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Climate change fueling coastal salinity in Bangladesh

  • Published at 10:54 pm July 10th, 2019
salinity-File photo
File photo

Rising temperatures across the globe have become a major threat to humans

Salinity is rising at an alarming rate in the coastal areas of Bangladesh largely because of climate change and river erosion, said speakers at a seminar.

Despite the fact that cultivation of paddy is decreasing in coastal region because of lack of fresh water and many farmers are replacing paddy cultivation with shrimp or sea fish farming, the government is committed to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through food security and sustainable agricultural development, they said.

The speakers came made the observations addressing a seminar on “Development and Adaptation of Water Saving Irrigation Techniques For Upland Crops in the Salt-Affected Coast of Bangladesh,” organised by the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB), in Dhaka on Wednesday.

Climate change and rising temperatures across the globe have become a major threat to human beings more than at any time before, and Bangladesh is one of the countries facing the highest threats from these changes, said an IEB press release.

Low lying areas in coastal regions are the most affected by climate change where salt water is penetrating further inland because of rising sea levels, they said.

As fresh water is decreasing in these areas, many people are being compelled to change agriculture practices, said speakers.

They are either cultivating paddy which can tolerate salinity, or replacing paddy with shrimp farming, or preserving rainwater as a new adaptive strategy to cope with the changing climate and environment.

Researchers are now working on developing new technologies to ensure increasing the capacity for agricultural productivity and sustainable food production systems by 2030, as set by goal 2 and 6 of the SDGs, they said.

IEB President Engineer Abdul Sobur, who attended the event as chief guest, said: “Agriculture Engineers have a great role to make Bangladesh food sufficient. They should think how to use new techniques to grow more verities of foods and crops in salinity prone arrears. In this regard all of them have to work together.”

“Besides, we have to plan how to initiate maximum use of water for agriculture,” he added.

Dr Khokon Kumer Sarkar, scientific officer, IWM Division (AC), BARI, presented a research based presentation while Sultan Ahmmed, director Member (NRM) at the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC), spoke as special guest.

The researchers say that "water saving irrigation technique" can save about 20% to 50% and increase yield up to 20 to 30% is possible by efficient use of irrigation. 

Highest cultivation can be yielded by using drip-irrigation technique as it can save 46% water. With this savings, more crops including tomato, watermelon and brinjal can be grown at salinity-prone areas where traditional irrigation doesn't possible.