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Dhaka Tribune

Climate change to affect agricultural yield

Update : 07 May 2014, 07:22 PM

Steady increase in the number of drought-affected areas in the country over the last few decades due to changing pattern of global climate will lead to a decline in agro-production in near future affecting badly the people living on agricultural land, says a study.

The study has identified a total of 213 vulnerable upazilas that depend on agricultural land for production of Rabi, Kharif-1 and Kharif-2.

Many of them were not in the list of extreme drought-prone areas historically.

However, the production trend in the country’s agricultural sector is still high due to increasing trend of using high-yielding varieties though it cannot eventually cope with the rate the drought-affected areas are going up, said Malik Fida A Khan, the team leader of the study.

The study titled Vulnerability to Climate Induced Drought Scenario and Impacts was published in 2013 also said that seasonal crops like Boro are the most affected agro-based production in the country in terms of drought.

The study predicted farmers of Bagerhat, Dinajpur, Maulvibazar, Panchagarh, Rangpur, Sirajganj and Thakurgaon would face a 30% loss in the production of Brri Dhan -11 (Aman) by 2030.

Similarly farmers of Rajshahi, Khulna and Barisal divisions will have to count a big loss in the production of Boro.

The study conducted by Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme found that the country had experienced comparatively warmer winters and hotter summers in last few decades by analysing the 35 years data of Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD).

It shows that a rise in the minimum temperature by 0.45 degree Celsius and 0.52 degree Celsius is observed during the winter (December-January-February) and monsoon (June-July-August) seasons respectively.

Maximum temperature is also observed to have increased during the pre-monsoon (March-April-May) and post-monsoon (September-October-November) month by 0.87 degree Celsius and 0.42 degree Celsius respectively, it said.

Like the temperature, the study also found that pattern of rainfall has been changing as annual rainfall and dry-season rainfall have decreased.

A fall in the pre-monsoon rainfall has found from the data of 30 BMD stations out of the 32, the study also said adding that post-monsoon rainfall has increased.

Bangladesh experienced severe droughts in the years 1951, 1957, 1961, 1972, 1976, 1979, 1986, 1989 and 1997. Most of them primarily occurred in pre-monsoon and post-monsoon though in some extreme cases the pre-monsoon droughts had extended into the monsoon season due to delayed onset of the monsoon rains.

Meanwhile, meteorologists from BMD and AccuWeather expressed concern on April 27 that monsoon may remain different this year as the impact of expected upcoming El Niño would create extreme and prolonged drought this year across the region.

The report of said the persisting heat is a bit early but not unheard of during this time of year. The hottest weather in the subcontinent often occurs before the onset of frequent rains during monsoon. 

Like AccuWeather, an USA based weather forecasting services worldwide, Bangladesh Meteorological Department also expressed the same probability of prolonged drought this year in Bangladesh as an impact of El Niño.

“We assumed that the rainfall will be comparatively less in the upcoming monsoon,” said Shah Alam, director of the Met office yesterday on April 27.

The study suggested that the government should develop more drought tolerant rice and other varieties which could resist more heat, shock and drought to tackle the future threat as the areas prone to drought are increasing day by day.

In addition to drought resilient varieties, the country should develop climate resilient cropping pattern suited to different regions, said Dr Asaduzzaman, professional fellow of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) adding that the varieties which would take less time and less water to cultivate also should be introduced to maintain the current trend of agricultural production in the country.

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