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The sustainability of conventional agriculture in Bangladesh is under threat from the continuous degradation of land and water resources, and from declining yields due to indiscriminate use of agro-chemicals. Government is pursuing efforts to promote sustainable agriculture with emphasis on better use of on-farm resources and the reduction of external inputs. This paper presents four dimensions of agricultural sustainability as productivity, environmental stability, economical profitability, and social and economic equity. Six characters were selected to evaluate sustainability. Significant differences were found between the two systems (conventional and sustainable agriculture) in crop diversification, soil fertility management, pests and diseases management, use of agrochemicals and environmental issues. However, no significant variations were found in other indicators such as land-use pattern, crop yield and stability, risk and uncertainties, and food security. Although crop yield and financial return were found to be slightly higher in the conventional system, the economic return and value addition per unit of land did not show any difference. It can be suggested that sustainable agriculture has a tendency towards becoming environmental, economically and socially more sound than conventional agriculture, as it requires considerably less agro-chemicals, adds more organic matter to the soil, provides balanced food, and requires higher local inputs without markedly compromising output and financial benefits. Broad-policy measures, including the creation of mass awareness of adverse health effects of agrochemical-based products, are outlined for the promotion of sustainable agriculture.


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