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close this bookDeveloping the non-farm Sector in Bangladesh: Lessons from other Asian Countries (WB, 1996, 116 p.)
close this folderRural industry in Bangladesh
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentRural infrastructure
View the documentMechanical and biochemical technology
View the documentNeighborhood effects

Mechanical and biochemical technology

Building better transport system and creating mechanisms for delivering larger doses of capital can trigger farm mechanization and diversification into cash crops. In turn, both these can reinforce backward linkages from infrastructure building. Currently, minimal machine inputs are used in agriculture. And given the abundance of labor, such farm practices are efficient. But they have slowed the commercialization of farming and the diffusion of modern techniques associated with rising capital intensity. Before the technology can be adopted mindsets must change. Adopting a new technology has startup costs, but it improves the longer-term prospects of agriculture and the rural economy in general. Farmers who mechanize are equipped to enlarge the scale of operation. Scale not only increases market orientation, it can also start a cycle of continuous technological improvement, incremental investment in water management, and land augmentation. Adoption of mechanical technologies sends ripples throughout the rural economy. It transforms the labor market, it creates a multiplicity of niches that new rural industries can colonize, and it gives rise to pools of capital that are largely absent in Bangladesh and will accumulate only very slowly, even if institutions such as the Grameen Bank continue to inculcate good savings habits. Other East Asian countries have shown that a dynamic agricultural system with a strongly growing nonfarm sector must be market based, capitalusing, and reliant on big-chemical inputs. Farmers in Bangladesh have increased their use of fertilizers and high-yielding varieties, but have made much less headway in the other two areas.