Agricultural Productivity relationship between outputs and inputs in the production of agricultural commodities. It depends upon a large number of factors including the geographical features of a given territory, climatic conditions, water control, production technology, education and skill level of farmers, transportation and other infrastructure elements, extension and input supply systems, research and dissemination of its findings, and the like. The agriculture sector in
Bangladesh accounts for about one-third of the GDP and two-thirds of the labour force. The sector has not been able to achieve a satisfactory level of productivity mainly because of the age-old traditional farming system in a fragmented land ownership structure and the inability of the marginal, small, and even medium scale landowners to introduce modern technology for want of capital and managerial ability. Inadequate supply of quality seeds,
fertilisers, pesticides, and similar other inputs, as well as lack of proper irrigation facilities, and extension services, added with natural calamities like flood, draught, salinity, etc also substantially affect agricultural productivity in the country.
Considering the topography, land use pattern, soil characteristics, climatic conditions, and crop diversification, the country has been divided into 30 agroecological zones, having differences in agricultural productivity. One way of measuring agricultural productivity in Bangladesh is to first classify agricultural products into different groups and then analyze productivity of each of them. Agricultural products of Bangladesh may be classified as crops, fruits, livestock, forestry, and fishery products, and the crops as cereal, pulse, oilseed, fibre, narcotic, beverage, sugar, root and tuber, condiments and spices, and vegetable sub-groups. It is the most important cereal crop of the country and accounts for about 93 percent of all crops of the subgroup. Rice is cultivated in about 10 million ha, which is about 75 percent of the country's total cropped area. Between 1986-87 and 1996-97 the production of local and HYV varieties of rice increased by only about 4 and 5 percent, respectively. But productivity in terms of growth of output as compared to increased use rate of inputs remained almost stagnant, largely because of depletion of soil fertility under increased crop intensity, and unbalanced use of
fertilisers and other chemical nutrients. Productivity of wheat, maize, barley, jowar, bajra, cheena and other cereals demonstrated a declining trend in the above reference decade. Acreage and production of pulses had grown by about 97 and 120 percent respectively in the two decades between 1978 and 1998 but the productivity declined gradually due to non-availability of high input responsive technology, and of high yielding varieties, and poor extension services. Productivity of oilseed cultivation increased in the country by about 9 percent between 1976-77 and 1996-97, although the growth fell much short of the rate of growth of the demand for seed oil during the period.
There has been a systematic decline in the rate of growth of acreage, production and productivity of the principal fibre crop jute. Although productivity in cotton culture had also declined in the period, the acreage under cotton and its total production had increased remarkably. During the same reference period the productivity of narcotic, beverage, root and tuber crops, and condiments and spices crops had increased in Bangladesh by about 13 to 15 percent, while that of sugar remained stagnated and that of vegetable crops and fruits had declined. Production of livestock and poultry (egg, meat and milk) had increased in absolute volume due to the fast development of poultry and dairy farms in 1980-2000. Annual production of fish had also increased substantially in this period. Increase in productivity of fish culture, livestock and poultry, although not very significant, was achieved as a result of the positive response of the private sector to government, NGO, and donor initiatives to develop
organised farming to supplant and replace traditional practices.
Of all the different groups of agricultural products, forestry is the one that had shown a decline in both absolute volume of production and productivity. Between 1976-77 and 1996-97 the forestland in the country had declined from 2.40 million ha to 2.15 million ha, and timber production declined by about 40 percent. The decline is caused by excessive and unplanned extraction, encroachment, cleaning of forests for agriculture, and lack of proper care and management practices. The overall situation of agricultural productivity during the reference period was not very satisfactory, although the government had undertaken a large number of programmes on its own in addition to the donor supported programmes to improve it. Such programmes include increased supply of improved seeds,
fertilisers, pesticides, and irrigation facilities, research on farming practices and farm management, improved extension services and block demonstrations on system based target yields. There are however, many systemic and institutional weaknesses that keep the efficiency in delivery of these services at a low level. [Md. Hazrat Ali]