Magazine article Alternatives Journal

Bangladeshi Farmers Develop Greener Agriculture. (Notes)

Magazine article Alternatives Journal

Bangladeshi Farmers Develop Greener Agriculture. (Notes)

Article excerpt

The region of Tangail in north central Bangladesh is one of the poorest regions in the world, being continuously afflicted with food shortages. Three decades of Western aid has failed to produce a durable solution to the food security problems of the region. But a burgeoning local endeavour is offering renewed hope to Tangail and other parts of rural Bangladesh.

Called Nayakrishi Andalon ("New Agriculture Movement"), the project is the offspring of the Bangladeshi NGO UBINIG (a Bengali acronym which translates as Policy Research for Development Alternative). Nayakrishi evolved from UBINIG's work in the Tangail countryside treating the multitude of health problems linked to the rampant use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides that accompanied the "green revolution".

In contrast to many Western initiatives, Nayakrishi Andalon works on a bottom-up basis, with ideas for improving food security originating with local farmers and villagers. This is an approach that UBINIG executive director and co-founder Farida Akhter feels is essential for the success they have experienced since their inception in the mid-1980s.

"We take the information from the people and then write it in a way that the policy makers understand," says Akhter.

As a result of UBINIG's work, the farmers of Tangail were encouraged to adopt ten basic principles for sustainable agriculture: seed conservation; multi-cropping; agroforestry; honouring household animals; community-based economics; surface water irrigation; water conservation; fish biodiversity; reduced use of chemical fertilizer; and no pesticides. …

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