for road improvement will be adopted to enhance employment opportunity, sustainability and affordability.
- There are competing needs for various types of rural infrastructure, such as, Upazila Roads, Union Roads, Markets, Ghat facilities etc. and even for roads alone, there is need for improvement maintenance and bridging gaps. At the spatial level, there are competing needs for different geographical regions. A guideline for investment prioritization and selectivity will be developed and calculation of economic rate of return will be adopted to guide the major investment decisions.
- The first priority will be to maintain all Upazila Roads, Union Roads and Village Roads which have so far been constructed under different projects implemented by LGED including bridges/culverts and upgrade growth centres having connection with railway and waterway in order to promote and integrate multimodal transport system.
- The second priority will be to improve/upgrade remaining Upazila Roads, Prioritized Union Roads and Village Roads-A including culverts/bridges which have strategic importance to connect railway and waterway.
- The third priority will be to improve Growth Centers and construction of ghat facilities at Growth Centers located on the bank of inland waterways to ensure better integration of road and water ways and thereby stimulating the rural transport and trading system. Also, construction of the Union Parishad Complex for local socio-economic and governance development will be included under this category of priority.
- The fourth priority will be to selectively add roads to the maintainable core road network through rehabilitation and reconstruction, including spot improvement of drainage and badly damaged road sections. Separate provisions will be made for reconstruction works required to keep lower quality roads open and serviceable.
Other Implementation Strategies
Other implementation strategies for development of rural infrastructure will include the following:
- Priority will be given to the creation of macro and micro-level interactions, i.e. through close interactions between the central and the local government institutions.
- Proper decentralization of design, implementation and management of rural infrastructure programs will be adopted to have far-reaching implications for cost effectiveness, maintenance and provision for sustainable infrastructure services.
- To maximize the impact of decentralization, the rural infrastructure programs will focus on provision of basic economic and social services in collaboration with different local agencies, NGOs and the private sector based on sharing of responsibilities through experience and best practice examples.
- To realize the above, the overall responsibilities of Union Parishad will be enhanced to make them focal point of development within the policy framework of the government.
- In order to ensure efficient planning, implementation and operation and maintenance of rural infrastructure, a community participation process will be adopted with involvement of the local government institutions, NGOs, beneficiary groups, user communities, and the private sector.
- The road inventory data will be further upgraded to fully utilize HDM & DSS software for better Road Asset Management (RAM).
- Procurement functions and process and quality assurance including technical audit will be enhanced.
- Environmental and social dimensions will be incorporated into the engineering design after assessing their impact properly and adequate mitigation and enhancement measures will be undertaken.
- Road Safety activities for Upazila and Union Roads will be undertaken and gradually expanded.
Master Plan for Agricultural Development in the Southern Delta of Bangladesh
Bangladesh is part of the largest deltaic floodplain in the world. It slopes gently from the north to the south, meeting the Bay of Bengal at the southern end. The coastal zone constitutes the major part of the southern delta, which is physiologically and ecologically diverse and environmentally most vulnerable. It includes important agriculture, fisheries, livestock, forest and wildlife resources. The delta lies within three hydrological regions – south central, south west and south east. These three hydrological regions illustrate i) tidal and salinity affects to a large portion of the coastal zone; ii) the rivers are subject to frequent tidal surges and coastal inundation; iii) the area is severely vulnerable to climate change including sea level rise leading to occasional devastations; iv) besides shorter cool winter period limits cultivation of many high value Rabi crops.
Due to the vulnerability of these areas to cyclones, storm surges and tidal inundation, salinity intrusion and water logging, the agricultural, livestock and aquaculture activities are at serious risk and need additional supports. Considering these challenges, climate change vulnerabilities and unexplored potentials of the region, the Government of Bangladesh has decided to prepare a comprehensive ten year master plan to provide a road map for an integrated development effort in Bangladesh’s coastal zone aiming at i) increased agricultural productivity and sustainable food security; ii) poverty reduction and iii) alternate livelihood development for the poor. The Master Plan will focus on emerging new potentials in the delta mainly i) technological breakthrough for increasing productivity- new varieties and breeds, plant and animal health systems and strengthening Farmers Field Schools etc; ii) harnessing seasonal and occasional quality surface water available for irrigation and iii) enhancement of agricultural productivity through increased cropping intensity, reducing post-harvest losses, modeling of climate events and options of crop diversification.
The Master Plan will unlock the potentials through interpretative analytical outputs, these includes the followings but not limited to these only: soil, land and water resource mapping & zoning; special mapping for land and water suitability to crops/cropping based on seasonal variability; area specific vulnerability assessment with suggested adaptation measures; alternative development options by sectors for boosting sustainable production; identification of investment opportunities; and linkage with the 6th Five Year Plan and the Country Investment Plan.
The process of preparation of the master plan is ongoing and the draft Master Plan is expected to be available by the end of 2011. The process of formulation is being monitored by an Inter-ministerial Committee headed by the Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture. The Government set local level technical committees to provide and validate information. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is facilitating the entire process through an interdisciplinary team of national experts with occasional backstopping from FAO technical divisions and International Rice Research Institute. In the preparation process, all relevant departments of the Government and other stakeholders’ participations including farmers, NGOs, civil society, knowledge institution, private sector and development partners are being ensured.
Development Resource Allocations for Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development
Agriculture is the largest private sector in Bangladesh. Much of the investment in production and for diversification will come from the private sector. In view of the large number of small holders, farm credit is critical for helping farmers make the right investments as well as for working capital. So a major policy emphasis of the Sixth Plan will be to increase and improve the distribution of farm credit. The focus of public investment will be to reduce the critical bottlenecks to farm production in terms of rural infrastructure (water, electricity and rural roads), to support the provision of critical farm services such as research and development and extension, and to reduce the impact of flood through flood control measures. The planned allocation of development resources for agriculture related activities in the Sixth Plan in current and constant prices is shown in Table 1.3 and Table 1.4.
|Ministry of Agriculture||1054||1563||2046||2606||3221|
|Ministry of Fisheries & Livestock||373||384||414||492||562|
|Ministry of Water Resources||1407||1649||1872||2202||2489|
|Rural Development & Co-operatives Division||469||471||534||629||715|
|Ministry of Agriculture||1054||1454||1779||2127||2481|
|Ministry of Fisheries & Livestock||373||357||360||402||433|
|Ministry of Water Resources||1407||1534||1627||1798||1917|
|Rural Development & Co-operatives Division||469||438||465||513||551|