Sunday, September 20, 2020 | ePaper

Boosting Agricultural Productivity

Modern scientific cultivation be introduced

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Md. Muzibur Rahman :
Bangladesh is an agrarian country and agriculture contributes major portion in our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. According to latest statistic, the contribution of agriculture sector is about 15 percent in our GDP. About 45 percent labor force is directly involved with this sector according to labor force survey-2013. Agricultural productivity will have to be prioritized along with industrial production because agriculture is the base of all raw materials of industrial production. Present Government has been taken various pragmatic steps and strategy for more production in agriculture sectors. All commercial banks have been directed to disburse agricultural loan at a reasonable portion according to the need of the farmer. Easier loan disbursement to the agriculture sector can ensure the more growth of the rural economy. If needed, reschedule loan facility can be arranged according to the reality and necessity.
Agriculture has its different wings like agriculture, agricultural engineering, livestock, dairy, animal husbandry, veterinary, fishery, forestry and agricultural economics etc. Every sector is contributing directly or indirectly to the economy. Government is trying to finance agriculture internally and externally to expedite agricultural productivity. Bangladesh is receiving assistance from World Bank (WB) in various agro-related fields. Late last year (in December), the Government of Bangladesh signed with the World Bank (WB) a $500 million financing agreement to livestock and dairy production as well as providing market access to 2 million household farmers, small & medium-scale agro-entrepreneurs. The credit is from the World Bank's International Development Associations (IDA), has a 30 year term, including a five year grace period and carries a service charge of 0.75 percent & an interest of 1.25 percent.
The livestock and dairy development project will help stimulate private sector investment and sustainable development of livestock value chains in Bangladesh. It will help to address the country's current shortages in eggs, dairy and meat production. The project will meet the additional demand of animal protein for the nation. Growth in livestock productivity and potentiality leads to growth in jobs for man and woman, youths, & other vulnerable groups in society. The project will help small-scale livestock farmers-half of whom are women-adopt improved agricultural technologies. It will support basic livestock infrastructure, including processing and marketing as well as value change development. Agro-related leather sector is another thrust sector of the economy. Every year during the time of Eid-Ul-Azha and other festivals, millions of cows, goats, sheep, buffallo are slaughtered for the cause of the ceremonies.
We get many skin, hide raw materials, other leather related inputs for finished products like shoes, bags and other household commodities. Bangladesh leather and leather goods have immense demands in different countries of the world. Bangladesh earns a huge share of foreign export's income from this sector. We can tap all types of opportunities from the leather sector. National & Multi-national companies (like Bata) are doing business in this sector. Many other small leather related industries/firms are doing business providing employment opportunities of the local people. It is now a potential and growth sector of our economy. Leather fashion and leather making strategies can help to tap local and global market share in this respect. Flowers, fruits and vegetables can be exported exponentially to support small farmers for getting reasonable price in the market and to boost agricultural growth. Our flowers, fruits and vegetables are in great demand in the global market. Forestry and agro-forestry can be geared up at a reasonable level.
Bangladeshi furniture, wood & wood goods have a large demand in foreign land. Timber, wood-made furniture, wood related other products have potentials for export earnings. Bangladesh is a good place for producing timber plants. If we are able to produce and export timber related products producing more timber plants in coordinated way, we will be able to earn more foreign income. Bangladesh has a great prospect for exporting biomedicine/traditional medicine/herbal medicine or plants medicine. Aurvedic (natural) medicines which are made from indigenous plants have a great potential demand in foreign market. Our agriculturist, biomedical experts & policy makers can give attention to research, produce and export such kind of Aurvedic (natural) medicines to the global markets.
Another potential sector is jute and jute goods. Jute is environment friendly fiber. There is a huge demand of jute-made products in the global markets. We should nurture this sector for our own interests. According to Awami League manifesto in the national election-2018, one of the key point was "Village will be the Town" i.e. expansion & decentralization of modern urban & civic amenities to the rural people. It will help to modernize agriculture too. Modern scientific cultivation, mechanized agriculture, scientific irrigation will be introduced & geared up with the pace of the urbanization. Rural-based infrastructure will be strengthened. Boosting agriculture and agricultural products like cropping, livestock, dairy, animal husbandry, veterinary, fishing and aquaculture can play a vital role in our agricultural economy and helps to attain GDP growth up to 8-10 percent yearly to reach the goals - a sustainable development, to be developing or developed nation in future.
(Md. Muzibur Rahman, freelancer, writes on development & economics issues; e-mail: muzibur64@gmail.com)

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