Being an inhabitant of a remote, flood-prone area of Kurigram, Sushma Rani had to struggle for years to secure food for her five-member family, as crops would often get damaged in the flood.
However, her situation has been improving for the last two years, after she received firsthand lessons on the technique of cultivating flood resilient rice varieties and growing vegetable on elevated land during floods.
“It helped us secure sufficient amount of food, and we can even sell some extra grains,” she said.
Sushma, who is from Pachgachhi of Kurigram Sadar, shared this at a workshop at The Daily Star Centre in Dhaka yesterday.
Care Bangladesh and Eco-Social Development Organisation (ESDO) arranged the knowledge-sharing workshop on a project titled “Where the Rain Falls”. Care implemented the third phase of the project in three unions -- Pachgachhi, Holo Khana, and Jatrapur of Kurigram Sadar from January, 2017 to February, 2019.
Sushma said farmers like her would be benefited more if such initiatives continued in her area.
“Last year, I grew a rice variety called BINA which did not rot, despite about 16 days of flooding,” she said, adding that local weather office also helped her know the optimal time to harvest crops.
The project reached 6,500 households. Some 76 percent of household members were women, said the organisers.
It gave local women an alternative, climate-adaptive livelihood option. Besides, local union parishads established seed banks to give farmers easy access to good quality seed varieties, they said.
Shamsuddin Ahmed, director of Bangladesh Meteorological Department, said, “Farmers can be benefited through weather and climate related services, as many existing problems related to agriculture can be solved by applying modern weather technology effectively.”
Praising the project's outcome, Abdul Wazed, an additional director of Department of Agricultural Extension, said such initiatives should be extended to other parts of the country to benefit more farmers.
Addressing as chief guest, Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation Chairman Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said follow-up activities of different projects are required to ensure sustainable development.
Better coordination of different government and non-government organisations would also benefit farmers to this end, he said.
Care Bangladesh Country Director Zia Chowdhury and ESDO Executive Director Shahid Zaman spoke at the workshop among others.