The government has understood that the solution lies in switching to solar
It is well known that solar power is environmentally friendly, and could go a long way towards reducing carbon emissions, but that is only part of what makes it an attractive option for Bangladesh.
The simple fact is, solar power saves money, and it is our agricultural sector -- the foundation of our economy -- which stands to benefit greatly from a comprehensive move to solar.
Right now, our farmers are using diesel-run irrigation pumps for their cropland; all in all, to irrigate 3.4 million hectares of cropland, farmers have to burn a staggering 1 million tons of diesel annually.
This means 1.34 million diesel pumps are being powered, costing the country an enormous $1.2 billion in fuel imports, not to mention the subsidies that have to be provided towards the diesel cost.
Of course, the cost is only part of the story -- diesel usage takes a heavy toll on the environment, as it leads to groundwater depletion, soil and groundwater contamination from spillages, and pollutes the air.
The government has understood that the solution lies in switching to solar, and should be commended for drawing out a 15-year roadmap for a move towards solar photovoltaic pump systems.
This is indeed the road to sustainable agriculture.
It must be understood by all sectors that saving money and protecting the environment need not be at odds; in fact, they go hand in hand.
Climate change is the most urgent global crisis of our times, and Bangladesh is particularly vulnerable to its adverse effects -- and by moving towards clean and efficient sources of energy like solar, we not only put more money in farmers’ pockets, we do the right thing for our environment.