Urban sprawl, brick kilns eat up Dhaka’s huge farmland every day

Dhaka district is losing some 2.5 hectares of fertile land every day to brick kilns, housing projects, industrial structures and roads endangering its agriculture, according to officials at the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE).
Agriculture officials in the district also said that the loss of agricultural land has forced about three lakh farmers of the district to switch over to other professions.

According to the DAE, four upazilas and three metro areas of the district have lost 7,982 hectares of agricultural land from 2002 to 2011.

Agricultural land in Dhamrai upazila came down to 23,518 hectares in 2011 from 25,581 hectares in 2002. Dhamrai is an upazila of 30,633 hectares of land.

In Savar, the agricultural land shrunk from 18,634 hectares to 17,580 hectares over the same period. The total land size of the upazila is about 28,013 hectares.

Keraniganj comprises of 16,997 hectares of and its agricultural land has reduced to 9,688 hectares from 11,380 hectares.

Nawabganj encompasses 24,481 hectares in total and it has also lost about a thousand hectares of agricultural land during the period.

In the four upazilas, the total loss of agricultural land stands at 4,775 hectares.

Only in Dohar upazila, the agricultural land has increased by 379 hectares due to the formation of a new char on the bank of the Padma River.

In Dhaka metropolitan area, Tejgaon has lost about 2,500 hectares of agricultural land, while Mohammadpur and Gulshan have lost about 300 hectares and 500 hectares respectively

Tejgaon, Mohammandpur and Gulshan metro areas had about 9,790 hectares, 922 hectares and 843 hectares agricultural lands respectively. About 30.5 percent of the land in Gulshan area is rooftop garden, park, government office and cantonment. In Tejgaon and Mohammadpur, the ratio is 25 percent.

Talking to UNB, DAE’s Dhamrai upazila agriculture officer Abdus Salam said most of the agricultural land in the upazila has lost due to the increasing number of brick kilns.

Besides, he said, Dhamrai has also fallen prey to new housing projects due to its close proximity with capital Dhaka.

Savar upazila agriculture officer Rais Uddin Bhuyan said new industrial structures as well as brick kilns and housing projects are responsible for the loss of agricultural land in the area.

He said the government must take special measures to protect the remaining fertile lands in Dhaka. If not, there will be no trace of agriculture in the region in near future, Rais Uddin added.

According to a recent study of Soil Resource Development Institute (SRDI), the area under agricultural land was 1,33,03,654 hectares back in 1976 that is 91.83 percent of the country.

This agricultural land has been decreased to 1,27,42,274 hectares with the annual loss of 23391 hectares in 2000. Again, with the annual loss of 56537 hectares in 2010, the agricultural land area stood at 1,21,76,904 hectares.

The annual loss of agricultural land during the study period (1976-2010) was 46,948 hectares which indicates that the availability of agricultural land was in decreasing trend with much faster during the period from 2000 to 2010, added the study.

The study also revealed that annual loss of agricultural land in Dhaka Division during 2000-2010 was 0.65 percent while forest land decreased to 3.17 percent during the same period. The rural settlements, urban and industrial area, and charland increased by 4.78 percent, 8.75 per cent and 9.81 percent respectively during 2000-2010.

Source: UNB Connect

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