SALINITY CHANGES IN SOUTH WEST BANGLADESH AND ITS IMPACT ON RURAL LIVELIHOODS

Authors

  • B. Bhowmick
  • Z. Uddin
  • S. Rahman

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.3329/bjvm.v14i2.31405

Abstract

Salinity intrusion greatly affects the livelihood decisions which farmers have to make. Both environmental and anthropogenic factors affect salt water intrusion within south west Bangladesh. Although climate change and sea level rise are thought to increase salinity, siltation and sedimentation of canals reduces access to surface water and prevents salt water intrusion in to farming zones. This study highlights how decreasing salinity within Khulna and Bagerhat districts is allowing farmers to diversify their agricultural practices, reducing vulnerability and improving household income and food security. By using both quantitative and qualitative data collection, semi structured interviews were held with farmers and landless people to understand how they adapt to salinity changes. The results show that whilst salinity decreases were identical across both districts, farmers adapt to the changes in a number of ways based primarily on their access to water. Whilst shrimp production struggles to improve, increases in freshwater production of prawns, fin fish and dyke crops partially confirm that salinity was decreasing within the area. Furthermore, increases in income generation were also observed confirming that diversification improved rural livelihoods. In the wider context, understanding farmer mitigation strategies towards the environment allows for future comparisons to be made on climate change and sea level rise which are widely considered to drive salt water intrusion further in land.

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Published

2017-02-03

Issue

Section

Aquatic Medicine