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 sub-polder, 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.
2019 Progress Updates
SIIL-Polder team provided water management training for rabi crop cultivation to 434 farmers (37% women) in ten learning hubs during the reporting period. The farmers were trained on the importance of residual soil water utilization for increasing productivity of the dry season crops. In this training, efficient utilization of limited soil water through early crop establishment (by dibbling seeds on moist soil) was highlighted.
Two (one male and one female) PhD students have completed their data collection. They are preparing the first draft of their theses and are expected to complete their PhDs by the end of 2019.
The project explored potential crops, such as maize in the dry season, not only to contribute to food security or income for the farming community, but also as an alternative feed for livestock, poultry, and fish. To achieve this goal, the project has been providing training to the farmers of polder 30 on nutritional aspects of maize for human consumption directly and via animal product (milk, meat, egg, and fish).