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home \ Floating Garden Agricultural Practices, Bangladesh

Bangladesh, is mostly affected by flood and water remains for a prolonged period of time. Farmers are using their submerged lands for crop production by adopting scientific methods which are similar to hydroponic agriculture practices, i.e. floating agriculture, whereby plants can be grown on the water in a bio-land or floating bed of water hyacinth, algae or other plant residues.

This ancient practice dates back to the country’s forbearers. People in different parts of Bangladesh have adopted, modified and named this practice differently (baira, boor, dhap, gathua, gatoni, geto, kandi and vasoman chash and floating agriculture) according to their needs.

Floating gardens are found most successful in the coastal areas that are adjacent to the sea-bank areas, which remain submerged for long periods, especially in the monsoon season, as well as the wetland Haor Areas. The floating garden agricultural practices (locally known as Dhap) for growing vegetables and spices prevail in the wetlands of the south central coastal districts of Bangladesh since immemorial times. Using available water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) and other aquatic weeds, local communities have developed a technique to construct reasonably-sized floating platforms or raft on which vegetables and other crops can be cultivated. The unique hydroponics production system was developed in the hands of the locals by using their traditional knowledge for agricultural practice and livelihood.

About 60-90% of the locals have adopted this system in which bio-diverse vegetables and spices crops are grown sustainably over the years on floating substrata made mainly of water hyacinth and other minor aquatic weeds on flooded water. The land with the water is used for production of fish in the open water and crops on the floating beds. This, ensures a sustainable utilization of agro biodiversity, natural resources and multiple use of the land and is therefore an environmental-friendly means to utilize the natural resources of wetlands to grow vegetables and other crops almost all year round. Numerous social, economic, agricultural and ecological benefits are provided to the local population with the floating gardens.