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The impact of climate change in the future means that the way we live our lives will have to evolve, something that can already be seen all over the world, such as in Bangladesh, where agricultural practices are adapting to the changing environment.
According to Future Planet, agriculture is one of the country’s most important economic contributors but some farmers are now turning their backs on the practice as a way of making a living, whether that’s farming shrimp or finding work at clothing factories.
But in one part of the country, some farmers have begun looking to the past and traditional farming practices to help them keep the industry alive, following a method of cultivation known as dhap, or baira… floating vegetable gardens that are an early form of hydroponics.
Bangladesh itself is susceptible to floods and waterlogging, which are exacerbated by monsoons, cyclones and snowmelt from the Himalayas. For up to eight months of the year, much of the land is underwater, while seawater also makes a lot of the coastal land useless where crop growing is concerned.
But the artificial islands that some farmers are now building rise and fall in line with the water, enabling farmers to be more resilient in the face of climate change.
Weeds like paddy stalks and water hyacinth are gathered by farmers during the monsoon season and placed on stagnant water to create farms.Seedlings are then planted on these organic beds, which are then positioned in flooded parts of local villages in districts like Barisal, Gopalganj and Pirojpur.
Similar practices can also be found in places like Inle Lake in Myanmar and Dal Lake in Kashmir, where people have had to adapt to living on the water.
The floating beds can last for between five and six months, with vegetables like bitter gourd, spinach, okra, brinjal and snake gourd all able to be grown in them, as well as spices like ginger and turmeric.
Once they reach the end of their life cycle at the end of autumn, the islands are then broken up, mixed with soil and used to grow crops like tomato, cauliflower, cabbage and turnip.
Senior research fellow at the James P Grant School of Public Health at Dhaka’s Brac University Fahmida Akter said: “It is very environmentally friendly – all the necessary inputs and resources are natural, and it does not create any waste or byproduct which can impact the environment negatively.”
If you’re inspired by the floating gardens of Bangladesh to try out growing your own crops at home, hydroponic kits can be a great place to start. Hydroponics is simply the art of gardening without using any soil and it can be a lot quicker to grow your crops, which you supply with water, oxygen and nutrient-rich solutions. See what we’ve got in stock today.