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The Salt Solution

Countries:
Start project:
  • 2017
Donors:
  • Nationale Postcode Loterij

Together with Salt Farm Texel, ICCO will train 5,000 farmers in the coastal areas of Bangladesh to start growing salt tolerant crops. These are natural varieties of crops that do grow on saline soil. The contribution from the National Postcode Lottery enables these farmers to make their salt-affected land productive again by growing saline tolerant crops. This will improve their food security as well as their income. The project is jointly implementing by ICCO, SFT and CODEC.

Worldwide less and less land is available for agriculture. One of the reasons is salinization, the increase of the salt concentration in the soil. This can have different causes, like flooding by the sea or by saline water rising through the soil. As a result, crops no longer grow on the land and it is no longer suitable for agriculture.

Salinization
Unfortunately salinization is a growing problem all around the world. Research of the United Nations University shows that 62 million hectares of agricultural land has already been affected by salt. That is over 18 times the size of The Netherlands. And this area continues to increase. Per day an average of another 2,000 hectare of agricultural land is lost by salinization. That is often in countries where there is already a food shortage, but worldwide too, salt poses a threat to the growing demand for food.

In Bangladesh salinization is also a serious problem, especially in the coastal areas. The people who live in this area are poor to very poor. They largely depend on small scale agriculture to survive. But because of increasing salinization of the soil this is becoming harder and harder. And according to the World Bank this will become even worse over the coming decades. As a result people are no longer capable of feeding their families. They have no income and are forced to migrate to the cities, where they end up in slums or on the street.

Solution for soil salinization
As a solution for soil salinization, efforts so far have been mainly aimed at reducing salt concentrations in the soil. But the means used for that are expensive and damage the soil and the crops. Apart from that, their effects are short-lived. This innovative project turns this growing problem into a sustainable solution. Instead of fighting the salt in the soil, we want salt affected soil to be able to be used for agriculture again. That is possible by introducing varieties of well-known crops that do grow on salt affected land. This way, degraded soil becomes productive once again. And that offers new opportunities

Funding and beneficiaries
The Salt Solution project is funded by the National Postcode Lottery, Netherlands. ICCO Cooperation Bangladesh is lead partner and SFT is technical implementer and CODEC is implementing. Direct beneficiaries are 5000 small holder farmers and indirect beneficiaries are 25,000 small holder farmers. The project is working in 8 upazilas of 4 districts in saline affected coastal area of Bangladesh.

Project Updates

Low Cost Irrigation Techniques

In the salinity affected coastal areas of Bangladesh, "The Salt Solution Project" introduced some low-cost irrigation techniques for marginal and small-holder farmers who are facing a huge crisis of fresh irrigation water, hampering crop production, especially in the summer season. Among those techniques, "Pitcher's Irrigation Method" is really working well which is massively accepted by the salinity affected farmers in the project working area. This is an economic, resourse-efficient (require a very little amount of water) and climate-friendly technique which even a marginal farmer can easily adapt.

SAAO Training

Training Title: 03 Day long Training on Vegetable Production Technology in Saline Soil and e-Agriculture Date: 13-15 November 2018 Venue: RDF Tower, Barguna Participant: SAAO and Field Officers (CODEC)

SAAO and Market Actors Training

In December 2018, two (02) Batches of Capacity building Training events were organized by ICCO Cooperation Bangladesh for SAAOs (Sub-Assistant Agriculture Officers) and Market Actors (Input suppliers) in Bagerhat and Patuakhali Districts. The objective of this 03-days long residential training was to build capacity of the Government Agriculture Extension Field staff (SAAO) and input suppliers on Vegetables Production Technologies in Salt affected soil and e-Agriculture. There were total 31 SAAOs and 08 Input suppliers attended the event. Resource persons: 1. Representatives from SNV Netherlands; 2. Upazila Agriculture Officers of DAE; 3. Experienced Technical Officers of TSS Project (ICCO and CODEC); Outputs: 1. Participants learnt about measurement of salinity by EC meter and are able to suggest farmers about crop and fertilizers immediately, if facilities are available; 2. Learnt different salinity management techniques like use of saline tolerant varieties, ridge-furrow, Gypsum, organic manure, judicious use of irrigation water etc. and are capable to work for extension of those. 3. Also learnt about importance of moisture meter and seed tray; 4. Got knowledge on different types of mulches and their relation with salinity level. Outcomes: 1. SAAOs are now recommending above mentioned technologies to the farmers; 2. A good functional relationship has created with different levels of DAE that will help in smoother operation of project activities and further extension of technologies. 3. Market actors are more intended to make project recommended inputs available;

Farmers Field Day

Total 30 nos Farmer’s Field Days (Khulna-18 & Barishal-12) have been organized with 4299 (Male-2212 & female-2087) community farmers aiming to share crop performance result, demonstration, technology transfer, wider extension of adopted technologies of the demo plot. The main objectives of Farmers Field Day (FFD) was to demonstration and motivation community farmers on the production technologies in saline soil and production performance, Introduce the project activities among the Govt. NGO and other relevant organization / personnel associated with agricultural activities so that the good practices, cultivation methods and yield achieved by the project may get extension among large number of farmers. In these FFD indirect farmers, lead farmers, group farmers, market actors, GoB representatives, representatives from local government, representatives of private company, journalist, UP member, NGO representatives, input and output market actors, local elites, and community farmers attended. Output: • Community farmers gained technological knowledge of different crop production as well as observe SFT technologies in existing saline context; • Linkage developed among stakeholders and community farmers; • Mobilized the community farmers towards project intended technologies; Outcome: • Community farmers are practicing saline tolerant production technologies; • Government Departments are sensitized towards saline agriculture;

Experience Sharing Workshop

Project lead ICCO Cooperation conducted two experience sharing workshops at Khulna (4th Feb,19) and Patuakhali district (7th Feb,19) as a part of continuous collaboration with GoB, private sectors & other stakeholders. Total 85 guests attended in 02 workshops like Officials of DAE from different level- upazila, district and regional, officials from BADC, SCA, BARI, AIS and representatives of private companies like Lal Teer, Ispahani, Metal etc. and representatives of different NGOs/projects who are operating same kind of project within the project area. The workshop was planned in 3 segments- 1. Sharing of Project experience by Government officials refer to their prior field visit; 2. Stall visit with exhibition of project farmer’s produces, proven Technologies and testing of salinity and 3. Interaction session between farmers (as demand side) and Service providers (as supply side) for further bridging of scale up and sustainability issues. Outputs: 1. GoB and other stakeholders of the project have been informed about the project activities and obtained results so far. 2. A reflection of contribution from stakeholders to the project have been shared and the areas for future collaboration were also identified. 3. Some new stakeholders were linked with the project like BADC, Seed Certification Agency (SCA) and Khulna University. 4. All participants were agreed in a point that this sort of project is much needed for the coastal saline areas of Bangladesh. Outcomes: 1. The project implementation became smooth as the relevant stakeholder are now well known about the project. 2. DAE and others stakeholders are positive/ sensitized to scale-up “The Salt Solution” recommended salt tolerant crops/varieties and salinity management technologies;

ICCO-SFT-Lalteer Initiative

SFT, Lal Teer Seed Ltd. and ICCO Cooperation have signed a tri-party agreement to set up a training center at Rampal upazila under Bagerhat District. SFT has given all sort of technical and logistic support to Lalteer for establishment of this research farm. Lalteer has set first trial plot in November 2018. In the plot, following crops and varieties are under trial/research- Cascade variety of Carrot, Rayma and Toughma varieties of Cabbage, Lech and Korist varieties of Kholrabi and Skywalker variety of Cauliflower. This training center is being used to test crops for salt tolerance and to show and develop agricultural techniques. The research results will be used for this project and for follow-up research. Outputs: 1. A unique research collaboration is done between SFT, Lal Teer Seed Ltd. and ICCO Cooperation. 2. Above mentioned varieties are being tested for saline tolerance and other considering factors. Outcomes: 1. Targeted salt tolerant crops and varieties are decided to make available in the local market by Lalteer as per agreed conditions. 2. Developed Test facility for salt tolerant seeds in Bangladesh.

Agri-input Suppliers' Training

Two Batches of Agri-input Suppliers were trained in the last week of August 2019 at Coastal area of Bangladesh. Demonstration farmers of the Project also attended the training events. ICCO Cooperation successfully organized the events where besides capacity building session, farmers shows their demand of inputs, on the other hand Agri-inputs suppliers taken notes and informed farmers what they have and what inputs & services they can provide to farmers. Government Agriculture department personnel also attended the session and mention their support and services for farmers which was really appreciated by the farmers, Overall those two events were very successful which ultimately built linkage between farmers and market actors and service providers. At the same time market actors also were capacitated on a crucial global issue that is Climate Smart Agriculture to fight climate change effect.

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