Livelihood Improvement of Farmers through Agroforestry Practices in Teesta and Jamuna River Basins
Asian Journal of Research in Agriculture and Forestry,
Agroforestry is one of the most sustainable land management systems practiced around the world due to the socioeconomic benefits to farmers. In Bangladesh, farmers practice agroforestry, applying indigenous knowledge. The objectives of the study are to explore the dominant agroforestry systems and species preferred by and to assess the socio-economic impact of agroforestry technologies on their livelihoods of farmers of the Char dwellers in Jamuna and Teesta river basins. The study was conducted at four Char Upazillas such as Kazipur, Shariakandi, Kaunia and Dimla. A total 120 farmers were surveyed during the research period using structured questionnaire with both open and closed ended questions. The majority of the respondents (56.67%) having low score in adoption of traditional agroforestry practices. Most of the farmers (94.17%) in Teesta and Jamuna river basins are practicing traditional homestead agroforestry system. The most frequent strategy was boundary tree plantation (44.17%) followed by scattered tree plantation technique on composite planting system, and the alley of cropland. A total of 41 tree species are abundant in Char areas of Teesta and Januna basins. Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) is widely adaptable in Bangladesh including Char areas followed by Mango (Mangifera indica) in homestead besides, Mahagony (Swietenia mahagoni) is another abundant species planted in croplands boundaries of Char areas along with Akashmoni (Acacia auriculiformis). The farmers mentioned different problems they were facing in practicing agroforestry but ‘shade cast by trees’ was the major problem. Majority farmers of Char areas plant trees in homestead for fruits (63.33%) and in cropland for fuel wood (95.83%) and timber production (82.50%). Farmers’ livelihoods improved enormously by practicing agroforestry as they have more access to food, fodder and fuel wood which is reflected by greater access to livelihood capitals except social capital. However, the farmers have experienced increased incidences of pests and diseases to annual crops and trees. Agroforestry practices increases species diversity, ensure economic return and sustain farmers’ livelihoods. The respondents, local leaders and experts suggested the constrains of adopting agroforestry in Char areas are lack of awareness, education, technical skills, capital, technical assistance, interest, marketing and transportation facilities at the study areas . The government should initiate some agroforestry focused projects, especially in the Char areas for the capacity building of the farmers and equip them with the new farming techniques through trainings and orientation workshops. The farmers should be provided scientific guidance about suitable tree species grown on agricultural land with field crops, their silvicultural operations and tree management practices along with free services and inputs including seeds, seedlings and loan schemes for promoting agroforestry.
- livelihood and river basins.
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