Farmlands in the country decreased faster in the past one decade than it did three decades ago, thanks to housing, urbanisation and industrialisation.
Experts see the trend as a threat to food security.
A study by the Soil Resources Development Institute (SRDI) found that farmlands diminished by 68,700 hectares, or 0.738 percent of the total, every year on an average in the past decade. Three decades ago, the average annual rate of decline was 13,412 hectares.
The study says housing is depleting around 30,809 hectares, urbanisation and industrialisation 4,012 hectares, and fish farming 3,216 hectares of farmlands annually.
The study, first of its kind in Bangladesh, was done by the Food Policy Capacity Strengthening Programme (NFPCSP) with financial assistance from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), European Union and USAID.
According to the study, led by SRDI Chief Scientific Officer Nazmul Hassan, the amount of farmlands was 9,761,450 hectares in 1976 but declined by 321,909 hectares in 24 years to 9,439,541 hectares in 2000.
The amount went down further by 687,604 hectares in the next 10 years to 8,751,937 hectares in 2010.
Though the annual rate of decline was 0.137 percent during the 1976-2000 period, it increased more than four times to 0.728 percent in the past one decade.
Experts see such an ‘abnormal’ decrease in farmlands as a threat to the food security.
National Research Grants Administrator of FAO Noor Ahmed Khankder told bdnews24.com that the findings were worrisome.
“The farmland decline would have impacted food security had high-yielding verities of crops not been invented. Still, the diminishing of farmlands is a threat to food security.”
Study team leader Nazmul Hassan told bdnews24.com that urbanisation and industrialisation would increase future, as the country was attaining over 6 percent GDP growth.
“But if we can have a combined management of urbanisation, industrialisation and agriculture land, farmland decline rate will drop,” he said.
Source: Bd news24