Covid-19 pandemic has been created a global concern. Recently, PPRC-BIGD in their research mentions, over the year pandemic has created 2.45 crore people. Poor people cannot be an equivalent member of society due to lack of income, nutrient food, proper education, health care, employment, mutual respect, aspiration and inclusion. One particular agonize is the potential disastrous consequence for agriculture and food security in many parts of the world, especially in developing countries.
It is estimated that by 2050 the country's population will grow up to 200 million and 35% of the arable lands will be have disappeared. Sandbar cropping has given displaced peoples a way to transform barren landscapes into productive lands while transforming their lives and providing a chance of survival through economic efficiency. In this cultivation 60% women can participate and no pesticide is used.
Floating gardening is an ingenious solution that employs the use of water hyacinth -fishermen can cultivate crops and fish at the same time. It conserves nature. It provides vital food for people even during annual monga (period of food shortages). Crops to cultivate should be selected based on the situation of dyke, availability of sunlight, market price, soil type, farmer's financial condition, seed availability and consumers demand. Dyke cropping along with rice-fish culture is a highly standard integrated culture. It can take care of fish and vegetable together, increase participation of women in agriculture, prevent unhealthy environment.
Organic sack gardening is a simple, low-cost, technology for those who have limited or no space for safe vegetable production. It allows the underprivileged and people living in adverse ecosystems-char, coastal zone, water logged or basin area. In Bangladesh zinc deficiency is highly prevalent affecting 45% preschool children and 57% of non-pregnant, non-lactating women. Bio-fortified zinc-rice production and organic sweet potato production may be considered as good option to address nutritional sensitive development program in Bangladesh.
Cattle are living asset and source of continuous livelihood of farmer keepers in Bangladesh. Disasters can damage land through erosion, landslides, loss of nutrients etc. Rearing livestock in disaster prone areas needs considerable caution, hazard identification, prioritizing hazard risk reduction actions, preparedness and partnership among community.
Integrated floating cage aqua-geoponics system is a potential technology to minimize land use conflict between crop and fish production to produce nutrient rich foods. This climate-smart technology is to enhance fish and vegetable production in an integrated way to remove malnutrition in the rural households.
Bangladesh has a 710km long coastline supporting the livelihood of the millions of people through capture fisheries and coastal aquaculture. Over the years, mud crab emerged as a potential exportable aquaculture product and its farming as the main accumulation of the coastal communities in Bangladesh. In 2013-14, the total mud crab production was 899 MT while in 2016-17 it reached to 14,421 MT in the coastal districts of Bangladesh.
In general, jute is least expensive and most versatile textile fibers presenting a great contribution in the economy of Bangladesh. The conventional methods of jute extraction are labor intensive and requires large amount of water. ASHKOL, is an important technology, requires less amount of water, less time, improves fiber quality. It is user friendly, eco-friendly and creates entrepreneurship opportunities for marginal farmers.
To reduce income inequality due to non-farm activities, institutional arrangements need to be on board so that the poor and marginalized households get an access to education, health, credit and extension services. In the face of growing inequality among the rural households, efficient and target oriented public spending should be ensured to develop human capital of poor and marginalized households.
Economist Abul Barkat scientifically estimates that krishi khas land-12 lacs, non-agri char land-26 lacs and wetlans-12 lacs− in total 50 lacs acres in Bnagladesh. 88% of khas lands, char land, water bodies are encroached by land grabbers. Distribution system itself is a crisis towards marginal farmers. He also depicts a real account of balumohal, jolmohal, chingrimohal, pathormohal, estate of tea, prawn culture in south-west part and land laws. We have four fundamental resources - land (jomi), Forest (jongle), water (jol) and Human resources (jonomanus). Agriculturists Madan M Dey mention, the reformation of agriculture must begin with creating an agricultural system in which smallholding farmers will easily survive beside big farm holders. The technological efficiency of smallholding farmers is decreasing in Bangladesh and the disappearance of these farmers may not help build a decent society. The combined contribution of smallholding farmers is still greater than big farm holders in Bangladesh but their dominance is diminishing. Technological innovations available in Bangladesh did not suit the need of smallholding farmers in Bangladesh as they held small plots of land or a small pond or both.
If we utilize the fundamental resources - land, water bodies, forest and human resources through proper policy configuration and implementation, public participation and power decentralization and give back the fundamental rights to farmers, women, fishermen, indigenous peoples, and marginal peoples - the total production from land, water and forest will be high and the young agricultural entrepreneurs would be created.
Shishir Reza is an Environmental Analyst and Associate Member, Bangladesh Economic Association.
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