Bangladesh needs three-fold increase of food grain production

May 2, 2009

Bangladesh needs three-fold increase of food grain production
Abdur Rahman Khan
Bangladesh has got the lowest productivity among the world’s rice producing countries. She can produce a maximum of 0.7 metric tons of paddy (not rice) per acre, against the global average of two tons per acre.
In this situation, there is no other alternative but to increase the yield of food grain to ensure food security for the nation, says Dr Abdul Khaleque, an agricultural scientists.
He stressed that the right quality of seed, natural nourishment and proper care of the soil can ensure higher yield of food crops in Bangladesh that depends mainly on natural system to grow paddy, the staple food grain of the country.
Farmers don’t get Govt’s announced price
Dr Khaleque who has been well-known for his innovation of “swarna”, a patent bio-fertilizer, is opposed to the use of genetically modified (GM) seeds and indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizer which in the long run were contributing to a retarded growth.
Actually, Bangladesh needs to fix its target for food production and plan its food security in the light of a real statistics, which is lacking at this moment.
Referring to the government’s policy of rice procurement, Dr Khaeque said that the announced price for procurement of paddy and rice appears to be all right in terms of the estimated production cost. However, he is skeptical that the actual cost of production is never calculated on the field and the farmers do not get the Government’s announced price. There are always the dishonest government officials and the middlemen who derive the benefit whatever the government announce for the farmers.
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has calculated that a person requires 250 grams of rice a day to sustain his life in a tropical country. However, Bangladesh has accepted an average requirement of 220 grams per person per day. In spite of a lower consumption estimate per person, Bangladesh requires to import three to five million metric tons of rice every year to secure the food requirement.
It would not have to play a hide and seek with food import if the calculation was made on the basis of real statistics, said Dr Khaleque adding that the planners then could have made the exact target for production and have taken proper planning to reach the target.
They need greater attention
It needs no explanation that the nation should take proper care of the farmers and the farmland to get increased yield. Dr Khaleque stressed that the farmers should be ensured with incentive package like availability of easy loan, right kind of seed, and solid nutrient at the right rime. The scientific knowledge and technical equipment should be made available at the farmers level to help increase food production in the country, he stresses.
Being a tropical country, Bangladesh get sufficient rain and flood giving natural replenishment to our soil . The sunlight is sufficient to grow but still it needs strong technical intervention in time of draught and increase the biological value of the soil which is degrading due to indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizer.
Dr Khaleque explains that the amount of microorganism has declined to 1.5 to 2 million per gram of soil. But it is ideal to have 7 to 8 million microorganism to produce nutrient for the plants from atmospheric nitrogen. The use of nitrogen fertilizer like Urea is depleting the microorganism content in the soil and creating more nitrogen deficiency, Dr Khaleque says adding that it creates more demand for artificial nitrogen imputes.
Highlighting the benefit of bio-fertilizer “Swarna”, Dr Khaleque said it has got the right content of acidity that keeps the soil soft allowing easy flow of atmospheric air with natural nitrogen content. The plant absorbs natural nitrogen to produce its nutrient.
Swarna also increases the biological value of the soil by increasing the microbial content, Dr khaleque says. Swarna is now getting increased demand from the farmers already benefited by its use. Overseas entrepreneurs are also showing interest for setting up plants for commercial production of swarna in some agro-based countries. However, it is a misfortune for the farmers that certain quarters in the government and the agricultural extension department are creating obstruction in the way of its full utilization in the country where Swarna was developed by scientist of this soil.

Courtesy of Weekly Holiday

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