Document Type: 
Document Number (FOIA) /ESDN (CREST): 
Release Decision: 
Original Classification: 
Document Page Count: 
Document Creation Date: 
December 19, 2016
Document Release Date: 
August 18, 2005
Sequence Number: 
Case Number: 
Publication Date: 
January 1, 1985
Content Type: 
PDF icon CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9.pdf2.23 MB
STAT Approved For Release 2005/12/14 :CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 BANGLADESH: The Foodgrain Outlook Through 19 8 5 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 25X1 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 TZhl.e of Contents S tat:cmcnt: of Oh jectives and Conclusions . . . . . . 1 1. Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 A. The Agricultural Scene . . . . . . . . . . 4 B. The Human Environment. . . . . . . . . . . 6 C. Production Since 1.948. . . . . . . . . . . 7 D. Government Policy. . 9 II. Factors Affecting Future Demand. . . . . . . 12 III. Factors Affecting Future Supply. . . . . . . . 16 A. Weather and Climate. . . . . . . . . . . . 16 B. Agricultural Inputs. . . . . . . . . . . 18 C. Multiple Cropping. . 21 D. Institutional Barriers . . . . . . . . . . 23 IV. Production Shortfall in 1985 . . . . . . . . . 24 V. Financing Development and Grain Imports. . . . 27 Appendix 29 Tables 1-5 33-37 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 I3A'-,G1."'DES11 The roo a.rain Cui:Look ThroL'.Cih 1985 Obj~.Ctiyo_S The objectives of this paper al:e to assess past and prospective 13a;;c;ladesh agricultural development and, on the basis of this assess:,,ent, to forecast the probable 1985 gap between fooc?gr.ain production and requirements. Bangladesh agriculture responded favorably during the 1960s when the Pakistan government increased inw-estment in its east wing. Peak foodgrain production rose from 8.4 million tons during the 1950s to 12.1 million tons in FY 1970. After severe setbacks in focdgr?in production as a result of natural disasters and the civil war, foodgrain production in FY 1974 recovered to its FY 1970 level. Demand has continued to increase and imports rose to 2.9 million tons in FY 1973 before falling to 2.1 million tons last year, Dacca will have to give agriculture much more attention if the growth rate of the 1960s is to be maintained. Moreover, accelerated growth must be attained if the gap between demand and domestic production is not to widen over the next decade. The pressure of population growth on Bangladesh's agricul- tural resources has been growing at an increasing rate. No significant decline is in sight. Death rates have fallen Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 shai.:ply, hut family planning measures Have had virtually no impact. Budgetary support for birth control programs is minimal. foresee little change in the birth rate and project. a 1985 I_popul.aLion exceeding 115 million. Clearly, there is good potential for raising agricultural production. For example, Bangladesh ranks among the world's lowest in fertilizer application; irrigation can add six million acres to planted area in the dry season; and less than 15% of cultivated land is under high yielding varieties (IIYV) of grains. There are also substantial obstacles to the realization of Bangladesh's agricultural potential. Only since 1971 has Dacca had control over agricultural policies, and administrative experience is scarce. Dacca is likely to bow to expediency, adopting a patchwork of measures having limited impact. Areas that require particular attention include: Reduction in the population growth rate through vigorous family planning programs. More rapid development of irrigation, especially, of intensive systems capable of supporting the multiple cropping of HYVs. Flood control to protect farmland and reduce the annual variation in rice production. Massive improvement in the production and distri- bution of HYV seeds, fertilizer, and other agricultural inputs. Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875RO01900030060-9 I?xpandiric; ag.r, icultural credits and giving a larger shr.rc, to small farmers. We believe than. the Bangladesh government could formulate and implement policies, that would significantly reduce food- grain imports by 1.985. In the light of past performance, however, this is an unlike:.y achievement. We believe Bangladesh's agricultural policy will continue to be sporadically responsive to production shortfalls. Unless government performance changes dramatically, the 1985 gap between production and domestic demand appears likely to fall within a range of 3 million to 4 million tons. Then, as now, Bangladesh will have great difficulty financing imports to close that gap. Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 I. F3ackgrounci A. The Agricultural Scene Agriculture is Bangladesh's most important economic activity, contributing about. 601,i of gross domestic product (GDP), compared with 97i for manufacturing. More than three- quarters of the people are farmers. Nonetheless, Bangladesh is unable to feed its 80 million people and requires imports of 10% of total foodgrain consumption in normal years and up to 20% in poor years. Increasing domestic production is difficult and costly because all available land is already cultivated. Most farmers grow little more than enough to feed their own families. Production methods are primitive, farmers are burdened with debt, and yield per ac-=e is among the lowest in the world. Poverty hinders the adopting of improved agricultural methods. Many seek not the largest crop but the surest one. Rice is the mainstay of the diet and is grown almost to the exclusion of ocher cereals. Rice yields are largely influenced by the timing of rainfall and inundation. Two of the world's largest rivers, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, flow through Bangladesh, and a third -- the Meghna -- flows from Assam, the wettest part of India. The total annual flow of these rivers and their tributaries is twice that of the Mississippi. The summer monsoon deposits from 50 to 150 inches of rainfall, usually flooding vast areas and sometimes Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 causing widespread crop and property damage. In October the rains step, the land drains, and the rivers shrink, Generally, by February, drought conditions set in, and until Nay irrigation is required for crop gro,.;th. This hydrological cycle makes it necessary to e;:,ploy both flood control and irrigation systems to realize the regions' agricultural potential. The soil is fertile, and the climate permits plant growth throughout the year. There are three seasons a year in which rice can be cultivated, but they overlap to some extent so that the same land cannot carry all three. The three annual rice crops are (a) the aus harvest in July and August, (b) the aman harvest in November and December; and (c) the boro harvest in April and May (see Figure 1). They represent about 20%, 60%, and 20%, respectively, of rice output. The aman crop is grown practically throughout the country in both highlands and lowlands. It is sown earlier on lowlands to permit sufficient growth to withstand inundation by monsoon floods. The aus crop also is widespread, but has a shorter season and is limited to highlands to avoid monsoon flooding. The boro crop, grown during the dry season, is limited by irrigation requirements and is grown mainly in the marshy northeast. Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Bangladesh: Growing Seasons of Rice Crops Amm Highland M,an Loveland Boro Lowland Aus Highland Set LI I PrII ""- pant ~ lrror.7h Ilarvcst I--~I~i Figure 1 Growth i Gr;w;h ! Harvest / plant I j Growth -~ harvest c~ Plant 1 Saedn s 5-?=--- Plant Mom', liar ve%t Jul Aug Sap Oct Nov Dec Jo. Feb Mat Apt May Jun B. The Human Environnent The average land-owning villager possesses only 1.5 acrese He rents another acre from the well-to--do villagers and therefore cultivates 2.5 acres. This area is usually fragmented into ten or more plots, some of which may be a mile or more away from the homestead. He owns one scrawny cow for ploughing. The plow is a light 15 pound rig, which turns only two or three inches of soil. The principal family resource is the rice kept for consumption, the product from about two acres. Since the usual rent of rice land is 50% of the crop, the average villager will get little more than enough produce to feed his family and finance a few purchases of clothing, cooking oil, etc. If he becomes indebted to money lenders, he Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 barely manages interest p~:y7,ents, and an occasional bar]. year puts him even deeper into debt. The lives of the one-tenth of village laborers who are landless are even more grim. They are at the mercy of the landowners and are often evicted after a bad harvest. They earn two meals of rice and 25G to 355: a day during the peak of planting or harvesting season. In slack periods hardly one in four will get a job, and even then for only 20~ a day and no meals. During the slack season, therefore, the desparate jobless often travel 100 miles or more to public construction projects providing some employment. At planting or harvesting time, they move back to their home areas. C. Production Since 1948 Foodgrain output increased an average of 2.5% annually between FY 1948 and FY 1970, ending with peak output of 12.1 million metric tons in the last year (see Table 1). Most of the increase came during the 1960s, however, when output expanded at 3.4% per year compared with virtual. stagnation during the previous decade. Both acreage and yields expanded rapidly during the latter decade largely because of the increasing importance of the boro crop. Expansion of irrigation facilities allowed for a doubling of boro acreage during the decade (see Table 2). The.introduction of high yielding varieties of rice in the mid-1960s was also concentrated in the Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 ~.~' ~~ isJ~?:~731~K5'1~-44ifiY.~"'An~~"~2`,f; Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 bor.o crop causing yields to double (see Table 3) . Expansion of the aus and aman crops has been limited by the lack of adequate control of- monsoon flooding. IIYV rice demand more precise water control than traditional varieties. In FY 1972 HYV rice contributed 6%, 15%, and 52., of the rice output of the aus, aman, and Moro crops, resrectively. Rice production reached 12.0 million tons in FY 1974 according to the Agricultural Minister, but other expert observers estimate output at 12.3 million to 12.5 million tons. Even the government's lower estimate represents a 19% increase over the pr_eceeding year and signifies a recovery to pre- independence production levels. But with more mouths to feed, per capita production still has not recovered completely. Production during FY 1971 and FY 1973 was reduced by the cyclone of November 1970, the civil war of 1971, and the poor 1972 monsoon. Rice production has been inadequate to feed the population since the 1930s. During the 1950s East Pakistan slipped from near self-sufficiency in foodgrains to becoming a large importer as population growth accelerated while rice production stagnated (see Table 4). Even when rice production began increasing more rapidly during the 1960s, East Pakistan's food- grain imports continued to rise, especially when floods or drought reduced domestic production. Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Wry hw>!' .. Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 The 1974 monsoon has been heavy through the third week of Auqu:-,t hr:Lnging unusually severe flooding, especially in the eastern areas, An assessment of the crop damage cannot be made with any degree of accuracy before September. The government had earlier projected FY 1974 foodgrain imports at 1.7 million tons, of which at least 500,000 tons have already been arranged. D. Government Policy In its First Five Year Plan (FY 1974-78), Dacca has set a goal of foodgrain self-sufficiency by the last year of the Plan. Rice production is to sustain a growth rate of over 6s- annually -- un unprecedented rate. In addition, wheat output is to grow 32% per year. To accomplish such growth, Dacca is to undertake massive programs to expand irrigation, control annual flooding, increase HYV rice acreage, expand rural credit institutions, and improve availability of fertilizer, pesticides, and herbicides. One-quarter of the development budget has been allocated to agriculture and related sectors. Considering the meager resources available and the problems confronting agriculture, however, Bangladesh will be fortunate if foodgrain production simply keeps pace with population growth and the foodgrain deficit does not increase. The government's foodgrain distribution system was re-established and expanded by the UN following independence, Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 but its administration has since been returned to the govern-- ment. Official f_oodgra.i_n stocks are distribut.ocl through government fair price shops -- specially licensed small private stores. Food.grains P,nd other essential commodities are sold to ration card holders in fixed arnount.s and at set prices. Statutory rationing exists in four main cities --- Dacca, I;hulna, Chittagong, and Naraycinganj -- whore minimum foodgrai.i needs are provided to everyone --- about 6 pounds weelcly per adult. All other towns and rural food deficit areas have a modified ration system in which only the poorer segment of the population is issued ration cards and provided foodgrains. Substantial quantities of foodgrains are also issued under relief in the event of natural calamities or acute economic distress. Almost all of the grain for the ration shop system cones from imports. Although the government buys rice in the local markets, mainly from the aman crop, its acquisitions have fallen short. From the last aman crop, the government procurement target. was 400,000'tons, but only 67,000 tons were obtained because government agents offered prices substantially below free market price. The government's subsidized consumer programs do not conflict with its subsidies to grain growers. Ration shop prices are kept artificially low to retard cost of living increases, and the high cost of imported foodgrains is absorbed by the Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875ROO1900030060-9 government. The lot, procurement price for rice, however, is not a disincentive to d.crr,estic production because of the strong demand in the free ma.r%et. Agricultural inputs are also subsidized. In 1.9 73 subsidies aar,ounted to 19% for urea, 571t for phosphates, 55% for potash, 8071 for irrigation pumps, and pesticides were usually distributed free. The incentive provided by subsidizing agricultural inputs is difficult to determine.iri a country where three-quarters of foodgrain output is consumed by the grower. Shortage of foodgrains is one of the major causes of Bangladesh's continuing inflation. The price of rice has doubled since independence, but rose only about 20% last yea- because of increased production. The government has committed itself to holding the general price rise in FY 1975 below 10%, but achievment of this goal is unlikely. Along with actions in other sectors of the economy, Dacca has cut the subsidies on rationed foodstuffs, fertilizers, and pesticides. Last May, ration prices for rice and wheat were increased 33% and 44%, respectively, Because of the high price of rice in India and a black market currency exchange rate favoring the Indian rupee, there is significant smuggling of rice from Bangladesh to India. No one knows how much, but informed estimates range from 200,000 tons to 500,000 tons annually. To combat smuggling, Dacca discontinued Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-R15P85T00875R001900030060-9 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 free trade with India in its border areas. Dacca requires also thhaL the entire rice production from the husking mill.,, within ten miles of the border be sold to the government. Enforcement is difficult, however. II . Factors Af feet-. net Future Demand While there is substantial disagreement on the level of its present population, there is no doubt that Bangladesh is the worla's eighth most populous nation. Our estimate of population is based on several assumptions, all of them ' conservative : Population as of July 1970: 73.3 million (Range of estimates; 71.5 - 77.5 million) ? Population growth rate: 3.0%. (Range of estimates, 2.9 - 3.5%) Fatalities in November 1970 cyclone: 300,000 (Government of Pakistan estimate: 250,000) (Bangladesh claims of 500,000 appear inflated for political reasons) Fatalities in war for independence: 1.5 million (Bangladesh claims of 3 million appear inflated for political reasons) War refugee exodus to India: All forced to return. On the basis of these assumption, we estimate Bangladesh's mid-1974 population at 80.8 million. Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Dacca estir;;ateS' present annual growth rate of population at 3.09't- and has hopes for reducing this rate substantially, by 1985. Most demographers believe present population growth is closer to 3.3" and that there is little chance of reducing it significantly by 1985 especially since neorly half of the population is less than 15 years old. If population grew at 3.09% per year, it would reach 112.9 million in mid-1985. At 3.3% per year, population would reach 11.5.5 million. There is no precedent for a population of this magnitude living in an essentially rural envircnrient in an area the size of Louisiana. i Dacca has a small family planning program, but admits that almost nothing has been accomplished since independence. M .any Bengalis considered Pakistan's emphasis on family planning before independence as a political weapon to reduce East Pakistan's yV V L11111{C:ll1. L.L.L l.ll LV11LL V1 p uL i l.ln5 171:3u1 tiJ..C1C17L, Our. also tne pre-conditions for success of such programs do not yet exist. Although religion is not an obstacle to birth control, tradition and economics are. A large family is a form of social security and parents, aware of the high rate of child mortality, continue to have children until at least one son grows to manhood. The low level of literacy and economic development also hampers the success of any birth control program. These condit_ons are not likely to change rapidly in Bangladesh, where over 90% of the 13 - population relative to that of West Pakistan. Not only are Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 population lives in rural areas where they are engaged principally in agriculture. The quality of the average diet is very low and malnutrition is endemic. While: most of the rural population subsists on what they grow, the average urban wage-earning family spends about two-thirds of its budget on food. Consumption of leafy vegetables and meat is low, but abundant fish provide some protein. In most homes, only non-perishable foodstuffs can be stored. Thus, foodgrai.ns account for some three-quarters of the calories and 70% of the protein in the diet. There is almost no margin for decreasing per capita consumption, so declines in foodgrain availability could be disastrous. In general, Bangladesh's Population can be considered immobile, but the few cities provide a strong attraction for the rural population. When times become harder in the rural areas, because of drought, flood, or cyclone the flow to the cities becomes a torrent. In Bangladesh's three largest cities since 1961, Dacca's population has risen 193%, Khulna 439%, and Chittagong 139%. Despite rapid expansion, less than 10%?of the population lives in urban areas. There is also some illegal migration into India. Its magnitude is dependent on the current conditions in Bangladesh. Although a headache for India, the present migration is far less than has occurred during several periods since 1947. ''w.^ r..r .4t ~~S'.+ R.n..:. r! Y. r.r..!.a'('?n, i..:' :Yi+a: !~ Y".Y.!~".. ?.-....y... r- n.r'{. ?er+.?.-.Y.. ? n,r., v?.-T , _K.? Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 The continuing migration to the cities complicates the feeding and employment of the population. 't'he fangladesll govornmerit: pays a C is:pr_'crportioniito ar;ount of attention to its urban populations, part:lit because of their great density, and partly because city dwellers are often more sophisticated and politically active. Low incomes and high unemployment make the cities potential trouble spots. To feed large urban populations requires complex food distribution systems, unnecessary in rural areas. Another element affecting future foodgrain demand is the price and income elasticity of demand -- the degree to which changes in the price of foodgrains and average income will affect demand for foodgrains. Tvo factors led to the exclusion of price elasticity from consideration: ? Since foodgrains make up such a large part of the diet and substitutes are scarce, it is reasonable to assume that price elasticity of demand is low. ? There is no reliable method for predicting changes in the Bangladesh price structure over the next decade. Therefore, it is assured that the price structure remains basically unchanged. The income elasticity of demand for foodgrains, on the other hand, cannot be ignored because per capita income levels Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 probably will change significantly over the next decade. Sample. measur:crnents of income elasticity in Bangladesh in the period F't i9 E i -G J by the Iiarvar_rd University Center for Popu- lation Studios, using several different methods of calculation, range from .32 to .40. (An income ei lasticity of .35 means that for each 1% increase in per capita income, the demand for foodgrains would increase 0.35%.) III. Factors Affecting Future Sunoly A. Weather and Climate Foodgrain production will continue to be largely dictated by rainfall and flooding. Rainfall changes during any one year can drop foodgrain output by 10% or more. Like- wise, highly favorable weather for a few years raises output rapidly. Nevertheless, output projections for even one year, much less for 10 years, must be made with the assumption of normal or average weather, because there is no reliable methodology for predicting weather patterns at present. The world's climatologists have theories and are developing techniques, but none is advanced enough to be reliably applied to Bangladesh. The next most important determinant of foodgrain production is the annual flood, which occurs sometime during the monsoon. Two-thirds of the cultivated area is inundated to a depth of more than one foot, one-third to a depth of three feet, and Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 about 1.5% to a depth of more than six feet. Villagers are accustomed to such "normal floods" and their crops are adapted to it. The uncertainties of timing, duration, extent, and depth of floods result in considerable crop losses, as well as property damage. Early floods ruin young rice plants in the fields or destroy seed beds. If the flood is late and persists while the rice is in flower, yields fall sharply. Floods usually rise and fall fairly quickly, but if they stand over four days, many rice plants are destroyed. If the flood is too deep, short-stemmed rice plants on relatively high ground will. drown. If the flood is not deep enough, rice on the high ground will not get sufficient moisture. Cyclonic storms are another threat, sometimes even more damaging than the annual floods. Tropical storms moving up the the Bay of Bengal, frequently batter the coastal regions and/flat delta terrain is defenseless against the tidal waves that often accompany them. The strong winds and heavy rains can flatten rice fields for 50 ,to 100 miles inland. Crop damage and loss of life caused by cyclones has worsened as population pressure forces more people into the vulnerable coastal area. A government program to reduce salt water damage to coastal croplands started in 1959. Over 2,200 miles of embankments have been buil.t. Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 The dovolopment of water resources in Bangladesh has lagged behind that of the re:,t of the subcontinent for two main reasons. Fx r. st, agricultural production met the needs of the people until the 1930s. Second, the development of water resources, whether by irrigation of dry lands or by protection and drainage of flooded lands, is relatively expensive and technically complex in the Bangladesh environment;. B. 11grcultural Inputs Accelerating foodgrain output depends heavily upon raising rice yields by increased use of IIYVs, fertilizer, and pesticides. The potential for raising yields of traditional varieties is quite limited. The latter are relatively tall, weak-stemmed plants. Abundant application of fertilizer produces heavier heads causing the plants to fall over or lodge. Increased rice yields, therefore, require a major modification in rice cultivation. HYV rice, originally developed by the International Rice Research Institute-in the Philippines, has shorter and stronger stems capable of holding much larger heads. Yields double that of traditional varieties are common with proper care. While HYV rice opens up enormous production possibilities, it is definitely not "miraculous." It requires difficult adjustments in institutions and cultural practices if full benefits are to be reaped. Pest control, weed control, better land preparation, Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 controlled irrigation, proper: timing in transplanting, and appropriate use of fertilizers are all. necessary to take ar3.vantage of the new teechnol.ogy. T'?.is implies a heavy burden on research, extension and educational service. One of the original HYV rice varieties, IRS,. was introduced in 1966 for use in the }bboro and aus crops. But IRS was not popular because of poor taste and milling qualities, suscepti- bility to local diseases, and a relatively long growing period that made it difficult to fit into the normal seasonal culti- vation pattern. The newer IR20 variety, introduced in 1970, overcame most of these difficulties. IR20's short growing period increases the possibilities for double and triple cropping. On the negative side, IR20 can only withstand inundations of up to one foot and therefore, is unsuitable for growth during the monsoon, season except in relatively high areas. Despite encouraging results, especially in the boro crop, adoption has been slow because of the civil war and the persisting economid dislocations. The government's Rice Research Institute near Dacca is developing hybrids with traditional varieties that will stand deep inundation. Some progress has been made on new varieties that can be used in the aus crop, but none have been developed that grow under the deep flood conditions of the aman crop. Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Use of manufactured fertilizer in Bangladesh has always been extremely li.initcd. Silt deposited by the annual floods has kept the land fertile despite extensive cropping for centuries. But crop production can be enhanced greatly by application of fertil izers . In recent years, the average fertilizer dose has been 10 pounds of nutrient per acre -- less than 5% of the recommended level. Proper fertilization is essential to realize the full potential of HYV rice. As its use becomes more extensive, Bangladesh's fertilizer requirements will expand rapidly. The fertilizer program originally overemphasized the use of urea (nitrogen) to the exclusion of other fertilizers because of its availability from domestic production. Since the introduction of HYV rice, however, a more balanced use of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium has been achieved. Bangladesh has two urea fertilizer plants, , use its abundant natural. gas supplies. A third, financed by the World Bank, USAID, and others, is expected to increase productive capacity by about 75% by 1978. At that point the country will be able to meet its increasing demand for nitrogen fertilizer without imports. Two phosphate fertilizer plants are presently idle due to lack of raw materials, but will provide nearly 20% of consumption when pr.oduc.'?i.on resumes. Potassium fertilizer requirements will continue to be met by imports. Distributing Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA-RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 and marketing fertilizer is a greater problem than production. Transportation from ports and district warehouses is deficient., and inadequate credit arrangements inhibit timely sales to farmers. Plant protection measures are essential to averting large crop losses because insects, weeds and crop diseases flourish in the hot and humid climate. With the introduction of HXV rice, the returns from protective measures increase signifi- cantly. In 1.970, only about one-third of the rice acreage received any pesticides, and most applications were scanty. Herbicides also are underutilized. Weeds take a heavy toll in reduced yields. Experiments are now being pursued to make the newer rice varieties more resistant to disease by cross- breeding with traditionF.i varieties. C. Multiple Cronpinq To continue agricultural expansion beyond the next several years, new land must be brought under cultivation. While virtually.all arable land is already cultivated, only 35% is cropped more than once a year. Labor is abundant and the climate is amenable to year-round plant growth. But monsoonal floods make expansion of acreage during the summer season possible only through extensive flood control and drainage facilities. Such projects are costly and require long leadtimes. Approved For Release 2005/12/14: CIA=RDP85T00875R001900030060-9 The main hope for expanding acreage lies with the dry season boro crop, which is confined to about 20% of the suitable acreage for lack of moisture. Groundwater is abundant but its utilization has i