Focus on agriculture must to reduce poverty
Thursday, 22 May 2008

Bangladesh is primarily an agrarian economy. Agriculture is the single largest producing sector of economy since it comprises about 30% of the country’s GDP and employing around 60% of the total labour force. According to the report, GDP growth originating in agriculture is about four times more effective in reducing poverty than GDP growth originating in other sectors. The performance of this sector has an overwhelming impact on major macro-economic objectives like employment generation, poverty alleviation, human resources development and food security. The World Bank’s call for greater investment in agriculture in developing countries is well-timed and it was rightly said that the sector should get extra priority if goals of halving extreme poverty and hunger by 2015 are to be realized. In its latest World Development Report on ‘Agriculture for Development’, the bank said the agricultural and rural sectors had suffered from neglect and under-investment over the past 20 years. While 75 per cent of the world’s poor live in rural areas, a mere 4 per cent of official development assistance goes to agriculture in developing countries. Meeting the nation’s food requirements remain the key-objective of the government and in recent years there has been substantial increase in grain production. However, due to calamities like flood, loss of food and cash crops is a recurring phenomenon, which disrupts the continuing progress of the entire economy.But then, agricultural growth has been under some strain for a good part of the 1990s. The question of improving and sustaining agricultural growth raises a number of issues; concerning agronomic constraints, farm-level incentives, production technologies, comparative advantage and market supply-demand balances. There must be a strategy that can deal with new challenges and opportunities to make agriculture more flexible, diversified and efficient. Price incentives do also matter in farmer’s decision-making and labor-intensive irrigation technology.

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