The country’s Chittagong Hill Tracts has potentials for development especially in tourism sector and production of a number of high-value agricultural products like fruits and off-season vegetables and seeds.
With its majestic beauty the region can attract millions of tourists from around the world and it could be promoted as a world-class tourism site too, according the report prepared by Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), a regional intergovernmental knowledge sharing centre serving eight countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayas.
The CHT is an ethnically, culturally and topographically diverse region in the country with a population of about 1.6 million, including 12 small ethnic communities with distinct tribal cultures and traditions.
The report, ‘A Strategic Framework for Sustainable Development in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh’ finds that the region is suitable for the production of a number of high-value agricultural products, including various fruits, off-season vegetables and seeds.
Dr Golam Rasul, Livelihoods Theme Leader at ICIMOD and author of the report said that despite having huge potentials for tourism and horticulture in the CHT, the government is yet to focus on the issue due to ongoing land disputes.
“With proper development of a market infrastructure, farmers could earn better prices for their produce.
With increased environmental degradation and a low capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change the existing agricultural practices can no longer sustain the population of the region, says the ICIMOD report.
It further said the region can be developed as a trade transit point between the mainland economy and the countries to the east particularly Myanmar, Thailand and China. All these approaches will eventually help improve local economy.
To ensure peace, stability, and good governance in the region, the report suggested implementing the outstanding elements of the Peace Accord, expediting the process for resolving land disputes, reducing conflict over land resources, strengthening decentralisation and devolution of authority to the CHT institutions, and strengthening coordination of development activities, according to a news agency.
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