Soil Resource Development Institute (SRDI)

Soil Management for Sustainable Agricultural Productivity in Bangladesh



The 'rules of road' by which agricultural researchers measure the impact of their work are being restudied. The first conclusion is that it is impossible to choose between food needs of today and food needs of 100 years from now. Somehow the food production system in Bangladesh must keep pace with the demand that 9 million new mouths place on it every year. Second, the natural resource base -land, water and plant species- must be preserved, and eventually upgraded, to fuel the agricultural giant that will have to satisfy the food demands of the future.


Today, the third world countries like Bangladesh produces three to four times as much food as it did in 1950s, but a predicted doubling of demand over the next 30 years will put extreme pressure on developing countries where birthrates are highest and resources fewest. Just to keep even, farmers must increase production 2.5% each year for the foreseeable future.


Bangladesh is a tropical country which extends from 20°30' and 26°38' N latitude and from 88°01' to 92°41' E longitude with a total area of 14.4 million hectares. It covers approximately one-thousandth part of the ice-free land surface of the earth. Unlike the true tropics, seasons here are defined by both moisture availability and temperature.

A broad comparison of the major land use types in Bangladesh with those of the world indicates that only 11% of the land of the world are presently cultivated whereas over 60% of the total land is currently cultivated. Grassland in the world covers 23% of the area, while in Bangladesh there no grass land. Forest occupies around 30% of the area, but in Bangladesh only 8% of the land area is under forest. This is a very ominous sign of gross imbalance of the use of our vital natural resource - land.


Land and soils are the most valued natural resource of Bangladesh. But they are either over exploited or under utilized due to poor resource management. The floodplain soils of Bangladesh occupying nearly 80% area is formed dominantly by the sediments deposited by the rivers- the Ganges and the Brahmaputra. The rest of the country is occupied by the older formation of Tertiary Hills (12%) and the Pleistocene Terrace (8%).


Bangladesh is a densely populated country of the world. The land-man ratio in Bangladesh presents a gradually declining trend over the past few decades. This ratio will decline further in the near future with the burgeoning population.

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