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The country I don't understand how they do it is Bangladesh. A country the size of New York State with 164 million people. (50% of the US population). As I understand it, they generate 90% of the food they require.

The answers below are misleading by omission. While being on a river delta makes for fertile land, Bangladesh was nowhere near food independent a few decades ago. It was made so due to modern crop varieties and modern farming methods:

> During the last two decades and a half, important changes occurred in the realm of rice production and profitability. First, the cost of producing rice is several times higher than potato but the rate of profit is more than double for potato. Second, the yield of wheat, jute and potato has increased over time but the yield of rice has almost doubled from 2.16 t/ha in 1988 to 3.7 t/ha in 2000 and about 4.6 t/ha in 2014.

More than a factor of almost four increase in the yield of a staple crop that has been grown in that region for a thousand years is a technological miracle.

You raise a very good point about the increase in yield, but the reason Bangladesh has so many people in the first place is the fertile land. The lack of self-sufficiency in recent times may be due to the famines caused during the British Raj era.

No, that’s not possible because of population growth.

From the wikipedia[0]:

>The country is notable for its soil fertility land, including the Ganges Delta, Sylhet Division and the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Agriculture is the largest sector of the economy, making up 18.6 percent of Bangladesh's GDP in November 2010 and employing about 45 percent of the workforce.[233] The agricultural sector impacts employment generation, poverty alleviation, human resources development and food security. More Bangladeshis earn their living from agriculture than from any other sector. The country is among the top producers of rice (fourth), potatoes (seventh), tropical fruits (sixth), jute (second), and farmed fish (fifth).


The information is outdated and no longer true: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textile_industry_in_Bangladesh

The reason so many people live there is precisely because they generate so much food. The ganges delta is perfect for farming rice (sans climate change)

Easy answer: Ganga-Bramhaputra delta (I do not know what they call it in Bangladesh).

To get a perspective: look at the map of egypt and map of their population density. Half the country is pretty much in Nile Delta and most of the rest is along Nile.

The subcontinent, and especially India and Bangladesh, have ridiculous amounts of arable land. India has more than any other country in the world.

But the dependence on monsoon balances it out, even makes it lopsided, except may be in some northern parts that rely on snow fed rivers.

besides the US

According to Wikipedia[1] the title goes back and forth. In 2012, the latest year for which the article has numbers, India had more. Despite being 1/4th the size of the US.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arable_land

didn't know that! Thanks.

A slight sea level rise will cripple farming in a large part of Bangladesh. I'm not optimistic about their future.

What can we do as computer scientists to best militate this risk and protect human life?

Make sure the Bengali alphabet is working in whatever software you are doing.

Even better create robust Bengali NLP models.

How does that help? I'm being serious in asking.

It makes IT tools more accessible to the common person in Bangladesh. More likely to use it correctly, to master it.

Almost certainly, nothing. Wrong skill set.

Maybe not directly but software engineers are in a good position this days to find work easily and get a good salary. Maybe support financially organizations that fight global warming?

Ask yourself in Bengali: "Dil ki doya?" (Translated: Is there mercy in your heart?)

Pay for their plane tickets out of there

It is up to their alley. Giving birth to less children, raising them better, solving poverty. Knowing Bangladesh, unlikely

Or they could maintain the same birth rate and use technology that was well understood before anyone in this board was born. Huge portions of the Low Countries have been prosperous and below sea level for centuries. It requires dykes, ditches, windmills and uninterrupted competent engineering organisations. Dutch history shows that’s adequate for keeping land 2m below sea level inhabited and rich. Any rise greater than that and they might have to break out technology more advanced than windmills. It’s a massive engineering challenge but unless Bangladesh is built on limestone so the bedrock is porous it’s an engineering challenge that WWII technology would have been sufficient to.

Unfortunately the geology and geography of Bangladesh means that dikes won't be effective. What worked in the Netherlands won't work there.


Closer to home, South Florida will eventually have similar problems. The whole region sits on permeable limestone so dikes are pointless.

It's all but certainly too late for birthrate changes alone to reduce population within the anticipated timeframe.

That leaves emigration or mortality increases, barring further food miracles.

Yes, regards water level it won't do much (I missed parent's point), but it doesn't hurt to have less children and give them better education vs the way it is now.

It has a lot to do with the Asian diet, this includes India and Pakistan too.

Most people in those countries do not consume large amount of meat, massively reducing their need for large amount of agricultural land.

Soil fertility is just part of the equation, does not explain Egypt, Pakistan and a multitude of other countries.

FYI India has more arable land than USA at the moment: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/AG.LND.ARBL.HA?end=2016...

yes.. and also three times the people

It isnt a competition. The point I was trying to make is that India not only has highly fertile land, but also a lot of it to theoretically feed its people without relying on others.

As you said, US has only a 3rd of the population. This is probably the reason they are the largest exporters of food in the world.

That says 6x less per person

>Most people in those countries do not consume large amount of meat

You clearly haven’t been to Pakistan anytime recently

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