SOIL DESALINATION FOR VEGETABLE CULTIVATION
A SMALL SCALE APPROACH FROM BANGLADESH
Bangladesh is prone to natural hazards due to its geographic location. Many changes have been observed in coastal area over recent years such as an increasing number of incursions by the sea onto cultivated land, increased impact of cyclones, crop fields being converted into shrimp farming, and livestock rearing decreasing drastically because of shortage of forage. Saline water incursion into crop lands is increasing leading to many farmers becoming effectively “landless” even though they have land. Meanwhile, statistics show that the total saline affected area at Satkhira has increased to 1,31,000 ha from 1,25,000 ha from 2000 to 20091. These effects are further exacerbated by climate change. Atulia union under Shyamnagar upazila of Satkhira district is the most saline affected area. The devastating cyclone Aila, which occurred in 25 May 2009, completely inundated the area, making it very vulnerable with high soil salinity. Due to the high existing salinity levels both in surface and ground water the coastal communities are no longer cultivating vegetables sufficiently to meet local demand and people now depend on vegetables from external sources. Practical Action Bangladesh found that food security and income were the top priority issues raised by local people in the area. Therefore Practical Action Bangladesh vegetable cultivation in Atulia as part of a climate change action research project. Thirty households took part in a soil desalination experiment. This has successfully completed its first phase. They produced 727 Kg of vegetables such as bitter gourd and sweet gourd. The experimental soil desalinization process is done during the dry season. It is very easy to desalinize soil during monsoon as rain water is available everywhere but the monsoon is very short in Bangladesh lasting for only 4 months. In the dry season, though it is difficult to access fresh water, the soil can be desalinized by collecting water in containers from fresh water ponds or tube well close to the area by vehicle, usually a load carrying tricycle similar to a rickshaw. This method of growing in pots enables people to cultivate without large amounts of water. Firstly, the required saline soil is placed in a container. The containers used were large ceramic pots some of which were one metre wide and one metre deep although any container could be used and the size of the container is not critical.
Salinity survey - 2009, Prothom Alo, 22 March 2010 (source: SRDI).
Practical Action, The Schumacher Centre, Bourton on Dunsmore, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV23 9QZ, UK T +44 (0)1926 634400 | F +44 (0)1926 634401 | E firstname.lastname@example.org | W www.practicalaction.org ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Practical Action is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee. Company Reg. No. 871954, England | Reg. Charity No.247257 | VAT No. 880 9924 76 | Patron HRH The Prince of Wales, KG, KT, GCB
Vegetable cultivation by soil desalination
Secondly, fresh water is poured into the container and the water is retained by the container. This is allowed to dry to the optimum level for cultivation. Vegetables seeds are sown with the addition of manure. Finally, the plant is kept in these containers so that it would not be affected by further salinity. Alternatively, soil which is desalinized during the monsoon using rainwater can be kept in a heap to be used during the dry season. Salinity is the biggest challenge to people living in coastal communities in Bangladesh preventing them from cultivating crops and achieving food security. Further Reading
Integrated Soil Fertility Practical Action Technical Brief Cultivating Biodiversity H Brookfield Practical Action Publishing 2002 Cultivating Knowledge W de Boef Practical Action Publishing 1993
Barkat Ullah Coordinator- Climate Change Practical Action Bangladesh Email: email@example.com Mobile: 01711-079345 Practical Action The Schumacher Centre Bourton-on-Dunsmore Rugby, Warwickshire, CV23 9QZ United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0)1926 634400 Fax: +44 (0)1926 634401 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org W ebsite: http://practicalaction.org/practicalanswers/
Practical Action is a development charity with a difference. We know the simplest ideas can have the most profound, life-changing effect on poor people across the world. For over 40 years, we have been working closely with some of the world’s poorest people - using simple technology to fight poverty and transform their lives for the better. We currently work in 15 countries in Africa, South Asia and Latin America.
By Barkat Ullah, Published by Practical Action Bangladesh on 03/16/11
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