In Bangladesh, 160 million people still live on less than £1 a day.
- Every year, monsoon rains cause the three major rivers of Bangladesh to swell, resulting in devastating floods.
- The floods wash away homes, submerge land and destroy possessions.
- Families face months of hunger and malnutrition when they are forced to find a new place to live and a new means of earning a living without land to cultivate.
- Sandbars emerge as the rivers recede, but the ‘char’ – the silted sand plains that the floods leave behind – are too infertile for even the most skilled farmer to tend.
“My family are healthy now. Before, they used to suffer with fever and diarrhoea. This year, I produced 600 pumpkins. I bought a cow from my income and sell milk at the market. I can now afford a tutor for my children.”
Anwar Ul Islam – Farmer, Rangpur
The Ingenious Solution
We’ve introduced a technique called sandbar cropping that allows pumpkins to be grown on the sandy, barren soil left behind when flood waters recede.
- By digging holes in sandy residues left by the flooding and filling them with manure, compost and pumpkin seeds, crops can thrive.
- As well as giving a high yield and being packed full of health benefits, pumpkins can be stored for up to a year, meaning people have a crop both for their families and also to sell.
- We’re supporting farmers to gain tenure of temporary sand bars and create better markets for them to sell their pumpkins.
- The Ministry of Agriculture in Bangladesh want to replicate this model throughout the country, helping alleviate poverty through tens of thousands more people overcoming hunger and increasing their income.