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Introduction of floating gardening in the north-eastern wetlands of Bangladesh for nutritional security and sustainable livelihood

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 May 2008

Haseeb Md. Irfanullah*
Affiliation:
The World Conservation Union (IUCN), Bangladesh Country Office, House 11, Road 138, Gulshan 1, Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh.
Ahana Adrika
Affiliation:
The World Conservation Union (IUCN), Bangladesh Country Office, House 11, Road 138, Gulshan 1, Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh.
Abdul Ghani
Affiliation:
Environment and GIS Unit, SHOUHARDO Program, CARE Bangladesh, Pragati RPR Center, 20-21, Karwan Bazar, Dhaka 1215, Bangladesh.
Zakir Ahmed Khan
Affiliation:
Kishoreganj Regional Office, SHOUHARDO Program, 452 Nilganj Road, Sholakia, Kishoreganj 2300, Bangladesh.
Md. Abdur Rashid
Affiliation:
Environment and GIS Unit, SHOUHARDO Program, CARE Bangladesh, Pragati RPR Center, 20-21, Karwan Bazar, Dhaka 1215, Bangladesh.
*
*Corresponding author: hmirfanullah@yahoo.co.uk

Abstract

Floating gardening is a form of hydroponics or soil-less culture. It is an age-old practice of crop cultivation in the floodplains of southern Bangladesh, where aquatic plants such as water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) are used to construct floating platforms on which seedlings are raised and vegetables and other crops cultivated in the rainy season. The platform residue is used in the preparation of beds for winter vegetable gardening. Floating gardening was introduced in 2006 on a pilot-scale in the north-east wetlands of the country, as a contribution to food security and as a supplementary income for the marginalized community. The overall experience of floating cultivation in three selected villages was encouraging. Local people became aware of this new farming system and their level of knowledge improved. Communities were mobilized into groups to make floating platforms, and platform residues were later used to establish winter gardens. Cultivation was successful on both types of plot, and vegetables were both consumed by the producers and sold in the market. The input–output analysis revealed floating gardening to be a feasible alternative livelihood option for the wetland dwellers. The method provided targeted landless people with parcels of land in the monsoon, enabling them to grow vegetables. Floating gardening and associated winter gardening appear to have the potential for introduction to other parts of the world where aquatic weed management is a major problem.

Type
Preliminary Report
Copyright
© 2008 Cambridge University Press

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