Bangladesh’s agricultural productivity growth has been among the highest in the world
Climate change and sea-level rise pose a serious threat to Bangladesh’s impressive growth in agricultural productivity.
To address the impacts of climate change on agriculture, and to prioritize investments to improve productivity, resilience and mitigation in the agriculture sector, the government of Bangladesh and the World Bank launched the “Climate Smart Agriculture Investment Plan” (CSAIP) on Wednesday, a press release said.
During the last 25 years, Bangladesh’s agricultural productivity growth has been among the highest in the world and supported around 87% of the country’s rural households.
However, rising temperatures will affect the yield of Aman and Boro rice, the country’s two major staple crops. High water stress can lead to rice yield losses as high as 70%.
Furthermore, soil salinity has affected 62% of coastal land, and sea level rise may reduce available cropland by about one-fourth in coastal divisions, the press release added.
"Globally, Bangladesh is known for its success in attaining self-sufficiency in rice production through improving agriculture productivity, which enabled the country to feed its large population despite limited arable land,” said Minister of Agriculture Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque.
“Bangladesh is also diversifying its agricultural production with abundant availability of vegetables and other horticulture products, while the focus is increasingly on safe and quality agri-produce, processing and market development, and mechanization and commercialization of agriculture so that it can more effectively enhance food security, farmers’ profitability, employment, and poverty reduction in Bangladesh,” he added.
“Evidence based climate smart investments and implementation of the Delta Plan 2,100 would help Bangladesh overcome climate change risks for a more productive and climate resilient agriculture sector,” he said.
Climate-Smart Agriculture can help Bangladesh maintain rice self-sufficiency and increase non-rice crop, livestock and fish production.
The investment plan identifies five key investment areas, totaling about $809 million, to set the agriculture sector on a resilient growth path, contribute towards achieving the government’s 2041 development targets, reduce emissions, and reach the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) regarding climate change and the Delta Plan goals.
“Being among the countries which are most vulnerable to climate change, Bangladesh must take urgent actions to build on its impressive track record in the agriculture sector,” Dandan Chen, World Bank acting country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan, said.
“We are encouraged to see that the government considers climate-smart agriculture a strategic priority investment in response to the changing climate. The Livestock and Dairy Development Project (LDDP) is a testament to the government’s vision of a climate resilient growth path, which will help the country meet the demand for essential items such as eggs, meat and milk,” she added.
The $500 million Livestock and Dairy Development Project, which was also launched on Wednesday, will help improve livestock and dairy production as well as ensure better market access of two million household farmers and small and medium-scale entrepreneurs.
It will also help stimulate private sector investment and the development of livestock value chains in the country.
“Rural households’ livestock assets are highly exposed to climate change risks, including natural disasters and major disease outbreaks. Bangladesh has taken steps to reduce the vulnerability of smallholder farmers and improve livestock productivity,” said Md Ashraf Ali Khan Khasru, minister for Fisheries and Livestock.
“The project will help substantially and sustainably increase livestock production to feed the growing population,” he added.
The CSAIP is important for the implementation of major existing policies and policy formulation processes, and includes the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100; it builds on the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) regarding climate change and Bangladesh’s seventh five-year plan.
During the same time, the LDDP was developed to address the most pressing and emerging issues in the sector, including value chain development with private sector investments, food safety, environmental pollution, and climate change.
The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh after its independence. Bangladesh currently has the largest IDA program, totaling over $12 billion.
Since its independence, the World Bank has committed more than $30 billion in grants, interest-free, and concessional credits to the country.