Water for Food, in the Sundarban coastal
Fondazione L’Albero della Vita (FADV) and its three local partners ACID, Prasari, Dalit
24 Parganas district in India; Satkhira district in Bangladesh
In 2009, Cyclone Aila destroyed over 500 km of river embankments, flooding villagers houses and fields with salt water. Frequent floods, poor water quality and prolonged water-logging have created acute food shortages, compelling farmers to seek alternative sources of income or to and abandon their families and emigrate in search of work.
FADV and its partners have trained the community in water management, innovative agricultural techniques for saline soil, and small animal breeding for alternative sources of income. The organizations have also installed infrastructure to control water flow, and introduced technologies for water management and water logging mitigation.
Over 550 farmers in India and Bangladesh have been trained in water management techniques including water conservation, water drainage, soil salinity control, and improved agricultural practices in saline soil. To ensure an adequate water supply for agriculture, river channels have been cleared and farm ponds constructed. A mangrove has been planted with 70,000 saplings in Gosaba and Hingalganj to prevent soil erosion and lower wind speed in the cyclone-prone region. Innovative agricultural techniques have been introduced like floating gardens and pitcher irrigation. 70% of participating farmers are now growing crops and cultivating vegetables throughout the year, in addition to rainy season farming. In the last two years, farmers have produced 8000 quintals of rice on 190 acres (77 hectares), 4500 quintals of vegetables on 72 acres (29 hectares) and 1200 quintals of fish on 29 acres (12 hectares) of ponds. Beside the introduction of innovative agricultural techniques, the project also developed livelihood options for women from ultra-poor households who do not own any agricultural land: through the creation of self-help groups (57 self-help groups created involving 684 members), the women were able to access credit to start income generating activities, furthermore they have been with provided support and training for small livestock rearing and vegetable cultivation. A market has been built in the village of Hingalganj to facilitate sales.
FADV is planning to replicate the project in 25 neighbouring villages, in the Sundarban area of India and Bangladesh, to benefit an additional 500 male and female farmers. FADV will introduce and provide technical support for innovative farming techniques, like floating vegetable gardens and farm ponds, in areas suffering from water logging, salinity and low productivity. Another 450 women will be involved in project activities for the development of income generating activities through self-help groups. Moreover FADV is aiming at supporting three unemployed youth groups in creating water enterprises for providing safe and clean drinking water in the area.
FADV and its partners have trained the community in water management, installed infrastructure to control water flow, and introduced technologies for water management and water logging mitigation.