Mechanization will take bold leaps forward in these next years

There can be no doubt about it: Agriculture is the bedrock of our economy. In the 50 years since our independence, as prominent economists pointed out at a dialogue organized by Power and Participation Research Centre, the rural economy and the agricultural sector were the main drivers of the structural changes in the Bangladesh economy.

There are stark differences between how Bangladesh looked when it gained independence back in 1971 to how it now looks in 2021: We have pulled our people, for the most part, out of the depths of poverty. Now, to a large degree, we have achieved food security and sufficiency.

This pandemic, though, has been a sobering reminder of just how fragile that security can be. Many have fallen back into poverty, and much progress seems to have been wiped out. We must not let these drawbacks deter us, but learn from this tough period and move forward smartly. Moving forward right now means embracing new technology. All sectors evolve by adapting and transforming, and farming is no different.

Kudos to the government and our development partners for moving ahead in mechanizing our agricultural process. 98% of our land, for example, is now being ploughed by 700,000 power tillers. Having said that, an enormous amount remains to be done. The planting and harvesting of rice is still done mostly by hand. These processes must be mechanized.

It is expected that through the work of the government and the various development partners, mechanization will take bold leaps forward in these next years, resulting in hundreds of thousands of farmers adapting cost-saving and labour-saving technologies in their production.

To feed and clothe our millions, we must adapt: This is a harsh reality. It is greatly encouraging, in that regard, to see that Bangladesh is right on track.

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