Latest agricultural technologies, including stress-tolerant crop cultivation, animal breed development, soilless plantation and rice-fish culture should be popularised in Bangladesh to tackle the effects of climate change, experts said Sunday.
However, they said Bangladesh has become successful in increasing agricultural production and improving food security by diversifying crop production, despite decrease in arable land.
The observations came at a seminar on "Climate is Changing, Food and Agriculture Must Too" marking the World Food Day-2016 arranged by Agriculture Ministry at Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council in the city.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith addressed the programme as the chief guest, while Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury and Food Minister Kamrul Islam were the special guests.
Finance Minister said the use of latest technologies in agriculture is boosting food production, although cultivable land has been decreasing gradually.
Referring to the increase in crops and livestock in recent years, Muhith said total food production in the country reached 38 million tonnes last year from 11 million tonnes a decade back.
There was a time when Bangladesh suffered 10 to 15 per cent food shortage every year, but now the country is capable of exporting food, he added.
However, he said, "We are somewhat behind in nutrition though recent studies indicate that malnutrition has decreased by 20 per cent."
Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury said the government has been implementing farm development projects in 14 southern districts to tackle climate change because agricultural activities might reduce in northern districts due to drop in ground water level.
The agricultural scientists of the country have developed salinity-tolerant rice verities, which are cultivating in the coastal districts, she said.
Matia Chowdhury also said the government will move to genetically modified organism (GMO) crop cultivation for further boosting food security.
Mentioning that Bangladesh imported rice in the past, food minister said, "Fulfilling the local demand, we are now exporting surplus rice to Sri Lanka and Nepal and also searching new markets in African countries because Bangladesh is now capable of exporting around 200,000 tonnes of rice."
He also said food storage capacity in the country is now two million tones, which will be increased to 2.5 million tonnes by 2021 and 3.0 million tonnes by 2030.
Presenting the keynote paper, Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) Vice-Chancellor Dr. MA Sattar Mandal said due to climate change, production of wheat, maze and potato might decrease following the rise in the production cost and extra irrigation requirement.
He said uncontrolled urbanisation, loss of cultivable land, rise in the labour wages and marginal profit from rice will hamper food security in future.
So, stress-tolerant crop variation, animal breed up-scaling, soilless cultivation, and integrated rice-fish cultivation should be spread among the farmers to increase food production and manage climate change threat.
Parliamentary standing committee on Agriculture Ministry chairperson Md. Mokbul Hossain, FAO Representative in Bangladesh Mike Robson and BARC Executive Chairman Abul Kalam Azad were also present at the function with Agriculture Secretary Md Moinuddin Abdullah in the chair.