Agricultural sector vulnerable to climate change

03 October 2022

Staff Reporter :
Bangladesh's agricultural land, production of crops, local crop varieties, income and employment facilities of the farmers is highly vulnerable to various statutory liquidity ratios (SLR) induced hazards.
A World Bank (WB) study suggests that increased salinity alone from a 0.3 meter SLR will cause a net reduction of 0.5 million tonnes of rice production. Similarly, high projected rise in sea level of about 88 cm (35 inches) would inundate agricultural lowlands and deltaic parts of Bangladesh.
 Likewise, it is estimated that in Bangladesh alone 14,000 tonnes of grain production would be lost due to SLR in 2030, and 252,000 tonnes would be lost by 2075.
According to a report of the Center for Environmental and Geographic  
Information Services (CEGIS) conducted in 2006, SLR affects agriculture in three ways, such as salinity intrusion, flooding and increasing cyclone frequency. Aman suitable areas would decrease significantly and the ultimate result of reducing agricultural production will force Bangladesh to fail, obtaining the food security, the report added.
Experts observed that increase in SLR may cause migration of a lot of people and causing numerous socio-economic problems.
Review of existing literatures unveils that adaptation to climate change is necessary in addition to mitigate and avoid unacceptable impacts of climate change induced SLR hazards, experts said adding that it is inferred from the available literature that crop production would be extremely vulnerable under climate change conditions, and as a result, food security of the country will be at risk.
According to the Soil Resource Development Institute (SRDI), salinity intrusion due to SLR will decrease agricultural production by unavailability of fresh water and soil degradation.    Out of 1.689 million hectares of coastal land about 1.056 million hectares are affected by soil salinity of various degrees, the SRDI report said adding that salinity also decreases the terminative energy and germination rate of some plants found that in some coastal villages.
Experts observed and said that it is needed to explore the major vulnerabilities of coastal agriculture sector to various climate change induced SLR scenarios and identify adaptive options, and formulate policy guidelines to mitigate such agricultural vulnerabilities.
Taking the matter into consideration, the government is giving utmost importance to combat the adverse effects of climate change on agriculture in order to sustain food security.
"The government is dealing with the impact of climate change in its own terms after knowing that funds will not be available from the developed countries for climate protection and those countries will not keep their promises. So, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is relentlessly allocating to agriculture and agricultural technology innovation to deal with the damage caused by climate change," Minister of Agriculture Dr Abdur Razzaque told this correspondent.
He also said, "If we can subsidize Tk 28,000 crore annually for fertilizers and our allocation will continue for tackling climate change. The current government will tackle climate change and ensure food security for everyone in the country at any cost."
The country's agriculture sector will be the most affected due to climate change, the minister said adding that country's rural farmers will be the most vulnerable to climate change.
The losses that will occur in the agricultural sector are under the greatest threat. Because, 60-70 percent people of the country are dependent on agriculture. So, we have to protect the agriculture sector first, which is the major challenge. Besides, other sectors have to deal with climate change," Dr Abdur Razzaque said.
At least two million hectares of land in the country's coastal region is salty, he said adding that cultivation of various salinity-tolerant crops has already been started in these areas.

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