Bumper rice production raises hope

Bangladesh along with the whole world is grappling with the galloping food price inflation. The global economic situation is so bleak that many were anticipating a famine in near future, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has recently been repeatedly asking for boosting agricultural production to avert the danger of possible food crisis. We also need to enhance agricultural production to tame the food price hike.

Luckily, Bangladesh has been witnessing bumper production of Aman paddy this year. It is indeed a piece of news of comfort amid this difficult time, and we hope it will stablise the rice market.

Credit goes to the farmers whose relentless effort made this happen. Scientific advancement in agricultural sector has also played significant role in boosting crop production in Bangladesh. Development of high-yielding and stress-tolerant varieties of rice, wheat and other crops helped formers to increase their crop production. Now research is underway for sequencing genomes of various crops. Use of genetically modified crops can help further increasing the yield.

But drastic loss of arable land, both because of the impact of climate change and urbanisation, is a major cause for concern. In order to address the existing conditions, we have to ensure optimum use of existing farm lands. As the premier said not a single inch of land should go unutilised. There is no alternative to enhancing food production in ever shrinking arable lands to feed the ever growing population.

Aside from introducing high-yielding crops and stress-tolerant rice varieties, there are some other techniques of boosting food production, such as practising multiple cropping and using integrated pest management systems. This requires enhancing skills and capacity of farming community for efficient use of farming techniques, technologies and improved varieties.

Lack of knowledge among the farmers about various innovative ways of farming is the main reason for its low adoption of innovative techniques in Bangladesh. Therefore, encouraging the farmers to adopt efficient methods and techniques for farming may help overcome the impact of climate change on agriculture. To that end, policymakers, agricultural experts and the department of agriculture extension should make concerted efforts.