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Hope rises: Bangladeshi farmers overcome floods

By Practical Action On 20.11.2023 Climate changeFarmingBlog

Purnima Rani Biswas, a farmer in Satkhira, Bangladesh, has faced the devastating impact of rising sea levels on her crops. With the help of Practical Action, she has learned to construct elevated dykes, transforming her farming practice and securing her family’s livelihood against catastrophic floods.

Hopeful Bangladeshi farmers standing in floodwater with a bunch of cucumbers.

1. Purnima and her husband harvest crops grown with the protection of elevated dykes against flood damage. Dykes are barriers built to protect the land from water damage and can be built using locally-available materials.

Two Bangladeshi farmers standing in a pond with watermelons hanging from the trees, filled with hope despite floods.

2. Pumpkins thrive on Purnima’s farm. She’s also learned how to grow bitter gourds on the flooded ponds that used to be considered barren wasteland, further boosting her harvest.

Bangladeshi farmers standing in a pond with a crate of cucumbers, determined to rebuild hope despite floods.

3. The couple holds their grown vegetables, a testament to the success of their adaptive farming methods. Many of her neighbours have taken up dyke farming after seeing their success.

Bangladeshi farmers overcoming floods while walking through a field of vegetables.

4. Carrying pumpkins and bitter gourds from their farm, the couple shows the effectiveness of elevated dykes in safeguarding their crops.

A selection of Bangladeshi farmers' cucumbers and green beans in blue crates on a sidewalk, showcasing hope amidst floods.

5. The harvested vegetables are ready for sale, marking the journey from cultivation to potential income. Purnima told us, “Since we grow vegetables, we don’t have to buy them from the market. And the money from the sale of extra vegetables helps us meet household expenses.”

Floods leave Bangladeshi farmers standing in a market with umbrellas, searching for hope.

6. Vegetables from Purnima’s farm are on sale at a local market, providing for her family and contributing to the community.

Purnima’s story is one of resilience and innovation. The elevated dykes have not only saved her crops but also inspired her community, demonstrating a sustainable way to combat the challenges posed by frequent flooding.