Climate change threatens Bangladesh’s impressive agri growth

Dhaka, Dec 11 – Climate change and sea-level rise pose a serious threat to Bangladesh’s impressive growth in agricultural productivity. Bangladesh and the World Bank (WB) launched the Climate Smart Agriculture Investment Plan (CSAIP) to address impacts of climate change on agriculture as well as to prioritize investments to improve productivity, resilience and mitigation in the agriculture sector at the city’s Krishibid Institution in presence of Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque yesterday.
Among others, Minister for Fisheries and Livestock Md. Ashraf Ali Khan Khasru, Fisheries and Livestock ministry secretary Raisul Alam Mondal, Acting Country Director of WB for Bangladesh and Bhutan Dandan Chen and joint secretary (blue economy) Taufiq Arif also spoke on the occasion.
“During the last 25 years, Bangladesh’s agricultural productivity growth has been among the highest in the world and supported around 87 percent of the country’ rural household.
But, rising temperatures will affect the yield of Aman and Boro rice, the country’s two major staple crops,” Abdur Razzaque said.
He said high water stress can lead to rice yield losses as high as 70 per cent. Further, soil salinity has affected 62 percent of coastal land and sea-level rise may reduce available cropland by about one-fourth in Coastal Divisions, he added.
“Globally, Bangladesh is known for its success in attaining self-sufficiency in rice through improving agriculture productivity, which enabled the country to feed its large population despite limited arable land. Bangladesh is also diversifying its agricultural production with abundance availability of vegetables and other horticulture products, while the focus is increasingly on safe and quality agri-produce, processing and market development, mechanization and commercialization of agriculture so that it can more effectively enhance food security, farmers’ profitability, employment, and poverty reduction in Bangladesh,” said Dr Razzaque.
According to the agriculture minister, “Evidence-based Climate-Smart Investments and implementation of the Delta Plan 2100 would help Bangladesh overcome climate change risks for a more productive and climate-resilient agriculture sector.”
Climate-Smart Agriculture can help Bangladesh maintain rice self-sufficiency and increase non-rice crop, livestock and fish production, he added.
Razzaque further said the Investment Plan identifies five key investment areas totalling about $809 million to set the agriculture sector on a resilient growth path; contribute towards achieving the government’s 2041 development targets; reduce emissions, and reach the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) regarding climate change and the Delta Plan goals.
“Rural households’ livestock assets are highly exposed to climate change risks, including natural disasters and major disease outbreaks. Bangladesh has taken steps to reduce the vulnerability of smallholder farmers and improve livestock productivity,” said Md. Ashraf Ali Khan Khasru.
He further said the project will help substantially and sustainably increase livestock production to feed the growing population.
The $500 million Livestock and Dairy Development Project, which was also launched yesterday, which will help improve livestock and dairy products as well as ensure better market access of 2 million household farmers and small and medium-scale entrepreneurs, the livestock and fisheries minister said.
He also said it will also help stimulate private sector investment and the development of livestock value chains in the country.
“Being among the most vulnerable countries to climate change, Bangladesh must take urgent actions to build on its impressive track record in the agriculture sector,” said Dandan Chen.
According to WB country director, “We are encouraged to see that the government considers climate-smart agriculture a strategic priority investment in response to changing the climate. The Livestock and Dairy Development Project is a testament to the government’s vision of a climate-resilient growth path, which will help the country meet the demand for essential nutrients such as egg, meat and milk.”
The CSAIP was developed to inform the implementation of major existing policies and policy formulation processes and includes the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100; it builds on the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) regarding climate change and Bangladesh’s seventh five-year plan.
During the same time, the LDDP was developed to address the most pressing and emerging issues in the sector, including value chain development with private sector investments, food safety, environmental pollution and climate change.
The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence.
Bangladesh currently has the largest IDA program totalling over $12 billion. Since independence, the World Bank has committed more than $30 billion in grants, interest-free, and concessional credits to the country. Staff Reporter