According to official documents obtained by UNB, the government has formulated a 10-year master plan for the country’s southern region and a five-year first track development plan in light of the National Agriculture Policy 2013, Sixth Five Year Plan and the Awami League’s 2014 election manifesto.
The ‘Master Plan for Agricultural Development in Southern Region of Bangladesh’, involving Tk 58,000 crore, eyes agricultural development in 14 coastal districts, covering 27 percent of the region and 21 percent of the population.
The districts are Barisal, Patuakhali, Satkhira, Barguna, Khulna, Pirojpur, Lakshmipur, Feni, Bhola, Noakhali, Jhalakati, Bagerhat, Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar.
The region has a total of 29,617 square km area with some 6.38 million households and 29.86 million people.
The plan, prepared with technical assistance from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), has 26 programmes prioritised as top, high, medium and low ones with 85 interventions.
Ten major components have been identified in the master plan for the development of crops, horticulture and agro-forestry, fisheries, livestock, nutrition, water management, polder management, drainage improvement, agribusiness, farm loan and the capacity building of farmers.
The government prepared the master plan against the backdrop of cyclones Aila and Sidr as suggested by its development partners.
The five year (2015-2019) development plan has 147 projects.
According to sources at the Agriculture Ministry, the government has decided to construct 10 rubber dams and two hydraulic elevator dams at different parts of the country to use surface water for agriculture.
There is a plan to bring 25,500 hectares of additional land under irrigation in the country’s northern region through Barendra Multipurpose Development Authority till 2017 by re-excavating 506 cannels (khas) and 152 ponds (khas).
Some 250 irrigation machines will be installed on river banks by 2016 to irrigate some 8,700 hectares of land round the year. Now there are some 60 irrigation pumps which irrigate some 2100 hectares of land throughout the year, according to the documents.
The government has also decided to felicitate and provide training to farmers of the northern region for boosting Aus production and distribute high-yielding BR48 and BR 55 seeds among them.
Besides, the government has a plan to continue its efforts to invent new varieties of crops which are climate resilient and expand training programme on marketing, processing and preserve small and marginal farmers and expand market linkage.