Strengthening the resilience of indigenous communities in Bangladesh

Strengthening the resilience of indigenous communities in Bangladesh

17/04/2018

Two thousand indigenous families in Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracts received training and agricultural livelihoods packages to improve poultry, vegetable and rice production. The families live in one of the poorest areas of the country, with low household incomes and poor nutritional status.

Traditionally, the region’s farmers depend solely on subsistence farming for their livelihoods. This includes a technique of shifting cultivation called jum, which provides their main staple, the jum rice, and other crops. Farmers have limited capacity to resist chronic and seasonal shocks and stresses, such as pest or disease attacks, natural disasters or localized conflict. When shocks compromise jum rice production, farmers struggle to stock enough food to last over the dry season.

FAO worked with families to support the sustainable intensification of jum production – growing more with less, by using improved inputs – and to diversify rural livelihoods through introducing vegetable and poultry production. Families now have additional sources of livelihoods, which make them less vulnerable to shocks and stresses. They increased food stocks from improved rice and vegetable production, and earned more income from poultry production. New recipes capitalized on the nutritional value of locally produced food.

In May, this resilience good practice was applied as part of FAO’s emergency response to Cyclone Mora, flash floods and landslides, where 2 350 families received similar rice, vegetable and poultry packages and training to strengthen their livelihoods and food security.