Sack Gardening as a Sustainable Agriculture Strategy for Food and Nutrition Security of Landless Rural Women in Saline Affected Coastal Region of Bangladesh
Bangladesh Agricultural University, Bangladesh
The effect of climate change particularly rising of sea level, cyclone and tidal floods are considered the main reasons for salinity intrusion in agricultural land in the coastal region of Bangladesh. Salinity and submergence in the coastal region makes the land unfavourable that restricts the growing of field crops and vegetables throughout the year. Consequently, crop yields, cropping intensity, production levels are much lower in this region and peoples have been suffering more for optimum food intake and faces challenges to maintain nutritional security compared to other parts of the country. In this study, a total of 100 landless rural women from the coastal region of Bangladesh were selected for growing vegetables in sacks in the winter and summer season. Structured interview schedule and group discussions were used to collect data on vegetable production, marketing system and income. Opinions of rural women were gathered regarding the benefits or contributions of sack gardening on improving their household food and nutrition security as well as livelihood status. Rural women produced tomato, brinjal, chili, indian spinach, okra, radish and beet in the sack (maximum of two plants/sack) in winter season. In summer time, cucurbit vegetables such as sweet gourd, bottle gourd, ash gourd, ridge gourd, bitter gourd, cucumber and snake gourd wre grown in the sack. Women can produce an average of 7 kilograms of vegetables in one sack/year. The produced vegetables were mainly used for consumption at family level. Rural women sold their excess vegetables in the local community (80% vegetables) among friends, neighbours, and vendors, while 20% vegetables were sold at the local market for additional income. Regression analysis indicated that (adjusted R2 = 0.684) sack gardening significantly contributes to increase women's household income. Majority of rural women (73%) observed that their household food and nutrition security was significant improved due to participation in sack gardening. Rural women (70%) indicated that their livelihood status improved through participation in sack gardening. The position in the family, decision-making ability, participation in social activities and employment also increased remarkably. Therefore, sack gardening benefited landless coastal women through diversifying household diets and allowing them to make small savings due to reduce purchase of vegetable induced by self-production.
Keywords: Bangladesh, farming, food security, vertical agriculture, women
Contact Address: Shonia Sheheli, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh, Bangladesh, e-mail: ssheheliyahoo.com