Putting Saline Agriculture into Practice, Bangladesh
Bangladesh, coastal area
Salt Farm Texel (staff of The Salt Doctors), ICCO (Bangladesh), CODEC (Bangladesh), supported by the Dutch Postcode Lottery
Coastal Bangladesh is severely affected by salinity, with over 1 million hectares of land being salt-affected. Soil salinity is one of the main forces driving migration, with an estimated 27 million people being affected by the year 2050.
For the project, previously identified salt tolerant varieties of potato, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot and beetroot were introduced at farm level and farmers were trained and assisted during the season.
Besides the introduced crops, the focus was on increasing nutritious food consumption, improve the resilience of the involved farmers and improve their livelihoods, among others.
In total, 5000 farmers were trained. Of this group, 50 locations were monitored intensively regarding average soil salinity levels, crop yield and cost-benefit analysis.
Also, a group of 260 farmers were interviewed two years after the start of the project, to evaluate the average household income increase, the improvement of food security, and vegetable consumption increase, among others.
In the entire coastal area of Bangladesh around 44% of the salt-affected area can be classified as moderately saline (with ECe values in the range of 4-12 dS/m). Of the 50 locations that were monitored during the project, only 2 locations showed salinity levels below 2 dS/m (ECe), 21 locations were in the 2-4 dS/m range, 18 location in the 4-8 dS/m range, 4 locations in the 8-12 dS/m range and 2 locations showed average seasonal salinity levels greater than 12 dS/m.
The results regarding income, food security and vegetable consumption can also be linked to the Sustainable development Goals (SDG’s). The results showed that average household income increased by 34% (SDG 1: “No Poverty”), food security increased from 15% to 65% (SDG 2: “Zero Hunger”), and vegetable consumption increased from 26% to 74% (SDG 3: “Good health and well being”), among others.
Most of these positive impacts can most likely be linked to the fact that before the project none of the farmers used the salt affected land and 2 years after the project started this was increased to 76%.
Link for more info:
You can watch an introduction of the project here on youtube
or read a peer-reviewed article about the project here in the book “Future of Sustainable Agriculture in Saline Environments”.