Map Courtesy: Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council
Cropping pattern is influenced by a host of factors. It is not that the decision about choice of land and crop hinges only on the size of the land owned by a farmer. The other important factors are: subsistence pressure, infrastructural facilities, information base and marketing opportunities. We observe that the dominant cropping pattern decades back was somewhat as follows: production of paddy later followed by keeping the land fallow. This pattern claimed about one-thirds of the total cultivated land in a year. Land under this pattern is much lower in recent years.
Another pattern to notice is paddy followed by paddy. In the past, the proportion of land under this pattern, on an average, hovered around one-thirds of the cultivated land. But there has been a significant decrease in the case of land under triple crops and, possibly, for this reason cropping intensity index has declined over time. Overall, it could be observed that the share of fallow land (after paddy or other crops) has increased from 39 per cent in the base year to 47 per cent in recent years. This is also an interesting development because; (a) farmers have learnt that land also need some rest and (b) economic solvency has reduced the urgency to pursue the earlier pattern.
In any case, our discussions on cropping pattern clearly forestall that 70 per cent of the cultivated land in rural Bangladesh is used only for paddy production and only 18 per cent goes to non-paddy crops. It shows that crop diversification till now could not emerge as an attractive option for farmers engaged in the war of food security.
LAND SIZE AND CROPPING PATTERN
Let us now look at the issue from the angle of farm size. First, in comparable periods of 1988 and 2008 for example, the main cropping pattern for small farmers was paddy followed by paddy. That means, after harvesting one paddy crop, farmers used to prepare for growing another paddy crop. But by 2008, marginal departure from the traditional pattern could be observed: instead of going for another paddy, farmers began to leave the land fallow. Of course, this pattern had been a favorite for medium and large farmers for a pretty long time. It appears that small farmers, for the sake of food security, have been tilting towards paddy followed by fallow option rather than paddy followed by paddy option. Second, triple-cropped land seems to be almost on the verge of non-existence.
In the past, there was a trend to grow another non-paddy crop after two consecutive paddy crops. The departure is definitely a sign of improvement as land are not being cultivated as intensively as before with averse impacts on soil fertility. Third, we notice that, cropping diversification is till now largely a "golden deer". Whatever feeble attempts at crop diversification have been made so far, those were mostly by the small and medium farmers. And finally, an inverse relationship between farm size and cropping intensity can be observed. For small farmers, the intensity declined from 174 in 1988 to 163 in 2004; for large farmers, the index moved down from 169 to 139, respectively.
CROPPING PATTERN BY IRRIGATION STATUS
An examination of the cropping pattern and cropping intensity by irrigation status would provide another dimension to the issue under discussion. In areas where the main sources of irrigation are rainfalls and surface water, the cropping pattern is paddy cultivation followed by no cultivation of crop. For example, in 2008, this pattern has claimed 57 per cent of the cultivated land as against 36 per cent in 1988. But this pattern does not seem to suit areas where underground water is mostly used for irrigation purposes. The difference between the two areas in terms of cropping patterns is mainly caused by the timely availability of water for irrigation. Second, consecutive two paddy crops are the pattern mainly for users of underground water, although over time the trend has diminished somewhat. For example, in 1988, 60 per cent of the land embraced this pattern - paddy followed by paddy - as against 46 per cent in recent times. In sharp contrast, however, in areas where rainfalls or surface water is used, the pattern of paddy followed by paddy claims 15-20 per cent of land.
As noted before, the difference is mainly due to availability of water: underground irrigation is more regular but irrigation is erratic where surface water and rainfalls dominate. Third, possibly for the reasons mentioned just before, a favourite pattern for the users of rainfalls and surface water is paddy followed by a non-paddy crop. Fourth, triple-cropped land had always been low and over time it reduced further. And finally, cropping intensity had always been highest in irrigated land, although it has been declining over time. The tendency to grow only one paddy in irrigated land has been declining but increasing in other modes
LAND TOPOGRAPHY AND CROPPING PATTERN
In the very low-lying areas, the cropping pattern is paddy cultivation followed by leaving the land fallow, although the pattern is changing over time. The reason behind such pattern could be the early arrival of flood - called early flood. In medium and high land, the main pattern is consecutive two paddy crops i.e. paddy followed by paddy. On the other hand, in all topographic condition, the general pattern is to keep land fallow after growing one non-paddy cop. Crop diversification, in whatever degree takes place, is evident in high and medium land as early flood is unfriendly to vegetables, fruits and cash crops. That is why crop diversification is the lowest in low land and relatively high in medium and high land.
ECOLOGY AND CROPPING PATTERN
The cultivated land can be categorised into two main segments: (a) favourable zones and (b) unfavourable zones. In the favourable zones, water availability is somewhat certain; there is no salinity and no fear of drought or excessive floods. In unfavourable zones, the main determinant of cropping pattern is mostly nature. We observe that, cropping intensity has declined in all regions - the highest in unfavourable zones and the lowest in favourable zones. Interestingly, in drought-prone areas, cropping intensity has risen by about 20 per cent as compared to a decline in the favourable zones. This unimaginable observation could be due to the fact that irrigation facilities have expanded in these regions to help the growth of HYV aman and boro paddy and bring more land under these crops. This is undoubtedly good news. But the bad news is that, as elsewhere, farmers in drought-prone areas have increasingly tilted towards growing only paddy and the increasing trend of crop diversification is almost a matter of past there.
Source: The Financial Express
Map Courtesy: Banglapedia
Sectors of Bangladesh Liberation War
|Sector||Area||Sector Commander(s)||Sub Sectors (Commanders)|
|1||Chittagong District, Chittagong Hill Tracts, and the entire eastern area of the Noakhali District on the banks of the river Muhuri. The headquarters of the sector was at Harina.||• Major Ziaur Rahman (April 10, 1971 – May 15, 1971) |
• Captain Rafiqul Islam (June 10, 1971 – February 14, 1972)
|2||Districts of Dhaka, Comilla, and Faridpur, and part of Noakhali District.||• Major Khaled Mosharraf (April 10, 1971 – September 22, 1971) |
• Major ATM Haider (Sector Commander September 22, 1971 – February 14, 1972)
|3||Area between Churaman Kathi (near Sreemangal) and Sylhet in the north and Singerbil of Brahmanbaria in the south.||• Major K. M. Shafiullah (April 10, 1971 – July 21, 1971) |
• Captain A. N. M. Nuruzzaman (July 23, 1971 – February 14, 1972)
|4||Area from Habiganj District on the north to Kanaighat Police Station on the south along the 100 mile long border with India. The headquarters of the sector was initially at Karimganj and later at Masimpur.||• Major Chitta Ranjan Dutta (April 10, 1971 – February 14, 1972) |
• Captain A Rab
|5||Area from Durgapur to Dawki (Tamabil) of Sylhet District and the entire area up to the eastern borders of the district. The headquarters of the sector was at Banshtala.||• Major Mir Shawkat Ali (April 10, 1971 – February 14, 1972)|| |
|6||Rangpur District and part of Dinajpur District. The headquarters of the sector was at Burimari near Patgram.||• Wing Commander M Khademul Bashar (April 1971 – February 14, 1972)|| |
|7||Rajshahi, Pabna, Bogra and part of Dinajpur District. The headquarters of the sector was at Taranngapur.||• Major Nazmul Huq (April 10 – September 27, 1971) |
• Major Quazi nooruzzaman (September 30 – February 14, 1972)
• Subedar Major A Rab
|8||In April 1971, the operational area of the sector comprised the districts of Kushtia, Jessore, Khulna, Barisal, Faridpur and Patuakhali. At the end of May the sector was reconstituted and comprised the districts of Kuhstia, Jessore, Khulna, Satkhira and the northern part of Faridpur district. The headquarters of the sector was at Benapole.||• Major Abu Osman Chowdhury (April 10 – July 17, 1971) |
• Major Abul Manzoor (August 14, 1971 – February 14, 1972)
|9||Barisal, Patuakhali, and parts of the district of Khulna and Faridpur.||• Major M. A. Jalil (July 17 – December 24, 1971) |
• Major MA Manzur
• Major Joynal Abedin
|10||This sector was constituted with the naval commandos.||• Commander HQ BD Forces (December 3–16, 1971)||None.|
|11||Mymensingh and Tangail along with parts of Rangpur - Gaibandha, Ulipur, Kamalpur and Chilmari. The headquarters of the sector was at Teldhala until October 10, then transferred to Mahendraganj.||• Major Ziaur Rahman (June 26, 1971 – October 10, 1971; |
• Major Abu Taher (October 10, 1971 – November 2, 1971(after battle of Kamalpur);
• Captain Abdul Aziz) (November 2, 1971 – February 14, 1972)
Map Courtesy: Bangladesh Land Port Authority
Land Ports of Bangladesh
Map Courtesy: Banglapedia
Wildlife any vertebrate animal other than human being, domesticated animals and fishes, living in its natural habitat. Members of Amphibia, Reptilia, Aves, and Mammalia, their eggs or youngs are included in wildlife. Wild animals can live independently without the help or care of man. Not necessarily a wild animal has to live in forests or jungles; a wall lizard, a sparrow, a pigeon, a myna or a crow are all members of wild fauna.
In an area of about 1,47,570 sq km, Bangladesh has about 34 species of amphibians, 109 species of reptiles, 301 species of resident birds, 176 species of migratory birds, 143 species of ragrant birds, 30 species of birds went extirpated, 120 species of inland mammals, and 3 species of marine mammals.
This is undoubtedly extraordinary situation that such a great diversity still exists in an unusually overpopulated (140 million, with more than 1000 people per sq km) country with a very limited range of habitats.
Bangladesh has lost more than a dozen of wild fauna during the last century. Of them the following could be mentioned: One horned-Rhinoceros, Rhinoceros unicornis; Javan Rhinoceros, R. sondaicus; Asiatic two-horned Rhinoceros, Didermoceros sumatrensis; Gaur, Bos gaurus; Banteng, B. banteng; Wild buffalo, Bubalus bubalis; Nilgai, Boselaphus tragocamelus; Swamp deer, Cervus duvaucelli; Wolf, Canis lupus; Pink-headed duck, Rhodonessa caryophyllacea; Common peafowl, Pavo cristatus; and Marsh crocodile, Crocodylus palustris (Redbook of Threatened Animals: IUCN-Bangladesh, 2000).
Since most wild animals largely depend upon the growth, extent and distribution of forests, decline of these natural habitats severely and adversely affect most inland and resident vertebrate fauna. In the last three decades, the stock of forest trees has declined in Bangladesh at an alarming rate. It is estimated that the forest cover has been reduced more than 50% since the 1970s. Estimates in 1990 revealed that Bangladesh had less than 0.02 ha of forestland per person - one of the lowest forest to population ratios in the world. Presently less that 8% of the country is under forest cover.
In Bangladesh amphibian fauna are represented by about 34 species of members of the order Anura. The orders Gymnophiona and Caudata have no representatives. For sometimes (1988-1993) the country used to export bullfrog legs (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus), but it is now banned.
The lizards, snakes, tortoises and turtles, crocodiles and gharial comprise the reptilian fauna of Bangladesh. A total of 154 species have been recorded. The marsh crocodile is no longer found in the wild in its natural habitats. The gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), few in number, occurs in a limited range in the river Padma.
Among the Testudines some including the River Terrapin (Batagur baska), Three-striped Roof Turtle (Kachuga dhongoka), Halud Pahari Kasim (Indotestudo elongata), Pahari Kasim (Asian Giant Tortoise, Manouria emys), and Bostami Kasim (Aspideretes nigricans) are critically endangered. The notable lizard species are the Flying lizard (Draco blanfordi) of the mixed evergreen forests, Monitor lizard (Varanus salvator), Bengal monitor (V. bengalensis), Yellow monitor (V. flavescens), Gecko (Gekko gecko), Garden lizard or Calotes (Calotes rouxii, C. jerdoni, C. versicolor), stripped skink (Mabuya dissimilis), and house lizards (Hemidactylus bowringii, H. brooki, H. flaviviridis, H. frenatus).
Less than half a dozen land snakes are highly poisonous. All sea snakes are known to be poisonous although they seldom bite. Important snakes of the country are Slender worm snake (Typhlops porrectus), Common sand boa (Eryx conica), Rock python (Python molurus), Reticulated python (Python reticulata), Common vine snake (Ahaetulla nasutus), Stripped keelback (Amphiesma stolata), Rat snake (Coluber mucosus, C. nigromarginatus), Common Trinket snake (Elaphe helena), Wolf snake (Lycodon aulicus, L. fasciatus, L. jara), Checkered Keelback (Xenochrophis piscator), Krait (Bungarus caeruleus, B. fasciatus, B. niger, B. lividus), Cobra (Naja kaouthia, N. naja), King cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), Pit vipers (Trimeresurus spp.), and Russell’s viper (Vipera russellii).
Bangladesh has about 650 species of avifauna. The Sarus cane, Grus antigone (about 1.7 m tall) is considered as the largest bird of the country, although it is rarely seen in recent times. A few flowerpeckers and sunbirds, only about 7-8 cm in length, are perhaps the smallest. Degradation of forests and consequent ecological alterations obviously affected the composition of the avifauna. Birds associated with forests of some sort or with a swampy habitat have declined. The Pinheaded duck (Rhodonessa carryophyllacea), the Nuka or Comb duck (Sarkidiornis melanotos), the Common peafowl, the Burmese peafowl (P. muticus), Sarus crane, and the Bengal Florican (Eupodotis bengalensis) which were once more or less widely distributed, have now virtually disappeared from Bangladesh.
Most birds that migrate to Bangladesh come from the mountainous northern parts of the subcontinent. Some species come from different parts of Europe and from Siberia. There are certain species that stay in Bangladesh for a short period enroute to their destinations further South or Southeast. There are many species which stay here during autumn or spring.
The country has about 120 species of mammals. They range in size from tiny shrews and pipistrelle bats, which weigh only a few grams and measure a few centimetres, to elephants that stand over 3 metres at shoulder and can weigh over 4 metric tons. The largest mammal, the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) measuring about 30 metres in length and weighing up to 150 metric tons, often enters in Bangladesh waters.
Among the inland mammals, the order Chiroptera (bats) is the largest group. Some notable Chiropterans are Short-nosed fruit bat, False vampire, Indian pigmy pipistrelle, Asiatic lesser yellow bat, and Painted bat. Among the primates mention may be made about the Slow loris, Assamese macaque, Rhesus macaque, Hanuman langur, Capped monkey, and Hoolock gibbon. Order Carnivora is represented by 27 species. The notable ones are Jackal, Indian wild dog, Jungle cat, Asiatic golden cat, Clouded leopard, Royal Bengal tiger, Marbled cat, Fishing cat, Common Mongoose, Oriental small-clawed otter, Common otter, Sun bear, Himalayan black bear, and several species of civets. The Asian elephant is now distributed only in the forests of Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar areas.
Artiodactyla is represented by one species of wild boar (Sus scrofa), three species of deer (Spotted deer/Sambar, Barking deer, and Indian Muntjac), and one species of serow. The three species of pangolin (order Pholidota) are-Scaly anteater (Manis crassicaudata), Malayan pangolin (M. javanica), and Chinese pangolin (M. pentadactyla). These are rarely seen and occur in the forests of Sylhet, Chittagong, Chittagong Hill Tracts, Comilla, and Mymensingh.
At least 21 species of Rodentia occur in Bangladesh. Among these some members of Muridae are widely distributed. The notable species are - House rat (Rattus rattus), Bram rat (R. norvegicus), house mouse (Mus musculus), and Bandicoot rat (Bandicota indica). The squirrels are represented by eight species; of these, the Pallas’s squirrel, Orange-bellied Himalayan squirrel, Common giant flying squirrel, and Malayan giant squirrel are notable. Only two species of porcupines occur in Bangladesh. These are - Asiatic brush-tailed porcupine (Atherurus macrourus) and Indian porcupine (Hystrix indica). The Hispis hare or Assam rabbit and Rufous-tail hare represent the order Lagomorpha. [SM Humayun Kabir]