Bangladesh farmer leader talks about effect of climate change in his community

(Last Sept 6, an forum entitled “the Civil Society Roadmap to Address the Food Security, Agriculture and Climate Crises”, was held , as a side event during the 2nd Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change, in Hanoi, Vietnam. The event was organized by AFA, Third World Network, Center for Sustainable Rural Development Vietnam, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, and ROPPA. Mr. Alaudin Sikder, secretary of Kendrio Krishok Moitree, a national farmer organization in Bangladesh, was one of the speakers. Below is his intervention.)

I come from the southern part of the country . In my community there is much salinization. Now only 10% of the land can be farmed now.

The intensity and severity of winter has been more severe and is prolonged. And the intensity of summer is also high. That is why there is more pest infestation. And with that the cost of pesticide has gone higher. The farmers cannot afford and are not interested in farming anymore. With this our farm production is affected. We cannot rear our cattles now. Even the ducks and poultry are being affected by contagious diseases.

There are two severe cyclones in 2007 and 2008 , and now the riverbanks are deroded. The waters have been salinized, the banks cannot be repaired. The fishes in the fresh water are affected by the salinized water. They are disturbed.

Another problem is the frequency of cyclones. Now we have more cyclones. But still another problem is rain harvest. We used to harvest rain in canals. Now the canals are silted. So the rain we can harvest now is less than what we need for the crops.

Still another problem is that the new generation is not interested in farming. Those who are below 30 do not want to go into farming. So in the future, there may be land but no farmers.

In the face of this, our organization, KKM is doing some things . We reinforce enbankment of mud to prevent saline water from coming in. We are also rediscovering rice varieties which are suitable for our soils, and we built a center for seed processing for this. In the southern part, the farmers are keeping saline tolerant varieties and flood-tolerant varieties in their seed banks.We are also organizing 30 farmers in 30 villages for organic farming. They will be trained to raise ducks, fish and vegetables using organic approaches. We are trying to re-discover this system.

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