Self-reliance in sustainable agriculture
Sustainable agriculture can be defined in many ways, but ultimately it seeks to sustain farmers, resources and communities by promoting farming practices and methods that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities.
Though climate change experts have cautioned by saying - Bangladesh is positioned in the firing line of extreme weather patterns - some well thought out moves in the last 10 years have made sustainable agriculture a mainstay in rural areas. By promoting research of climate resilient crops, the country has now a wide variety of agricultural products that can resist adverse weather conditions and ensure bumper production.
Added to this has come balanced use of fertilizer, pest control plus a countrywide awareness drive about green methods which cause the least harm to environment. This is indeed a positive piece of news for Bangladesh which was once deemed a basket case with natural calamities plus food shortages triggering seasonal hunger, starvation and widespread malnutrition. In a way, climate change warning has worked as a blessing in disguise because after the major global forums issued stark warnings for low lying countries, Bangladesh was among the first to take initiatives to counter potential environmental damages.
The result is right in front of us, as the country now produces 34.8 million metric tonnes of clean rice, enough to feed the total population. The attainment of self-reliance in rice - the staple food in Bangladesh, is tantamount to the formation of a secure social platform from which other development goals can be achieved. Since this country now has enough rice, the focus should divert to organic vegetables, farming and poultry so rural employment is created while eco-friendly businesses are given the impetus to flourish. Green agriculture can produce the best results when the concept is easily understood and used by people in cities and rural areas.
The current success in rice production in defiance of adverse climate conditions can be taken further when research centres are opened in remote areas giving rural people a direct chance to engage with revolutionary agro developments. Many fishermen who are involved in fish trade in the haor areas are facing dwindling fish varieties due to climate change. Attention to wetlands and their preservation will revive falling fish stocks. The overall picture of the agriculture sector following an ecologically friendly formula is indeed laudable.
Last of all, there is no substitute to sustainable agriculture since it is the production of food, fiber, or other plant or animal products using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare. This fact must be made correctly understood by the farmers' community.