Sunday, March 8, 2009

Impacts in Bangladesh

New Nation (Bangladesh): Bangladesh urgently needs support in developing a climate-resilient agriculture if its people are to survive and prosper in the long term, according to some experts. Climate change is affecting the country in many ways. For instance, rising sea levels are causing some agricultural land in coastal areas to become more saline, reducing both the quality and quantity of the produce available.

In southern districts where land is only centimetres higher than the brackish estuarine water, large swathes of agricultural land are becoming arid: Crop yields are shrinking as a result of increased salinity due to rising water levels in the Bay of Bengal. Agronomists and agricultural experts now worry that creeping salinity will engulf more and more land in the low-lying nation.

"The impact of climate change on agriculture is undeniable and will most certainly worsen if governments and donors fail to take appropriate steps right now," Ghulam Mohammad Panaullah, former research director of the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), warned.

In coastal areas, cocoa nut and betel nut trees do not yield half of what they did two decades ago, while banana groves are dying out in their hundreds, Panaullah told IRIN. At the same time, vegetables sold in the urban markets of Dhaka, Khulna and Rajshai are deemed tasteless and fetch low prices compared to produce from salt-free regions. In a country where almost 80 percent of the population lives in rural areas, this is bad news.

According to the World Bank, Bangladesh's agriculture sector accounts for about 22 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), with another 33 percent of GDP is derived from the rural non-farm economy, which is also linked to agriculture. Around 54 percent of the rural population is employed in agriculture…..

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