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Climate change is an absolute threat for food security In Bangladesh

  • Published at 07:52 am November 9th, 2021
Source: Pixabay

While Climate change is a global issue, the negative and unfavourable outcomes of climate change pose a great risk to Agri and food industries of any given country. Climate change and agriculture are intertwined in a way that is critical for food security (Amir &Ahmed, 2013). Bangladesh is already battling the threats of climate change. The serious risks posed by these threats on the agriculture sector are disruptive to the health and economy of the country.

Approximately 4,000 square kilometres of land in the north-eastern part of the country and 1400 square kilometres in the southeastern part of the country face unpredictable floods (UNB, 2021). In the north of the country, many times these flash flood events have caused loss of thousands of acres of boro paddy right before the harvesting season. 

On the other hand, seasonal drought (March-April) creates unsuitable conditions for Aman paddy, Aush paddy and jute production. Drought creates a water crisis. Farmers most of the time need deep irrigation, but deep and artificial irrigation is costly. As a result, crop growth diminishes and overall production becomes lower in amount. 

In the coastal region flash flood and salinity intrusion impact is huge. In 1973 about 1.5 million hectares of land was attacked by salinity which increased to 2.5 million hectares in 1997. This large salinity intrusion resulted in huge crop loss in those areas and also is a threat to our food sector. Moreover, Cyclone Sidr created a significant impact on the production of different crops. Production of rice (7.5%), chili (11.66%) and vegetables (10%) was reduced due to saline water intrusion into the crop field after Sidr.  

Salinity in the water of the coastal areas is increasing, making irrigation a problem. More salinity means less yield in crops as salinity impacts soil fertility. Less crop is undoubtedly a threat to food and agriculture. This year farmers of Dighinala Upazila of Khagrachari district found that rice has started to become mouldy and the overall production also got affected because of climate change and less precipitation. Farmers of Merung Upazila also experienced a decrease in the production of ginger, turmeric, pumpkin, maze, flaxseed and banana. 

Not every time climatic hazard affects food and agriculture directly. Scarcity of favourable harvesting seasons and environment because of climate change is a great threat to agricultural production and food. 

This year in April, approximately 40,000 hectares of Boro rice field has been destroyed because of a cyclone followed by heatwaves dampening the hopes of boro farmers in Kishoreganj, Netrakona, Mymensingh, Sunamgnaj, Moulvibazar, Barishal and Patuakhali. Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) estimated that approximately 47,000 hectares of Boro paddy had been affected on this course (Zahid & Islam, 2021). 

Every year, a huge number of paddy fields, wheat fields and other crops get destroyed when a flood, cyclones and nor-wester hits the country. Keeping pace with food production with continuous population growth while battling climate change has been difficult. Moreover, it is mostly the small scale farmers in the country who are at the core of the food security challenge in Bangladesh. 

To fight against this challenge, we need to find effective solutions for climate change impact on food security. Revising Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) to incorporate scientific, evidence-based, and need-based strategies into the system, can be the way forward to strategically build resilience against food security challenges.

Most. Mastura Munia Farjana is working at ICCCAD ( International Centre for Climate Change & Development) organization as an associate of Youth Climate Lab (Bay of Bengal Region). Her research interest lies in climate and environment. She can be reached at: [email protected] 

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