Unlocking the production potential of “polder communities” in coastal Bangladesh through improved resource use efficiency and diversified cropping systems
Lead Institution: Kansas State University
Award Amount: $999,508
Focus Country: Bangladesh
Summary: The coastal region of Southern Bangladesh is home to some of the world's poorest, most food-insecure, malnourished and socioeconomically-challenged people. Despite significant investment in the development of the region, extremely low farm productivity is a persistent obstacle for improving the food and nutrition security and livelihoods of about a million farming families. The goal of this project is to increase farm income and nutrition security by intensifying polder farming systems through implementation of sustainable and economically-viable practices. The main challenges encountered by polder communities for intensification of production systems are ineffective water management and inadequate drainage infrastructure. These have invariably resulted in the use of low-yielding traditional rice varieties and minimal dry-season crop production. This project aims to work with the farming community in a pilot subpolder, which is about 600 hectares, to develop and adapt cropping-system options for sustainable intensification, together with improved drainage management. The project will build on past achievements and proactively work with ongoing programs. Specifically, the project will advocate improved high yielding and stress-tolerant rice varieties, including rice higher in zinc content, improve productivity of rice and fish cultivation and introduce high value dry-season crops to significantly increase farm income and improve household nutrition. New opportunities for income generation for farm women will also arise by introducing new management technologies and dry-season crops.
2017 Progress Updates
In the project’s first season, most farmers who opted to grow high-yielding rice varieties and were able to harvest rice early were able to establish a rabi crop (only 28% fallow), while most farmers growing the traditional long duration rice had their land fallow (70% fallow). This demonstrates the opportunity in the challenging polders to introduce a rabi crop with improved and moderately mechanized rice management.
- In polder 30, the target community for this subaward, there was significant excitement surrounding the introduction of the mechanical rice transplanter and reaper. A few farmers are interested to potentially purchasing the reaper and assume the role of service providers. The project also engaged with the private company ACI Motor Limited to introduce additional machinery to the polder.