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PARTNERSHIPS FOR ENHANCED ENGAGEMENT IN RESEARCH (PEER)
Cycle 6 (2017 Deadline)


Climate change adaptation of rural households in charlands of Bangladesh

PI: Humnath Bhandari, h.bhandari@irri.org, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
U.S. Partner: Charles (Chuck) W. Rice, Kansas State University
Project dates: March 2018 - February 2021


Project Overview:

The agricultural production system in the charlands of Bangladesh is characterized by rainfed cultivation, low nutrient levels in the soil, the raising of traditional crop varieties with conventional management practices, poor access to agricultural technologies and services, poor linkage to markets, and low cropping system intensification and diversification. In addition, charlands agriculture is highly prone to climatic stresses (flood, drought, salinity, river and coastal erosion, moisture stress, and tropical cyclones), and local farmers suffer losses every year. The changing climate will amplify these problems in the future and make charland livelihoods precarious. The adoption and adaptation of climate-smart agriculture options (such as different crops or varieties, cropping systems, or management practices) can significantly reduce the negative effects of and build resilience to changing environmental conditions. Not all these climate-smart options, however, are appropriate for every location. Their use is determined by several factors, such as biophysical and socioeconomic characteristics, climate conditions, technological suitability to the local ecosystem, farmers’ perceptions and behavior, market systems, and economic viability.

The charland areas have been largely neglected by the government and development agencies and hence such information is often lacking. The main objectives of this project are to understand charland characteristics and the livelihoods of local residents, examine households’ vulnerability and adaptation to changing conditions, and promote climate-smart agricultural technologies in charlands. To achieve these objectives, the project team will select two charland sites representing flood-, drought-, and salinity-prone ecosystems. In the representative study sites, the project will conduct baseline, endline, and special purpose surveys; analyze factors determining adoption of climate-smart technologies; assess economic viability (profitability and risk) of existing and new cropping systems; test and evaluate climate-smart technologies; and recommend economically viable and demand-demand climate-smart technologies for dissemination. Researchers from Kansas State University, who have vast expertise on climate-smart agriculture, will provide technical support and guidance to design and implement project activities and help build research capacity through training on advance research methods and tools.

Project updates:

To implement the project, the PEER team selected the location of the two study sites. One of them will be in the Kurigram district in the north, and another one will be in the Noakhali district in the southern part of Bangladesh. A comprehensive baseline database will be developed to study existing biophysical, climate, and socioeconomic situation of the study area, and appropriate climate-smart agricultural interventions will be designed.
 
Outreach and collaboration: The project will be jointly implemented by IRRI, BRRI, and BARI. The project team began communication with the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) and the Rural Academy (RDA) of Bogra to collaborate on this project. Discussion with two local NGOs for collaboration is also ongoing.  
 
During the upcoming 3-6 months, the project team plans to visit the selected northern and southern Bangladesh study areas to select study villages and conduct a baseline survey of households. The team will identify suitable climate-smart agricultural technologies, conduct an experiment in the study areas to test and validate the selected technologies, and establish new or identify existing community groups for project implementation. Training of recruited students and community groups on climate-smart agricultural technologies will also be conducted. The project kick-off meeting will be held in the upcoming months, and stakeholders from governmental institutions, NGOs, the private sector, and other organizations working in the charlands will be invited to collaborate.


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