‘Agriculture can play vital role to face challenges’

Against the backdrop of the prevailing catastrophic situation in the global economy due to the virus pandemic, the country’s agricultural sector can play a very important role in ensuring food security as well as economic challenges, experts opined.

Various international organizations are also giving warning that as the global economy is now facing a very much unfavourable situation, ensuring food security has become one of the major challenges for every country.

Experts further opined that no matter how deep the economic crisis is, if the supply of staples such as rice, vegetables and fish is guaranteed people will feel relieved.

A few days ago, the United Nations and the World Food Program (WFP) warned that the effects of coronavirus could lead to a large-scale famine around the world, and that about 30 million people could die of starvation.

Bangladesh's economy is mainly divided into three sectors- agriculture, services and industry. According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the service sector now contributes about 50 percent to the country's economy. Besides, the contribution of industry is 35 percent and the contribution of agriculture is now about 14 percent.

Bangladesh has suffered a major setback in the export-oriented garment industry and in sending remittances by workers working abroad due to the global coronavirus pandemic. Production of all types of industry has decreased, which analysts also fear, may worsen.

There are more than 6 crore peoples who are engaged in various types of works in the informal sector of the country such as rickshaw puller, domestic help, day labourer and so on. They are losing their jobs

The agricultural sector is still almost not affected, which is ensuring employment for 40 percent of the people besides ensuring food security.

Economist Dr Nazneen Ahmed, Senior Research Fellow at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies told Bangladesh Post that the economy has shrunk, employment opportunities are low and many people are losing their jobs as every sector of Bangladesh's economy has suffered severely.

‘In this situation, there is a huge potential in the agro processing sector in our country. We can focus more on this sector to overcome the current crisis. Many people want to do it, but they do not know what to do. So training has to be arranged for them. Then there will be created a lot of employment opportunities. Many are now leaving the city and going to their villages due to lack of employment. They need training and financial support so that they can do different types work around agriculture,” she said.

Officials said Bangladesh has become the third largest rice producer in the world due to the foresight of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. It is also third in vegetable production, fourth in tea production, seventh in mango production, eighth in potato production and far ahead in other crops’ production.