65pc haor people have no agricultural land

July 31, 2010

About 65% households in haor areas in the north-eastern region have no agricultural land, according a recent study.
Aggregating all kinds of land, about 71% households were found effectively landless of which about 55% were absolutely landless, about 17% households were of marginal category (between 51 and 200 decimals), and about 12% were of medium category (less than 200 decimal), the study says.
National Food Policy Capacity Strengthening Programme with the support of the European Union and USAID conducted the study titled ‘Food Security Strategies of the People Living in Haor Areas: Status and Prospects’.
The study reveals that the proportion of landless households (10% has no homestead land and 65% no agricultural land) was found significantly higher in the haor population than the corresponding national figure (5.3% landless and 55.2% owned 1-49 decimals) as reported by HIES-2005.
According to the study, the haor people are mostly illiterate with seasonal unemployment. The overall literacy rate in haor region is estimated at about 33%.
About 50% of the household heads were involved in farm-related activities and 7% were engaged in fishing.
The study says the status of women empowerment in terms of household decision-making was reasonably good in the haor areas. About 9% households were female headed, of which about 70 were poor. About 50% of the households had 4-6 members and the average family size was found at 5.39.
Regarding the leasing pattern of agricultural land, about 11% of the households reported that they gave out lands (either on lease, share or mortgage) and about 30% of the households took lands with the same arrangement.
About the housing condition and sanitation facilities including possession of assets it is found that most of the households lack the basic amenities for life and livelihood.
Nearly half of the houses were built with tin-shed roof and muddy-wall, about one-third with tin-shed roof and tin-wall and about 13% of the houses were made by straw-roof and muddy-wall. About 32%households had no toilet and 43% reported used some sort of hygienic latrines.The study says the sowing and harvesting periods of different crops in the haor region did not vary significantly from that of other region of the country. It was found out that all the clusters cultivated mainly boro paddy indicating the mono-crop cultivation nature of the area.
The findings indicates that about one half of the households produced paddy with an average income of Tk 60934 and only 10% produced crops other than paddy with an average income of Tk 2634.
Over two-fifths households earned from fishing with an average income of Tk.29326 and nine in ten earned from labour selling and non-farm activities within average income of Tk. 51567.
The study revealed that most of the households of the haor areas had to purchase rice for about six months in a year and nine in ten households reported to purchase rice during the month prior, which is commonly treated as the severe crisis period of the lean season.
The average annual household consumption expenditure on food and clothing were estimated at Tk 60860.62 and Tk 4127.09, respectively. Nearly half of the households were found to spend on agriculture with an average amount of Tk 18616.95 per year.
The average annual expenditure on other purposes that included mainly education, medical, house repairing was found at Tk 17024.16. In aggregate, annual average household consumption expenditure and investment expenditure were estimated at Tk 64941.01 and Tk 26025.56, respectively, the study said.
This finding may be due to the increasing price level of essential commodities, especially food items over the last three years. Further, the expenditure on food items accounted for 66.9% of the total expenditure.
This is higher than the national figure (58.63% for rural areas as reported by HIES 2005), indicating the miserable condition of the surveyed households in view of the fact that they were left with considerably small amount to spent for the purchase of items for life other than food.
The study showed that most of the households obtained food items through purchase in both the seasons. The percentage of households that purchased rice was found higher in the lean season (65.9%) than in the normal season (58.5%). Two-thirds of the households obtained vegetables through purchases in normal season and over three-quarters in the lean season.
Most of the households took three meals – breakfast, lunch and supper regularly in the normal season; however in the lean season, a very low proportion of households took lunch to minimize consumption and reserve for future use of food, the study mentioned.

Courtesy of UNB via The New Nation

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