Lezing Abiar Rahman

CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS ON BANGLADESH AGRICULTURE – Scope of urban agriculture to combat the challenges in Dhaka city

Bangladesh is primarily a deltaic flood plains having humid tropical climate. It is characterized by extremely
high population density with low resource-base and high incidence of natural disasters. Despite technological advances such as improved crop varieties, fertilization and irrigation systems; weather and climate are still key factors in agricultural productivity. However, the country is recognized as the most vulnerable country in the world to the impacts of the global environmental phenomenon. In recent years, erratic weather patterns lead to unseasonable biotic and abiotic stresses in agricultural sectors resulting in reduced yield potential or crop failure. Sea level rise, flooding, drought, increasing salinity, cyclone, river erosion are some frequently occurred events in Bangladesh. It is said that livelihood and subsistence of poor community and farmers will be hampered more due to climate change. Flood is a common disaster in Bangladesh, which destroys infrastructures, causes death of lives, losses huge crop yields and outbreaks waterborne diseases. Increase of monsoon rainfall, high discharge of rivers during monsoon, sea level rise, river siltation upstream flow are some major causes of flood in Bangladesh. Two mega floods were occurred in 1988 and 1998, which inundated 61 and 67% of the country’s landmass, respectively. In 2004, another big flood hit Bangladesh. Dhaka was also severely affected and 60% of the city was under water.
Due to climate change, rural people are moving to urban area for their subsistence, which has already exceeded the carrying capacity. The problem is more acute in Dhaka city, the capital of Bangladesh, where about 15 million people live in 360 km2. Due to over population, poor management and unplanned settlement, it is experiencing multi-dimensional problems such as over urbanization, traffic congestion, water logging, solid waste disposal, black smoke from brick kilns and industrial emissions, sound pollution, pollution of water bodies by industrial discharge and the newly added calamity, building collapse. It has been reported that 53% water body and wetlands have been decreased in last decade due to induced landfill for infrastructural development, while 59% of vegetation and cultivated land has been reduced. Food security of urban people in terms of food availability and quality are at risk. However there is an ample scope to produce crops particularly vegetables, fruits and herbs with a good plan and design by using available resources, because the building structures are quite suitable for agricultural activities.

Department of Agroforestry and Environment, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU), Bangladesh
Dr Abiar Rahman is an expert on agroforestry, climate adaptation, sustainable agriculture and land use designer. He is an Associate Professor, Dept. of agroforestry and Environment, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU), Bangladesh. He is currently appointed as Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Environmental Design at Kyushu University, Japan by getting award from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). In his PhD-research, he developed environment friendly agriculture production system through agroforestry technique. Resource poor farmers can get desired crop yields by using low inputs. He is one of the pioneers in Bangladesh developed multi-storeyed agroforestry production system by using same land and resources. This technique is now getting popularity in fruit tree based agroforestry systems. He also assessed the crop productivity loss due to climate change (precipitation and
temperature) despite technological improvement. He has supervised 13 MS and one PhD students in the fields of agroforestry, environment and climate change & adaptation. He has published 25 articles in different journals and attended 13 international conferences/seminars/workshops. He also implemented several projects on agroforestry and climate change funded by different national and international organizations. Recently he has screened timber and fruit trees under saline and drought regimes to adapt adverse condition of climate change. Recently he is working on designing of homestead production system for better livelihood, income generation, food security and living environment. He also emphasized the land use and climate change impacts on forest degradation in Teknaf peninsula of Bangladesh. His intention is to develop a landscape design to conserve the forest. He is interested in designing urban agriculture to get selfsafe food and ensure food security for the urban people. He has planned to work on urban design in Dhaka city with the collaboration of Professor Dr. Rob Roggema, VHL University, Netherlands.
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