Fifty years of agricultural development in Bangladesh: a comparison with India and Pakistan
agricultural development, Bangladesh, production function, productivity growth
Since its independence in 1971, Bangladesh has made remarkable economic progress, evolving from a low-income to a lower-middle-income country. Its agricultural sector remains essential for the economy and food and nutrition requirements despite having a gradually declining share of GDP and employment. This paper examines various aspects of the agricultural growth of Bangladesh using different forms of analysis, including the use of a log-linear Cobb–Douglas production function. Empirical models include the ordinary least-squares method for investigating the agricultural growth in Bangladesh since independence and the generalized least square method for the cross-country comparison with India and Pakistan. We observe that Bangladesh underwent a typical sectoral transformation in employment and GDP growth, transferring labor from the low-productive agriculture sector to the high-productive manufacturing and service sectors. Such a transformation was due to the declining labor demand in the agriculture sector because of growing mechanization as well as the increased labor demand from rural off-farm activities and manufacturing and service sectors, resulting in enhanced rural wages and standard of living. The agriculture sector of Bangladesh, despite its continuously declining contribution to GDP, remains vital for sustained food and nutrition security and economic growth. The low values of calculated output elasticities from our regression results imply a limited growth possibility with the existing technology. Despite this and several other constraints, the agriculture sector has potential for growth by developing and adopting appropriate technology and realizing efficiency gains from proper input and output mixes. These need to be supported by appropriate policies and institutions. As land is a major constraint, less land-intensive subsectors like livestock and poultry should also be explored among the possible policy recommendations.
Islam, S., Ghosh, S. & Podder, M. (2022). Fifty years of agricultural development in Bangladesh: a comparison with India and Pakistan. SN Business & Economics, 2, article 71. https://doi.org/10.1007/s43546-022-00240-3
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