Bangladesh betters farm output after 1971: Study

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Bangladesh betters farm output after 1971: Study
Star Business Report

Bangladesh fared better than Pakistan in accelerating agricultural growth rate after its liberation in 1971, said a study yesterday.

Expansion of cultivation of boro rice, increased use of high yielding seeds and irrigation helped Bangladesh attain faster growth in agriculture, said Takashi Kurosaki, researcher of the study.

The country performed well in commercialisation of its farm sector compared with India and Pakistan after its Independence, said Kurosaki, professor of Institute of Economic Research of Hitotsubashi University, Japan, while sharing the findings of his study.

He was speaking at a seminar on ‘Long-term agricultural growth in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh’ at Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS). BIDS Director General Mustafa K Mujeri chaired the programme.

Kurosaki said institutional and policy changes have significant impact on agricultural growth. “Bangladesh has been a top performer among the three countries in 1990s.”

He conducted the research on these three countries based on data from the year 1901-02 to 2000-01.

The researcher compared performance of agriculture sector of the three countries in two broad categories — under British colonial rule and after partition in 1947.

According to the findings, all three countries performed better in areas of output growth, land and labour productivity after the partition.

Kurosaki said the potential of Bangladesh’s food production remained unexplored before its independence in absence of the use of modern seeds and technology and irrigation facility.

According to the study, Bangladesh’s agricultural growth rates in terms of output, land and labour productivity accelerated at a faster pace after 1971.

Terming the achievement significant, he said Bangladesh should go for high value crops.

Mujeri said the pace of the farm sector should be maintained to ensure food security. “Not only rice, demand for other foods, vegetables, fish and meat will grow with the rise in people’s income,” he said.

The economist said attention should be paid to the growth of non-farm sector to cut poverty. “Major contribution will have to come from the manufacturing sector,” he said.

According to the study, agricultural growth rate was higher in Pakistan followed by India and Bangladesh after 1947.

Pakistan’s output grew 3.46 percent per year between 1947 and 2001, which was 2.28 percent for India and 1.73 percent for Bangladesh.

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