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Citation Information

Type Report
Title A Biophysical and Socioeconomic Characterization of the Cereal Production Systems of Northwest Bangladesh
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
URL http://csisa.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/06/Raghu-2016-Biophysical-and-socioeconomic-charact​erization-of-cereal-systems-in-Bangladesh.pdf
The present study assesses cereal production in selected areas of NW-Bangladesh, especially
with respect to the biophysical and socio-economic characterization of cereal producing farm
households. Three major cereal crops, namely rice, wheat, and maize dominate the cultivated
land area (84%), as well as the overall agricultural economy, of Bangladesh. Positive change to
the sustainability and productivity of these cereal systems are crucial to the domestic food
security of both urban and rural Bangladesh, as around 2 million people are being added to the
country’s population annually. The land available to agriculture in this country is also under
constant pressure from land degradation and transfer to alternative uses. Meeting the growing
demand for food and feed by increasing food grain production has therefore become a pressing
challenge for the country, and the importance of resource conservation and productivity
enhancement as part of the response is increasingly recognized in the region. Against this
backdrop, the empirical part of the study estimates the economics of cereal production and
conventional technology diffusion with which the potential of conservation agriculture (CA) in
the region can be assessed.
Primary data required for the study was collected from sampled households through personal
interviews using a comprehensive and pre-tested questionnaire. The primary data collection was
carried out in 18 villages of three districts in northwest Bangladesh (Dinajpur, Rajshahi and
Nilphamari). The shares of cultivable area to the total land area in the study sites are 77%
(Dinajpur), 74% (Nilphamari), and 63% (Rajshahi). Prior to sampling farm households, a
village census was enabled to document the general village characteristics such as population,
land-use, infrastructure, agricultural input-output markets and prices. A comprehensive baseline
household survey (324 households) followed based upon the random selection of farm
households. In order to examine the characteristics of the households more extensively, the
sample was categorized into three mutually exclusive groups by landholding size: small (0.66
acres, lower 33%), medium (between 0.67 and 1.64 acres, middle 33%), and large (greater than
1.64 acres, upper 33%) farmers. Medium and smallholdings dominate the study area, with
cereal producing subsistence farmers prevalent among the smallholders.
Among the sampled households, crop production is the major source of income and livelihood –
contributing to 38% of total annual household income, on average. Unsurprisingly, large
farmers derive a greater share of their income from cropping (55%) than small farmers (25%).
On average, the large farmers cultivated land 6.3 times greater in area than do the small
farmers. The average rent for the leasing of the land was BDT 14,572 per acre, while the same
for leasing out was BDT 17,264 per acre. The ability of farmers in developing countries to
invest in land is largely influenced by some form of credit access. About 48% of sampled
farmers have taken some form of credit with an average amount of BDT 18,385, with large
farmers taking more credit (BDT 28,451) than small (BDT 11,140) and medium (BDT 15,688)
farmers. However, small farmers are paying a higher interest rate (26%) than the medium
(24%) and large farmers (19%).

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