Improving the Nutritional Status in Bangladesh

During the last 32 years since Bangladesh became an independent nation in 1971 production of rice, the main staple food, has exceeded 19 million tons per year, whereas it was only about 8 million tons in 1971. In spite of the fact that population has increased steadily, the availability of rice today for every man, woman and child is nearly one pound per day according to the data provided by the Bureau of Statistics in 1999. This is indeed a remarkable achievement. Besides this, it is encouraging to note that food production is growing at a greater pace than the population. Even wheat the second major food grain used as staple is gaining popularity and its domestic production is reaching 2 million tons per year. Net availability of meat, fish, milk, egg and pulses has increased from 1994-95 to 1997-98, which is reflected in their increase in per capita consumption.

This advancement in agriculture and increase in productivity can be attributed to production of hybrid seeds, application of proper fertilizer, use of safe insecticide and pesticide, farm mechanisation, water and soil management and above all the will of the people. Bangladeshis have been in the forefront to receive the benefit of the cutting edge of technology. Development of agricultural colleges and universities, research institutes and extension services deserve mention in the success of Green Revolution in this small country of about 57000 square miles with 120 million people.

Apart from the technological advancement, Bangladeshis deserve special credit for developing the capability of disaster management. Taking precaution against natural calamities has become a part of life. The high frequency of floods and cyclones has taught the people to be prepared for handling such disasters to avoid famine and death. Management of food grain storage and distribution during the times of natural disasters has been given top priority by the government that has set an example of cooperation between the private and public sector including the armed services. It is, therefore, expected that Bangladesh will keep the food production and distribution as a major priority. With this assumption one can be optimistic about the outlook for food grain availability and price stabilisation even if some import has to take place during times of need.

Tooling Up for Hydroponics

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