Positive and Negative Impact of new Technologies in Agriculture of Bangladesh

Agriculture of Bangladesh is growing but most of the farmer of Bangladesh are very far from agriculture technologies. By using technologies Bangladesh can increase. So, let’s discuss the positive and negative impact of new technologies in agriculture of Bangladesh.

Over the past two decades, Bangladesh has achieved considerable growth in agriculture production and achieved virtual self-sufficiency in food production this has been possible primarily as a result of increasing use of value yielding varieties of rich seed the cultivation of introduction and spread of this package is commonly referred to as the green revolution.

Why the green revolution in Bangladesh?

Despite the constraints on Bangladesh agricultural growth that we mentioned earlier these green revolution has extended itself Bangladesh agricultural because the technologies can be adopted by the relatively small farms that characterize Bangladeshi agriculture.

The combination of new seeds, appropriate fertilizers and irrigation are large “scale neutral”, which means that farms of all sizes can profitably adopt these technologies as long as they can find relatively small amounts of capital for investment. This is why Bangladeshi small farms have not been disadvantaged in adopting these technologies.

The impetus behind adopting the Green Revolution technology in Bangladesh came from the country’s attempts to acquire self-sufficiency in food production. As the total cropped land area was fixed, given the topography of the country and the very limited virgin land, it was logical to embrace the Green Revolution to feed a growing population. The key components of the Green revolution were:

  • High Yielding Varieties of Seeds (HYV)
  • Chemical fertilizers
  • Irrigations.

HYV seeds and fertilizers

HYV seeds perform best with chemical fertilizers. Yields are high only if high levels of fertilizers are applied at the right time. Farmers using HYV seeds, therefore, have to invest in chemical fertilizers if they are to profit from the potentially higher yields of these seeds. Fertilizer prices in Bangladesh have been subsidized through a number of mechanisms.

This has been possible because Bangladesh has is won domestic fertilizer industry that produces fertilizers using its large domestic gas reserves. There have been continuous increases in fertilizer consumption. The total consumption of different types of fertilizers was 3.45 million metric tons in 1996/97.

Projected to increase to 4.50 million metric tons by 2002-2003. At the farm level, the most popular chemical fertilizers are urea 70%, TSP (triple superphosphates) and SSP (single super phosphate) 20%, and MOP (muriatic of potash) 10%.

Impact of new Technologies in Agriculture

Impact of new Technologies in Agriculture

Issues

While the spread of the Green Revolution in Bangladesh has been beneficial overall, it has also raised a number of problems, and a number of constraints set limits to the further spread of the Green Revolution in the future.

Impact of new Technologies in Agriculture

Damaging soil

First, there are a number of problems arising from such an extensive use of fertilizers. Without balanced use, there is the possibility of damaging the soil structure. To maintain soil condition it is important to ensure an adequate increase of organic and biofertilizers.

Training

At a practical level, it is important to ensure the proper use of fertilizers in remote areas as well as the training of cultivators to enable them to acquire the ability to use the proper dose and combination of fertilizers.

Irrigation difficulties

As mentioned earlier, availability of water at different periods of the year is an essential element in crop production. This is possible through irrigation. It is not surprising that the spread of the green Revolution has been most extensive in areas where irrigation is already most developed.

But most Bangladeshi farms are very small and this represents a major obstacle to the extension of the Green Revolution in Bangladesh. The fact that individual farms are small sets limits to the extension of the new technology, such as irrigation and tractors, making their introduction that much more difficult.

Problems of under-utilization of irrigation equipment are also common because of the pattern of land ownership and because of water distribution difficulties. There are frequent complaints about water shortages during critical periods in the crop cycle, which, because HYV yields are relatively sensitive to the timing of irrigation, can be very costly for small-scale farmers.

These disruptions can usually be attributed either to political factors in the management of the distribution of water at a local level. Or to wider difficulties with the maintenance of equipment or the supply of diesel fuel or electricity.

It is estimated that currently, only 32% of the net cultivated area is under irrigation, although a recent survey suggests that this could be expanded to around 60% of the cultivable area. Such an expansion cold result in almost a doubling of food grain production in Bangladesh.

Most of the existing irrigation (around 75%) is based on small-scale tube-well and lift pumps operated by individual farmers or collectives. But irrigation based on the lifting of huge quantities of ground water can also cause problems. In recent years, excessive irrigation has resulted in concentrations of natural arsenic and widespread arsenic poisoning in rural Bangladesh.

Fertilize use slowing down

Another factor constraining further growth in the agricultural sector is that small-scale farmers do not want to take on high risks and therefore resist increasing fertilizer use at the same rate as larger scale farmers.

Consequently, the growth in fertilizer use has been slowing down. The government has been attempting to encourage fertilizer use by subsidizing its price, but this strategy had resulted in more exports to neighboring countries rather than an increase in domestic utilization.

Conclusion

These factors suggest that while the Green Revolution has been very successful in Bangladesh up to a point, and even medium-sized farms have been able to benefit from adopting these technologies there are limits to how far it can spread.

These limits exist because of the very small farmer have. Further growth of agricultural production is likely to require investments in infrastructure of irrigation, as well as some consolidation of farms into larger operating units that can afford to invest in new technologies.

Discussion/reflection task

The Green Revolution has been the single greatest boon to Bangladesh.

Argue against or in favor of this proposition.

Without any protection. While it is true that the state could not manage its support property in the past and this led to inefficiency in many industrial sectors, it is not necessarily true that simply withdrawing this support will make these industrial sectors more efficient.

A strategy that may have worked better may have been to try to more the state’s political ability to selectively and gradually withdraw subsidies from poorly performing industries. If this could have been achieved. Enterprises getting state support may have tried much harder to improve their productivity without having to shut down immediately.

This does not mean that the entire large-scale industrial sector performed poorly throughout this period. A number of successes in a large-scale industry should be acknowledged. Domestic gas production increased rapidly and gas has been successfully substituted for oil in the production of electricity and as the primary source of every in industry.

Gas-based fertilizer production has also increased. Despite these areas of success, privatization and liberalization did not significantly help the large-scale industries that had been set up with state support in the past.

New smaller industries provide growth

However, in the context of liberalization, a new group of somewhat smaller industries began to emerge, which did not need state assistance to set up because they were using simpler technologies than the very large-scale industries in textiles or chemicals that were set up in the sixties and seventies.

These new industries included, in particular, the garment sector, which enjoyed a phenomenal growth in Bangladesh. These industries did not need state assistance and relied on cheap labor and simple technologies to achieve international competitiveness, and rapidly expanded their markets.

They offered lower wages to workers than some of the older industries, reflecting the lower productivity of their technology, but they employed many more workers because they were more labour-intensive compared to the older industries. The growth of these new smaller scale industries drove the very high growth rates in the industrial sector that Bangladesh enjoyed in the 1980s and 1990s.

By the end of the 1990s the garment industry employed about 1.5 million workers (most of them women). Exports of ready-made garments in 2001/02 reached an estimated US$ 3,125m., amounting to 52% of total export earnings.

The future of the garment industry

Although some domestic fabric and yarn production had commenced in Bangladesh, the majority of fabric and yarns required by the ready-made garment sector is imported. This means the net export earnings of the sector are considerably lower.

There are obviously great opportunities for developing domestic fabric and yarn production, but domestic entrepreneurs lack the skills to go into these areas and no state support in now forthcoming to help them move into these areas.

Foreign investments or partnerships may be a solution, but these are staying away because of the poor investment environment in Bangladesh, lack of infrastructure and political uncertainty.

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