Bangladesh Agriculture and Fishing Overview

Agriculture and fishing

The delta landscape in Bangladesh is very fertile; the water supply is good and the rivers are constantly fertilizing with nutrient rich deposits from higher land. Normally, one fifth of the country is flooded during the monsoon rains. Harvests can be harvested three times a year. The second most important crop is rice.

  • CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of Bangladesh. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.

The blessing of the landscape is also a curse – floods and cyclones periodically cause great havoc.

Two thirds of the country is cultivated. Agriculture and forestry and fishing account for just under one sixth of GDP and employ almost half of the population. Most of the farms are very small. However, the land is unevenly distributed, half of the rural population owns no land at all. Several attempts at land reform have been made, but the large landowners have managed to circumvent the rules on how much land they may own. For Bangladesh defense and foreign policy, please check recipesinthebox.

Rice is grown on 80 percent of agricultural land and constitutes the basic food for the Bangladeshi. Due to increased irrigation, new technology and better rice varieties, the harvests have increased in recent decades. At the turn of the millennium, Bangladesh became self-sufficient for rice for the first time. But the rice crops are sensitive to the recurring floods and sometimes the state is forced to import food.

Wheat cultivation has increased significantly and wheat is now the second most important crop. Tea, sugar cane, tobacco and cotton are also grown. Cotton cultivation is relatively new in Bangladesh and aims to reduce the high import costs of raw materials for the textile and clothing industry.

Jute is the largest export commodity in agriculture. Bangladesh and India are the world’s largest exporters of jute and jute products. Synthetic materials appeared to threaten jute as a material in, for example, sackcloth and carpet, but the jute industry now seems to have recovered.

After extensive forest harvesting, perhaps a tenth of the land area today consists of forest, of which almost half is planted. Most of the harvested forest is used as firewood.

Fish account for a significant portion of the population’s protein intake. Fishing is conducted both in the countless watercourses in the countryside and in the sea off the coast. Frozen fish and frozen shrimp have become increasingly important export goods during the 2000s. Growth potential is also considered good, not least the cultivation in fresh water is increasing.


Agriculture’s share of GDP

13.1 percent (2018)

Percentage of land used for agriculture

70.6 percent (2016)

  • Offers how the 3-letter acronym of BGD stands for the state of Bangladesh in geography.



Grand victory for the ruling party

December 30

The ruling Awami League wins big in parliamentary elections. The Awami Association receives 257 of the 300 mandates that are at stake, while parties affiliated with the Awami Association take home 31 mandates. GDP makes a disaster choice with 6 mandates. Allies with GDP win 2 seats. Three mandates go to independent candidates and one mandate is vacant. The opposition accuses the government of electoral fraud and demands re-election. A BNP spokesman said “irregularities” occurred in 221 of 300 electoral districts. The electoral authority shall investigate the allegations of cheating but reject the claim for re-election. The electoral movement has been characterized by concern and violence. At least 17 people are reported to have lost their lives, and thousands have been arrested.

Electoral violence is increasing

December 20

The contradictions between the Awami League and GDP are getting worse as the election approaches. The two parties accuse each other of irregularities and attacks. According to the AFP news agency, at least six people have been killed in election-related violence between supporters of both parties: four GDP supporters and two Awami allies. GDP states for media that 152 of the party’s 300 candidates in the election have been attacked by supporters of the Awami League and that thousands of supporters have been arrested, including 14 candidates.

Nearly 2,000 GDP supporters arrested

December 10

When the election campaign begins for the December 30 parliamentary elections, GDP has not yet presented its prime ministerial candidate. Party officials say nearly 2,000 supporters have been arrested since the election was announced in November, including eleven people who are running for GDP. Police say all those arrested had an arrest warrant against them even before the election was announced. Prime Minister Hasina has not dissolved Parliament before the elections or let an independent interim government take over, which the opposition demanded.


Forced relocation of Rohingyes is absent

November 15

Myanmar’s and Bangladesh’s joint plans to force a number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh to return to Myanmar are halted by the Bangladeshi government following criticism from the outside world. Nor does any single Rohingy choose to voluntarily move back. The UN and a number of human rights organizations have warned that the security situation in the Myanmar state of Rakhine is still too uncertain for the refugees. Hundreds of Rohingya refugees protest the repatriation agreement (see November 2017).

The parliamentary elections are postponed for a week

November 12

The authorities postponed the parliamentary elections one week to December 30, 2018, following complaints from the opposition about an overly short electoral movement.

GDP is up for election

November 11

The BNP announces that it will not boycott the parliamentary elections on December 23, even though the party has expressed doubts that the election will be democratic. The Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami is prohibited from participating in the elections. Several of its leaders are likely to run for GDP instead.

December parliamentary elections

November 8

Election authorities announce that parliamentary elections will be held on December 23, 2018. A few hours before the announcement, opposition leader Khaleda Zia will be taken from the hospital where she has been staying one month back to prison where she is serving a ten-year sentence for corruption and seven years for abuse of power.


Zia’s imprisonment is extended

October 30th

Khaleda Zia’s five-year prison sentence for corruption, which she was sentenced in February 2018, is extended to ten years after the prosecutor’s side appealed the verdict.

Zia is sentenced to prison, again

October 29th

Khaleda Zia, former GDP leader and prime minister, is sentenced to seven years in prison for abuse of power with links to charity funds. According to her supporters, the power-holders by imprisoning her try to prevent Zia from running for the next election. Zia is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for corruption.

GDP forms a middle alliance

October 13

GDP merges with middle parties in an alliance called the United National Front (Jatiya Oikya Front). Former Foreign Minister Jural Kamal Hossain steps up as an alliance leader in Khaleda Zias and son Tarique Rahman’s absence (both incarcerated). The Alliance publishes a list of seven demands, including the dissolution of Parliament before elections and the country during the election movement to be led by an unpolitical transitional government. Among the alliance parties are secular parties and Kamal Hossain co-wrote the secular constitution for the country’s independence in 1971. The alliance means that GDP distances itself from Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami.

Nineteen death sentences for attack on Sheikh Hasina

October 10

Nineteen people are sentenced to death for involvement in a grenade attack against an election in Dhaka in 2004, when supporters of the Awami League gathered to listen to party leader Sheikh Hasina (now prime minister, then opposition leader). About 20 people were killed in the attack and Hasina suffered hearing damage. After the death sentences have been announced, opposition supporters go into protest actions in several cities and call the judges a “political revenge”. The imprisoned GDPleader Khaleda Zia’s son Tarique Rahman is sentenced in his absence (in exile in London since 2008) to life imprisonment for conspiracy and a series of murders. Rahman leads GDP during Zia’s time in prison. Among those sentenced to death are two former ministers and two former chiefs of the intelligence service. Fifteen members of the banned extremist Islamist group Huji (Harkat-ul jihad al-Islami) also receive the death penalty. In Bangladesh, the death penalty is common and hundreds of people are imprisoned waiting for execution, which is done by hanging.

Relocation of refugees to the island is postponed

October 1st

Bangladesh postpones the planned relocation of Rohingya refugees to the island of Bhashan Char in the Bay of Bengal following resistance from the refugees who fear the cyclones that occasionally sweep across the island. It was intended that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina should have inaugurated the new refugee center on the island on October 3, but this has now been postponed. No reason was stated, but the move from the overcrowded camps on the border to Myanmar would have taken place in June, before the monsoon rains began to fall. Over one million refugees are gathered in the camps in the east. No new move date was specified.


New media restrictions

September 19

Parliament is voting for a law that limits journalists’ ability to use electronic equipment in certain situations; Among other things, a journalist can be sentenced to 14 years in prison for espionage if they enter a public building and gather information with hidden electronic equipment, for example during an interview with a civil servant. Spreading “negative propaganda” about the 1971 liberation war with electronic equipment or country father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman can give life imprisonment. According to the telecommunications minister who proposed the law, it should limit crime and protect the lives and assets of individuals, but it receives sharp criticism from journalists who believe that the law severely limits media freedom and democracy.

GDP sets requirements to participate in the elections

1 September

BNP supporters carry peaceful events around the country to mark the party’s 40th anniversary. In Dhaka, thousands of people are gathering in the GDP’s first large gathering in the capital since January 2016. In connection with the manifestations, the party makes a number of demands for it to participate in the December 2018 elections: Parliament is dissolved before the elections, the members of the electoral commission are replaced and the military should be deployed during Election Day to ensure voter safety. All the political prisoners of GDP must be released, including President Khaleda Zia, who is imprisoned for corruption and more.


Suggested death penalty for certain deaths in traffic

August 6th

The government is proposing the introduction of the death penalty for a person who knowingly caused a death in traffic. The proposal is an attempt to put an end to the ongoing student demonstrations.

Over 1,000 are injured in student protests

August 4th

A week of student protests culminate as police shoot teargas and rubber-coated bullets at protesters on Dhaka’s streets. In total, about 1,000 people are injured in the unrest. The protests were triggered when two teenagers were driven to death by a bus driver holding too high speeds. The protesters protest against poor road safety but also against the government in general. At least twelve activists on social media are arrested, suspected of spreading rumors in connection with the protests. Some arrested have spread the rumor that four girls were raped and two protesters killed during the protests.


HD: “Zia to be released”

May 16

The Supreme Court decides that BNP leader Khaleda Zia should be released from prison for health reasons. Zia is sentenced to five years in prison for corruption (see February 2018). Zia is taken to a hospital later in the year where she stays for a month before being imprisoned again.


The UN Security Council visits refugees

April 29

A UN Security Council delegation visits refugee camps outside Cox’s Bazar and in no man’s land on the border with Myanmar (formerly Burma). Again, Muslim refugees from Myanmar testify about torture, rape and murder. Several thousand Rohingyians conduct a demonstration demanding justice before being dispossessed by the police.

Students in protest against quota system

April 12

Student leaders cancel demonstrations that have been going on for five days in protest of a quota system that gives certain groups preference for services within the state administration. In particular, students are upset by the benefit of survivors of veterans of the Civil War of 1971. Many students are arrested when the demonstrations become violent. The protests, in which tens of thousands of students participate, are suspended after Prime Minister Hasina says the quota should be abolished.


The release of Zia is stopped

March 19

The Supreme Court amends a decision by a lower court to release BNP leader Khaleda Zia free of bail until May. Zia’s lawyers say the change was not made by the Supreme Court, but by the government. They accuse Prime Minister Hasina of trying to silence the opposition ahead of the general elections to be held during the year. Zia is serving a five-year prison sentence for corruption.

About 40 men are sentenced to death for politician murder

the 13th of March

Thirty-nine men are sentenced to death by hanging for a brutal politician assassination in 2014. Ekramul Haque was leader of the Awami League in the Feni district of eastern Bangladesh when he was dragged out of his vehicle by a mob in the middle of the day, severely hacked with machete and then shot dead. The 48-year-old’s dead body was then put back in the vehicle, which caught fire. Several of Haque’s employees were injured at the same time.

The GDP leader is temporarily released to the guarantor

the 12th of March

The country’s imprisoned opposition leader Khaleda Zia is released on bail four months after she appealed against her sentence to five years in prison for bribery.

UN envoy: Ethnic cleansing continues

6 March

The ethnic cleansing targeting Rohingya in Myanmar (formerly Burma) continues. This is stated by UN envoy Andrew Gilmour after visiting the refugee camps in Bangladesh. According to Gilmour, the refugees testify about how bloodshed and mass rape have now been changed to “a more low-intensity campaign of terror and forced famine”. Gilmour adds that it is impossible to imagine that a Rohingya could return to Myanmar in the near future, despite the repatriation agreement signed between Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Renowned author is cut

March 3rd

Writer Zafar Iqbal ends up in hospital after being stabbed during a seminar in the city of Sylhet in northern Bangladesh. A young, former student at an Islamic school is arrested for the act. He says Iqbal, known as a champion for freedom of speech and for a secularBangladesh, is “an enemy of Islam”. Iqbal has stated its support for the legal processes of recent years against high-ranking Islamic leaders. The attack on the author is thus one of a wide range of violent crimes directed at writers, writers or bloggers who oppose the Islamization of Bangladeshi society. Over the last four years, more than 10 writers and bloggers have been killed in this way. According to the police, a Bangladeshi Islamic extremist group, Ansarullah Bangla Team (or Ansar al Islam), is behind the majority of attacks. The group is believed to have links to the Islamist terrorist network al-Qaeda.

Protest against Myanmar military at the border

March 2

The Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry calls on Myanmar’s (formerly Burma) ambassador to Dhaka and protests that Myanmar is deploying militarily in a border zone between the countries where thousands of Rohingya have camped. Bangladesh demands immediate troop retreat, but Myanmar defends its presence in the zone, which is described as a kind of no-man’s land, with militant Rohingya learning to stay there.


President Hamid re-elected

February 9

President Hamid is re-elected by Parliament for a new five-year term. No other person is running for office as head of state.

Khaleda Zia is sentenced to five years in prison

February 8

Opposition Party GDP President Khaleda Zia is sentenced to five years in prison for embezzling a quarter of a million dollars from his own fund for orphans (Zia Orphanage Trust) in 1991. Khaleda’s eldest son and BNP vice chairman, Tarique Rahman, and four others Prosecutors are sentenced at the same time to ten years in prison and fines. Two of the defendants, including Tarique Rahman, are sentenced in their absence. According to the court, Khaleda receives a shorter prison sentence for “her health and social status”. Tarique Rahman, who is based in London, is appointed as GDP’s deputy chairman.


Repatriation is pushed forward

January 23

The relocation of refugees from Myanmar (formerly Burma) back to their homeland will not begin at the end of January 2018 as previously planned, Bangladeshi authorities announce. The reason is that both countries have not been able to prepare enough to start repatriation. Among other things, there is a dearth of housing in Myanmar for those returning, as many homes have been burnt down. Refugees and individual aid organizations also warn that the security situation in the state of Rakhine, where the refugees are going, is poor.

Time frame ready for repatriation

January 15

Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Bangladesh have agreed to send 1,500 Rohingy people back from the refugee camps in Bangladesh to Myanmar every week for two years. The agreement does not specify when the repatriation should begin. Previously, the parties have said at the end of January 2018. The current agreement means that 156,000 of the 650,000 Rohingyans will return in the next two years. Both countries have also agreed that all repatriation must take place on a voluntary basis.

Bangladesh Agriculture and Fishing