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المنتدى العالمي المعني بالأمن الغذائي والتغذية

Re: Transforming gender relations in agriculture through women’s empowerment: benefits, challenges and trade-offs for improving nutrition outcomes

Md. Sirajul Islam
Md. Sirajul IslamBRACBangladesh

In response to my friend Nigel from UK I need to mention that yes seasonality does affect not only the nutrition but also the overall agricultural productivity and thus the food security as a whole. In Bangladesh, the agricultural productivity of an unfavourable rain fed ecosystem (monsoon season) is much lower than the irrigated ecosystem (winter season). The available option of growing vegetables and fruits is much higher in winter than in monsoon season. To tackle this seasonality we may take few indigenous and as well as modern technological approaches.  Like using low cost greenhouse techniques to grow vegetables and fruits in hot summer as well as in cold winter season. Likewise, in flooded conditions indigenous techniques of growing vegetables in floating gardens may be a unique example. I would like to copy below a case study on floating gardens published in recent BRAC Annual Report of 2015. 

Floating farms that fight climate change

Flooding and water logging are common occurrences in Gopalganj district in central Bangladesh. Parts of the region stay submerged for months on end during the monsoon season, resulting in reduced crop production. People have adopted a new method of cultivation called floating agriculture to overcome this. Plants are grown in the water and derive nutrients from the water instead of soil. Floating agriculture is not only climate-adaptive, but can also lead to sustainable, large-scale crops. Monika Kirtoniya is one of many who started a floating farm on her 33 decimals of land upon after receiving training on floating vegetable cultivation. Aquatic plants like water hyacinth are grown on soil-less rafts on water, providing a platform to sow seedlings in. Plants get nutrition from either composted organics or from the water. Field crops often perish during water logging, but floating farms survive. Monika used to follow traditional rice cultivation methods. The land she cultivated on would stay waterlogged for up to six months every year, leading to an unstable income. Managing three meals a day for her family was often impossible during those months. When waters around her home began to rise again last year, she turned to floating farms. Both Monika and her husband work in her floating farm. She cultivates red amaranth, water spinach, indian spinach and okra, producing 3,900 kg of crop per acre. She makes a net profit of USD 865 (BDT 67,500) per acre. Floating farms have meant not only securing three meals a day, but the freedom of having vegetables all year round.