Land fertility decreases in an alarming rate for the over extraction of agricultural products to execute multi-dimensional and maximum use of cultivable land for meeting the demand of food for a large population is a small country, observed speakers at an online discussion on Thursday.

They said that the nation had increased agricultural productions at the cost of fertility of the land.

Over extraction from the cultivable land, excess use of fertilisers without giving the soil time for recovering its nutrients were killing land fertility, they added.

They said that the soil should be given time for its recovery and the government should ensure incentives for farmers, discourage the use of chemical fertilisers and increasing more fund for researches and executing plans for mitigating degradation of land.

The Department of Environment organised the webinar marking World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2021 with the theme of Turning Degraded Land into Healthy Land.

In his keynote presentation, Jalaluddin Md Shoib, coordinator of Sustainable Land Management Project of the DoE, said that the degradation of soil in the country stood at 76 per cent in 2020 when it was 72 per cent 30 years ago.

The fertility of the land is decreasing by five per cent in a year for its over extraction for agricultural use and for production of bricks.

‘The fertile top soil of the land is abolishing for its use in brick kilns and a land needs years for recovering the loss,’ he said.

Environment minister Shah Uddin, who attended the webinar as the chief guest, said that programmes were undergoing to reduce land degradation of the land to zero by 2030 as a signatory to the UN Convention on Combat Desertification.

To conserve fertile land and to build a green economy, he said that the government is working to prevent the forest degradation, the unavailability of water, land erosion and unplanned interventions on environment.

Initiatives have been taken to use modern methods instead of traditional methods in brick kilns in order to prevent land degradation, he added.

After 2025, clay‑made bricks cannot be used in government works, he claimed.

The government is implementing a project to reduce the risk of climate change and various projects under the Climate Trust Fund for preventing drought and desertification, Shahab said.

DoE director general Ashraf Uddin, who presided over the webinar, urged collective efforts for controlling conversion of one per cent of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes for unplanned urbanisation.

Deputy minister for climate change Habibun Nahar and secretary of the ministry Ziaul Hasan, former secretary Zahurul Karim, Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University soil science department professor Alok Kumar Pal, among others, were present at the webinar.

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