Dhaka, Bangladesh
A hope-inducing project in agriculture

A hope-inducing project in agriculture

A latest government plan to promote the
cultivation of new and high-value crops,
and bring fallow, char and Haor lands
under cultivation by taking region-
specific projects is highly promising.
According to media reports, the Department
of Agriculture Extension (DAE) under the
agriculture ministry has already taken a
project titled ‘Enhancing Crop Intensity
in Greater Mymensingh Region Project’
under the plan. The scheme, to be
implemented at a cost of Tk 123.66 crore
by June 2025, has targets to increase the
average crop intensity of this region to
210 percent through bringing the permanent
and seasonal fallow lands under
cultivation, increasing the cultivation
area for diversified crops to some 13 lakh
hectares in 60 upazilas of six districts
of the region. Moreover, it will be done
through modernising the cropping pattern
or sequence of crops cultivation in a land
(including high-value crops and ones that
require less irrigation), raising the
productivity to 82 percent by using
agricultural technology. Besides,
alongside food-grains, the cultivation of
vegetable, fruits and spices will also be
promoted in the six districts –
Mymensingh, Tangail, Kishoreganj,
Jamalpur, Netrakona and Sherpur--in the
region. There is also a target to ensure
women’s empowerment through engaging at
least 32 percent of women in various
income-generating activities under the
project.
Already, the Executive Committee of the
National Economic Council (Ecnec) has
approved the project, taken at a time when
the Prime Minister has time and again
emphasised efforts to increase food
production. One can recall here that
following the outbreak of the novel
coronavirus, she urged people not to leave
even an inch of land uncultivated to boost
food production. On September 25, the
Prime Minister even said that the
government is giving the highest
importance to food production as famines
may be seen in the world due to the Covid-
19 pandemic. This is, perhaps, why, during
its approval at the Ecnec meeting, she
reportedly highly appreciated the project
at hand. What is more heartening is that,
as the DAE Director-General has said, they
are taking separate crop- intensity
projects for different regions as the
nature of land differs from one region to
another. It indicates that the projects
are taken considering the environmental
perspectives of the region, leaving the
one-size-fits-all policy, something
unfortunately very common in the past when
it came to undertaking government projects
for different areas and thus usually
providing reasons for projects eventually
to fail wasting a huge sum of public
money.
Bangladesh not only lacks enough land for
cultivation but also sees its crop-fields
fall victim to unplanned use for other
purposes like housing, industries etc at
an increasing manner every year. On the
other hand, the size of its population
continues to rise although the rate
declined a bit in recent years. Overall,
the country has no option but to ensure
optimum use of its farmland on the one
hand and anyhow increase crop production
on the other in the years to come.
Hopefully, the project in question will
pave the way for a solution to the
problem. For this to happen, of course,
the project should be implemented in a
transparent and accountable way.

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