March 12, 2020
One of the main concerns of Bangladesh, home to 170 million people, is to strengthen food security for its people. The percentage of the country’s total arable land has been decreasing since 1989. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s report, the country had 73 per cent arable land in 1989, which decreased to 59 per cent in 2012.
According to the Global Food Security Index, Bangladesh was ranked 83rd in 2019, the lowest among the South Asian countries. To improve the country’s position in terms of securing access to food, the government of Bangladesh has developed high-level policy initiatives, such as Vision 2021 and Perspective Plan. Such top-down tools and initiatives can only achieve their projected targets if the complex characteristics of the country’s diverse deltaic ecosystem is understood thoroughly, while acknowledging the value of ecosystem services.
TRENDS AND CHANGES IN AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES
Farming in and around Dhaka
The main driving forces for farmers in cities to become engaged in urban agriculture are food security and income generation. The urban agricultural markets are developing in response to growing demands inside the city; the demand for fruits and vegetables is increasing, which has led to the development of small farms in the city’s periphery.
A similar trend is observed in response to livestock and poultry demands inside the city. A study conducted by UNDP 1996 estimated the economic benefits of urban agriculture producers and found out that Dhaka’s urban food producers are earning $500 per person monthly from urban food production, which was much higher than the poverty line. Therefore, the expansion of urban agriculture could pull a significant portion of the urban poor out of poverty.
Agricultural land per capita has decreased by 50 per cent in the last 25 years.
They come to Dhaka and as there is no farmland in the city, they change their profession to rickshaw pullers and day labourers, small business owners, etc.
URBAN FARMING FUTURE: RECOMMENDATIONS
Curtin University of Australia, Dhaka University’s Meteorology Department and Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) conducted a research and found out that the average temperature of Dhaka remains at about 2 degrees Celsius higher than that of the rural areas in summer and monsoon seasons. Only 2.7 per cent of the total area in Dhaka is now protected as a green area.
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