Bangladesh survived its bloodshed liberation war in 1971, but it left the country struggling in the years that followed. Despite this, Bangladesh managed to steadily increase its rice production from 16 million tons before independence to about 48 million tons in 2009. This was largely because of modern rice varieties coupled with improved management practices and irrigation development that helped farmers to increase their yield per hectare.
Modern rice production technologies gave Bangladesh an impetus to become nearly self-sufficient in rice production despite monsoons and floods, which took their toll on rice production efforts. The steady increases in rice production also helped the country avert food insecurity in the face of severe natural disasters such as major floods in 1987, 1988, and 1998.
Collaborating with Bangladesh on different areas that includes developing better rice varieties, strengthening rice-based farming systems along with improving crop cultivation practices, and others, helped the country raise its level of rice production and minimize the intensity of food insecurity during major floods and monsoons.
Compared with other countries in which rice is also a staple, Bangladesh shows a higher per capita rice consumption and two-thirds of the population are said to be engaged in livelihood activities related to rice. Rice is mostly grown by smallholder farmers, who sell some of it when there is little surplus, but use it mostly for their family's consumption.
IRRI's collaboration with Bangladesh dates to more than 30 decades. The two collaborated on wide areas of scope, which helped Bangladesh gain a foothold again in rice production after its liberation. This deeply-rooted partnership has since grown and there will be no signs of it slowing down in the future continues to push against challenges.
Helping farmers catch up
in southwestern Bangladesh