Published:  01:21 AM, 13 October 2019

Climate change affecting food production in Rajshahi region

Climate change affecting food production in Rajshahi region

Traditionally, Bangladesh is a country of six seasons. Every season appears with different features and flavors. Temperature fluctuates all the year round based on respective season. But, theexisting six seasons is going to lose its features due to rise exorbitant temperature.

Climate change is responsible of growing temperature that causes flood, drought, sudden natural disasters affecting food production in various regions across the country. As a result of growing temperature, seasonal food grains cannot be produced any more. The people involved in the food production have taken decision to leave their decades-old profession since on going climate does not favor them at all. 

Currently, low income country - Bangladeshhas become unable to handle climatic situation in wise ways. Climate change issue has now become a key barrier for food expected quantity of food production specially in northern zone of the country. Historically, bumper food production in the zone is generally seen.

But in the meantime, the farmers are in great troubles how they will survive with lower production of food grains due to climate change. The country's one of prime food grains supplying zones- Northern zone is experiencing the decline of food production in immediate past years since existing temperature level does not allow the standing crops to be grown effectively.

Nevertheless, the climate change issue had been the key talks among global leaders belonging to developed countries.A series of discussions hosted by united nations had already been ended with strong promise made by the leaders who participated in the program from around the world. The rulers of south Asia region also raised their voices and committed to battle against adverse climate that exists on earth.

Billions of dollars of fund to bring ongoing unbearable temperature under control has in the meantime been created with the assistance of donor agencies and countries. Many newspaper reported that financial assistance provided  by Asian Development Bank ( ADB), World Bank  (WB) is found to be used in other sectors.

Following the adverse climatic situation, the growers in the northern region arewidely being noticed to cultivate high-temperature friendly crops. Such kind of crops will never meet the demand of the country. Seeing no alternative ways to live on, the inhabitant of northern region has been bound to cultivate another crop leaving paddy.

Considering rice as staple food of Bangladeshi people, the region tried its level best to produce paddy. But, the current unfriendly weather does not encourage the farmers to grow paddy. So, the paddy field now turns into mango and guava area.The region is experiencing bitter than never before due to climate change.

According to Bureau of Bangladesh statistics ( BBS, 2009) around 43.6 per cent labor force of total engaged in agriculture sector. The trend of involving in agriculture sector is decreasing among people since they incur loss by producing paddy. They are now searching alternative profession in city areas.

Lower quantity of paddy production is highly responsible for rising unemployment and poverty rate in the area. The regional economy is likely to face bad situation shortly in order to aggravate unemployment rate.

Meanwhile, a study has been conducted on twoupazilas of Rajshahi. These two Upazilas are Godagari and Puthia. These two upazilas are selected on the basis of intensity of transformation. Among 16 Upazilas intensity of transformation is higher in these two Upazilas.

The study said around 0.71 per cent of total cultivable land in 2011-12 is busy in producing guava since the existing weather have become favorable to guava cultivation.

In 2015-16, guava cultivation increased to 5.42 per cent indicating that in context of current situation due to climatic change, crops diversification has taken place in the area. If this trend is continued for next ten years, more than 20 per cent cultivable land is expected to turn into the gardens of mangoes and guavas.

I am sorry to say that 50 per cent land was used to produce paddy in 2009-10 whereas the percentage came down to 40 per cent in 2012-13. Truly speaking,  Bangladesh is now experiencing surplus food stock due to bumper production countrywide. Now there is no possibility of food deficit. The effect of climate change on food production in Bangladesh might have been noticed within some years.

So, the state has to play a significant role in combating climate change in light of the Paris climate change Agreement that aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change. Realizing the current adverse environmental situation, Bangladesh must take to execute guidelines issued and advised by united nations from time to time.

The science has reportedly told us that the impact of temperature rises from a2°C increase compared to a 1.5°C increase will be significant and this difference has severe implications on the lives and sustainable development of our vulnerable developing regions whereas Bangladesh is running forward violating science temperature theory.

The country is seen to take in hand no development steps regarding high temperature that might severely paralyze human life in the days to come. To conclude, upcoming Santiago Climate Change Conference - 2019hosted by United Nations is expected to give strong advice in writing to least developed and developing countries to follow the strategies how to overcome the most discussed climate change issue.

I believe if Bangladesh can execute the guidelinesgiven from UN conference held from time to time to combat climate change, the agricultural sector is likely to experience bumper production. Then, Bangladesh can join the next climate related summits with head high. Nevertheless, by virtue of taking hard actions against climate change, Bangladesh is set to emerge as one of food producing countries in the world. 

Tanjil Hossain is Associate Professor of Economics Department, Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University and Executive Director of Economic Development Research Organization (EDRO). E-mail: [email protected]

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