The rate of agricultural households in the country’s rural areas has decreased by 2.92 per cent over the last 10 years due to rapid urbanisation and shift of farmers to non-agriculture occupations, according to the preliminary report of the Agriculture Census 2019.
A total of 53.82 per cent rural households have been found to own 0.05 acre or above of cultivable land, defined as agricultural households, in 2019 compared to 56.74 per cent in the 2008, showed the report of the census, carried out by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.
The absolute number of farm households, however, increased to 1.59 crore in 2019 from 1.44 crore in 2008.
The report, which was released on Sunday by the BBS, an agency of the Statistics and Informatics Division of the planning ministry, at a function at its auditorium in Dhaka, said that the share of farm households in the total rural households was 66.18 per cent in 1996.
There are a total of 1.66 crore farm households across the country while the number of general households 3.55 crore in 2019. The number of rural households was 2.96 crore.
According to the census report, at the national level, a total of 40.24 lakh households or 11.33 per cent of the total 3.55 crore households in the country are absolutely landless, who do not own any type of land.
The intensity of landlessness is much greater in urban areas where 28.79 per cent households do not own any type of land while 7.84 per cent or 23.23 lakh of rural households are landless, the report says, adding that Dhaka division has the highest 18.64 per cent landless households.
In the 2008 census, 12.84 per cent or 32.56 lakh rural households were landless.
The number of farm-labour households also declined to 30.29 per cent or 89.74 lakh in rural areas in 2019 from 34.90 per cent or 88.49 lakh in 2008.
According to the latest count, the number of cows across the country stands at 2.85 crore while the number of buffaloes reached 7.18 lakh in the year.
There are now 1.93 crore goats and the current number of sheep stands at 8.92 lakh, the census report says.
The census has also found that the number of poultries in the country is 18.93 crore while that of ducks stands at 6.75 crore.
Of the livestock, the census count has found around 2.76 crore cows, 1.88 crore goats and 18.19 crore poultries in the country’s rural areas.
The census has also found that the number of fishery households in the country is 9.95 lakh.
The BBS did not provide any comparison between the numbers of poultries and livestock animals found in 2008 and 2019 agriculture censuses.
But, according to a survey of privately cultivated biological resources launched in 2014 and published in 2018 by the BBS, the number of cows and goats was 2.39 crore and 2.59 crore respectively 2014.
At the launching ceremony of the 2019 Agriculture Census, agriculture secretary Md Nasiruzzaman stressed on collecting authentic and credible data.
He said that there remained gaps between the BBS data and the agriculture ministry statistics causing problems in planning.
‘We have found a gap of 13 lakh tonnes in the country’s aman production between the BBS estimate and the ministry figure,’ he said.
‘Farmers do not get fair price of rice in absence of credible production data’, he further said.
Fisheries and livestock secretary Md Raisul Alam Mondal recommended that a few more indicators, including livestock productivity, egg output and hilsa production, in the census.
Planning minister MA Mannan said that his ministry would consider the recommendations from agriculture, fisheries and livestock ministries.
Statistics and Informatics Division secretary Saurendra Nath Chakrabhartty said that it would take another year to release the final report of the census.
BBS director general Mohammad Tajul Islam, Agriculture (Crops, Fisheries and Livestock) Census 2018 project director Jafor Ahmed Khan also spoke at the programme.
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