New The State of Food & Agriculture 2002

The economy of Bangladesh is primarily dependent on agriculture. About 84 percent of the total population live in rural areas and are directly or indirectly engaged in a wide range of agricultural activities. The agriculture sector plays a very important role in the economy of the country accounting for 31.6 percent of total GDP in 1997-98 at constant (1984-85) prices. The agriculture sector comprises crops, forests, fisheries and livestock. Of the agricultural GDP, the crop sub-sector contributes 71 per cent, forest 10 per cent, fisheries 10 percent and livestock 9 per cent. The sector generates 63.2 percent of total national employment, of which crop sectors share is nearly 55 %. Agricultural exports of primary products constituted 10.4% of total exports of the country in 1997-98. In the past decade, the agriculture sector contributed about three percent per annum to the annual economic growth rate.

The agriculture sector is the single largest contributor to income and employment generation and a vital element in the country’s challenge to achieve self-sufficiency in food production, reduce rural poverty and foster sustainable economic development. The Government has therefore accorded highest priority to this sector to enable the country to meet these challenges and to make this sector commercially profitable.

 Map of the Bangladesh Showing
Suitable Regions for Agriculture

     - Little Harvested      - Middle Harvested     -  Harvested

Basic Statistics on Bangladesh Agriculture
1. Area of Bangladesh
2. Total population (January 1999) 128.1 million
3. GDP (1998-99) 755.73 billion Tk.
4. GDP Growth rate (1998-99) 5.2%
5. Agricultural Growth rate (1998-99) 5.0%
6. No. of Rural Household 17.83 million
7. No. of non-Farm Household 6.03 million
8. No. of Farm Household 11.80 million
9. No. of Agril. Labour Household 6.40 million
10. Small Household 80% (9.42 million)
11. Medium Household 17.50% (2.08) million)
12. Large Household 2.50% (0.3 million)
13. Cultivated Area 17.77 million acres
14. Cultivated Area per Household 1.5 acres
15. Cropping Intensity (1996-97) 174%
16. Irrigation Area 8.59 million acres
Source : Statistical Year Book of Bangladesh, 98, BBS.

Opportunities and Constraints of Agriculture in Bangladesh

The opportunities and constraints prevailing in the agricultural sector of Bangladesh are as follows :

Opportunities of Agriculture in Bangladesh:

  • Agricultural sector is the single largest contributor to GDP.

  • Crop production system is highly labour intensive and there is an abundance of labour in the country.

  • Agriculture is the largest source of employment for skilled and unskilled labour.

  • Favorable natural environment generally exists throughout the year for crop production.

  • Wide range of bio-diversity exists for different crops.

  • Different crops and agricultural commodities are the main sources of nutrition including protein, minerals and vitamins.

  • Agricultural commodities have comparatively higher value addition than non-agricultural commodities.

Constraints of Agriculture in Bangladesh:

  • Agriculture is dependent on the vagaries of nature and is risky.

  • Availability of cultivable land is decreasing.

  • Widespread poverty among the population engaged in agriculture.

  • Lack of required capital for agricultural activities.

  • Inadequacy of appropriate technology considering farmers soci-economic conditions.

  • Uncertainty of fair price of agricultural commodities due to underdeveloped marketing system.

  • Agricultural commodities are rapidly perishable and post harvest losses are too high.

  • Limited knowledge of common people about the nutritional value of agricultural commodities including vegetables and fruits.

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