By Obaidul Gani
DHAKA, Jan 02, 2017 (BSS) - Agronomist today expected the country to be self- sufficient in vegetable production in the coming decade as its yields grew by 32 percent in the past six years despite a lower level of intake because of people's typical food habit.
According to latest agriculture ministry statistics the country produced 143,47,000 tonnes vegetables, a figure which is up by 35 lakh tones from that of 2009-10.
During the time the production of potato, a staple crop, was marked 10 percent rise with its production volume being 92,50,000 tonnes in 2015-16.
"We are still deficit in vegetable production . . . but the production of vegetables is increasing at a rate of five percent rate steadily for the last one decade," agronomist Dr Jahangir Alam told BSS.
Alam, also a former Director General (DG) of Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI), added if the growth rate was sustained, "we will be self- sufficient in vegetable production by next 10 years".
"Currently more than 150 types of vegetables are being cultivated in Bangladesh," Senior Scientific Officer (SSO) of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) Dr Kamruzzaman said.
But, he said, in regard to vegetable intake, Bangladesh was ranked in lower level as the people were yet to develop of consuming required volume of vegetables. "According to World Health Organization (WHO), a healthy individual should take 220 grams of vegetable daily, while Bangladeshis consume only 70 percent of need," he said.
Kamruzzaman said the growth of vegetables in increased volume was backed by policy supports, incentives to farmers along with hybrid and genetically modified organisms (GMO) technologies introduced by the government.
The BARI fellow added availability of varieties, research breakthrough, technology and extension also widely made possible the breakthrough in vegetable production.
Chief scientific officer and head of Vegetable Departmental of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) Dr Golam Morshed Abdul Halim said commercial returns largely encouraged farmer to lay emphasis on vegetables cultivation with southern region visibly taking the lead role in this regard.
But the agriculturists, however, stressed on following good agricultural practice (GAP) for toxic-free vegetable production also to explore widened market abroad alongside the local market.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)