Every year in Bangladesh, agricultural land is reduced by one per cent, while the population increases by 1.9 million. In addition, the country suffers from consistent climate threats, such as cyclones, floods, rising water levels, drought and river erosion. This results in damaged harvests and more landless and unemployed people, contributing to the rise of food prices and creating challenges in ensuring food security. We address these challenges in accordance with the government’s national agriculture policy. Our work directly addresses the sustainable development goals of ending hunger by achieving food, security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture. Our work directly links to the goal of combating climate change and its impacts.
BRAC’s agriculture and food security programme is working with agricultural research, development and extension activities. BRAC’s value-chain approach to agricultural development stands as a successful example, and is now being replicated in other developing countries. It plays an important role in attaining self-sufficiency in food production in Bangladesh. The ultimate goal of the programme is to enhance food security, improve nutrition and livelihoods. This is done through agricultural research and development, technology validation and adoption of appropriate climate-resilient agricultural technology. The programme has created significant impact to increase crop and fish production by research and extension activities in the northern and southern parts of Bangladesh. It has also promoted integrated agricultural practices in gher, or fish enclosures, and community-based culture fishery in seasonal floodplains to maximise the profit and improve livelihood, meet the protein demand, and to engage communities towards a sustainable production system.
Two agricultural research and development centres at Gazipur and Bogra have been established. Applied research to develop high-yielding varieties and better crop management are the key objectives.. Presently, the focus is on rice, maize, potato, pulse, oilseed and vegetables research including the development of inbreeds and hybrid varieties. Several advanced breeding lines of rice have been developed for quality grain, high-yield and short-growth duration and are ready to be released as new varieties. Newly developed genotypes are being demonstrated in the farmers’ fields in different drought, submergence and saline-prone areas of the country.
The combination of our efforts results in enhanced livelihood and increased food production in the country, which in turn ensures food security and progress towards achieving the sustainable development goals.