HYV Rice and non-cereal crops
Over the past two decades the principal sources of growth came predominantly from boro rice, followed by aman (wet season) rice and, to a small extent, wheat. The success in accelerating rice production in the 1980s can be attributed almost entirely to the conversion of local varieties to modern HYVs and, as a result of changes in the policy environment, the adoption of irrigation and fertilizer technologies, which has enabled intensive use of the boro months.

As a result of the heavy emphasis on rice production, yields of other non-cereal crops such as pulses, potatoes, oilseeds and vegetables have stagnated. Land used previously for pulses has been converted for rice production. There have been modest increases in the yields of local rice but the average local yields have been 50 percent of those of the HYV rice. However, of late, it is the yield of modern varieties that is showing signs of stagnation.
Source: SOFA 1997

Food preferences

People from different areas, with varying customs, have different food preferences and some examples are:

Irish potatoes have been accepted as part of the staple diet in some areas: Comilla and Munshiganj prefer white while Bogra prefer red skinned varieties.

Indigenous potato varieties, such as Indurkani, are highly priced and popular with the elite families.

Sweet potatoes are consumed as staple food in some of the char (river bank) areas such as Comilla and Narshingdi.

Lentils are widely consumed throughout Bangladesh, while cowpeas are predominantly eaten in the greater Chittagong district.

Chickpeas are used in the preparation of commercial foodstuffs and there is a high consumption of them during Ramadan.

There are many different pulses and they are viewed differently by various sections of the community: lathyrus (kheshari) is eaten widely whereas mungbean is served on special occasions by the elite.

Source: Field 1995

Table of Contents

• Role of Agriculture in Bangladesh Economy

• Basic Information of Agriculture in Bangladesh

• Opportunities & Constraints of Agriculture in Bangladesh

• Objectives & Functions of the Ministry of Agriculture

• Organogram of the Ministry of Agriculture

• Agriculture Extension System in Bangladesh

• Agriculture Research System in Bangladesh

• Review of the Past Agro Sector Policy Reforms

Role of Agriculture in Bangladesh Economy

The economy of Bangladesh is primarily dependent on agriculture. About 84 percent of the total population live in rural areas and are directly or indirectly engaged in a wide range of agricultural activities. The agriculture sector plays a very important role in the economy of the country accounting for 31.6 percent of total GDP in 1997-98 at constant (1984-85) prices. The agriculture sector comprises crops, forests, fisheries and livestock. Of the agricultural GDP, the crop sub-sector contributes 71 per cent, forest 10 per cent, fisheries 10 percent and livestock 9 per cent. The sector generates 63.2% percent of total national employment, of which crop sectors share is nearly 55 %. Agricultural exports of primary products constituted 10.4% of total exports of the country in 1997-98. In the past decade, the agriculture sector contributed about three percent per annum to the annual economic growth rate.

The agriculture sector is the single largest contributor to income and employment generation and a vital element in the country’s challenge to achieve self-sufficiency in food production reduce rural poverty and foster sustainable economic development. The Government has therefore accorded highest priority to this sector to enable the country to meet these challenges and to make this sector commercially profitable.