DHAKA: Within the lowlands of Bangladesh, the place the altering local weather brings floodwaters that stay for months, farmers are reviving an historic type of hydroponics to remain afloat.
Because the annual flood season is now twice longer than previously, huge areas of Barisal area — the southern a part of the nation which lies within the Padma River Delta — at the moment are submerged for greater than half a 12 months, making the standard rice crop not a viable supply of livelihood and employment.
Compelled by local weather change and inspired by the federal government, hundreds of farmers within the flood-prone area have turned to a centuries-old type of hydroponics, referred to as “floating gardens,” to cut back their monetary publicity to excessive climate.
The “gardens” are synthetic islands as much as 35 meters lengthy and three.5 meters large, made out of weeds like water hyacinth. Farmers plant seedlings on the beds and float them into flooded components of villages. The natural rafts final and produce yield for a number of months, rising and falling with the swelling floodwaters.
“The custom of floating mattress farming started round 250 years in the past within the Barisal area,” Dolon Chandra Ray, agriculture officer of Agailjhara, Barisal district, advised Arab Information earlier this week.
However it was not broadly used till a number of years in the past, he stated. The flood season used to peak between June and August, however with a altering local weather, flash flooding now hits the area from Could by way of November.
Efforts to encourage a return to floating mattress cultivation within the area started in 2017 by way of a government-run pilot mission, which supplied farmers with coaching, seeds, pesticides and logistical help.
“Our goal was to extend vegetable and spice manufacturing as much as 10 % within the area and now we have already achieved this goal,” Bibekananda Hira, monitoring analysis officer of the mission, stated.
“About 25,000 farmers in 24 districts acquired our coaching,” he added. “The federal government is now planning to develop this system.”
Some 2,000 hectares at the moment are used for floating mattress cultivation, with farmers rising greens akin to pumpkins, tomatoes, spinach, cucumbers, bitter gourd and beans, in addition to numerous spices like chili, turmeric and coriander.
For a lot of of those that don’t personal land, the tactic affords incomes they’d by no means have dreamed of in any other case.
“Landowners don’t ask for any prices for this as a result of we preserve the land clear … and it helps the landowners to develop rice when the water recedes,” Obaidul Mollah, a farmer in Barisal, stated.
Tending to 6 floating gardens earns him about $1,500 over the course of the flood season.
“It prices me about $70 from the preparation to manufacturing of crops on a floating mattress, and with the produce I earn about $200 from every mattress each 4 to 6 weeks, relying on the crops,” Mollah stated.
The revival of the traditional cultivation technique has made a terrific distinction to the lives of farmers like Nurul Islam from close by Pirojpur district.
“This floating mattress farming has made our lives simpler since we don’t have another choice to earn a residing through the flood season,” he stated. “Now, we will earn and preserve the household and likewise spend on the training of our kids.”
Because the impacts of local weather change are unlikely to abate, the traditional type of hydroponics could also be there to remain, providing a sustainable answer to conventional rice farming within the nation’s flood zones.
“Within the final two years, the nation has confronted flooding 3 times per 12 months, which is among the impacts of local weather change inflicting big environmental hazards for Bangladesh,” Dr. Atik Rahman, local weather scientist and govt director of the Bangladesh Middle for Superior Research, advised Arab Information.
“Floating gardens have turn into a sustainable method out for the farmers within the flood-prone areas,” he stated. “It’s serving to the nation additionally in sustaining meals provides for about 170 million folks.”