BANGLADESH with some
68,000 villages is primarily an agricultural country.Despite recurring
floods and other natural calamities, the strongest features of its
agriculture are the fertile soil and an abundance of water and sunshine, It
ranks third among the major rice-producing countries of
the world The varieties of rice grown range from the coarsest to the finest.
Bangladesh is the world's largest producer of jute, known as the golden
fibre. It almost monopolises production of the finer varieties. The main
jute cultivation areas are the valleys of the Brahmaputra and the Meghna.
Largest acreage lies in the districts of Mymensingh, Tangail,
Dacca, Faridpur, Comilla, Rangpur , Pabna, Jessore and Bogra. About 5 m
farmer families cultivatejute and 130,000 people are engaged in the jute
Tea is grown abundantly
along the lower slopes of the hills in Sylliet and Chittagong districts.
There are 151 tea gardens in the country producing about 82m pounds of tea a
year. Itís subtropical climate with heat and moisture and well-drained light
son are ideal for tea plantation.
Tobacco is another of
its cash crops. The country is now self -sufficient in the supply of
Virginia tobacco for its cigarette factories. The northern areas produce a
special variety of tobacco which is very good for cigars.
A large quantity of
pulses, sugarcane, various seasonal fruits and vegetables are also grown in
the country. The economy of Bangladesh is predominantly agro-based
Agriculture alone provides 57 percent of the national income, giving
employment and sustenance to about 85 percent of the population. Real
development of the country therefore presupposes
development of its
agriculture. Being conscious of this situation, the government has given
highest priority to this sector as a national development strategy.
An amount of Tk 1,635m
was earmarked for the sector under the Annual Development Programme (ADP) of
1976- 77. This was raised to Tk 1,681.5m
for 1977- 78. An
allocation ofTk4,250m for the sector has been made under the Two-Year Plan
(197S-80) envisaging an annual growth rate of 4.1 percent.
The agriculture sector
is designed to maximise production especially to achieve self-sufficiency in
food For this all arrangements are being made for increased and timely
supply of credits and essential inputs such as fertilizers, irrigation
water, pesticides and high - yielding varieties of seeds. Credit facilities
are being constantly expanded and made easier to ensure productive ventures.
In addition to the credit facilities offered by the agricultural and
coopemtive banks and rural development bodies, a sepemte credit fund of Tk
1,OOOm was floated in 1977 to cater to the needs of small farmers. A small
loans scheme has also been launched for all commercial banks in the country
to disburse upto 2 percent of their total demand and time deposits to
cottage industries, retail trade and rural electrification and to persons
engaged in self-employed non-farm occupations. A crop insurance scheme was
introduced in July 1977 as a pilot project to protect farmers against crop
losses from natural disaster, plant diseases and pest attacks. The actual
disbursement of agricultural credit rose from Tk 342m in 1973- 74 to Tk 886m
iri 1976- 77.
Production, import and
distribution of agricultural inputs have been expedited and steps have been
taken to ensure their proper utilisation. During 1976 and 1977, over 8,000
tons of seeds of paddy, wheat potato and mustard and 11,131 Ibs of vegetable
seeds were distributed Distribution of fertilizers went up from 280,000 tons
in 1974-75 to about 600,000 tons in 1977- 78. Fertilizer prices are heavily
During 1975-76, an area
of 236,000 acres was covered by flood protection and drainage facilities
while 350,000 acres came under irrigation facilities. During 1976- 77, a
total of 585,386 acres was fully covered by flood protection and drainage
facilities while irrigation facilities were extended to another 35,595
acres. In 1977 the total area protected from flood and drainage congestion
stood at 4.1m acres.
During 1976- 77, 167
miles of embankment 86 miles of irrigation canal, 136 miles of drainage
canal, 144 hydraulic structures, 44 drainage sluices, 92 flushing gates, 219
bridges; 44 closures and 38 .surface sluices were constructed under flood
control and irrigation schemes. The Food for Work programme was intensified
to construct additional 1,424 miles of embankment and 1,073 miles of canal.
production of most of the major crops has been on fue increase as shown in
the table below.
Food crops Jute
( million tons) ( million bales )
1974-75 12.3 3.48
1975-76 12.7 3.94
1976- 77 12.8 4.81
1977- 78 13.1 5.43
activities of the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) have been
greatly strengthened It has already developed high-yielding, disease-
resistant and quality rice varieties which are being grown extensively in