‘Grow Sack Plants’ is a Noble Cultivation Practice in Climate Change Situation

‘Grow Sack Plants’ is a Noble Cultivation Practice in Climate Change Situation
Mohammed Ataur Rahman and Anil Chandra Basak
Professors, College of Agricultural Sciences
IUBAT—International University of Business Agriculture and Technology
Uttara Model Town
Dhaka-1230, Bangladesh
Email: marahman@iubat.edu


Densely populated and agriculture-dependent Bangladesh has been facing serious climate change disasters like flood, water-logging and droughts etc., every year in the recent decades. As a result, the agriculture, especially the food production has been badly affected. Considering the increasing frequencies of climate change disasters this study was conducted to find out sustainable coping up methods, especially for vegetables, spices and fruit crop production. This project established a Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) for the national interest especially for the areas with adverse environmental condition as well as urban and peri-urban areas. A pilot project was developed in IUBAT campus. Different types of sacks: Hessian bags, jute, polythene; earthen and plastic pots and containers were used. For hanging sack plants, bamboo, wooden and polyvinyl posts and racks were erected. Crops were selected according to their growing habitat and season. Selected species were: tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.), Yard long bean (Vigna unguiculata L.), chili ( Capsicum annuum L.), Eggplant (Solanum melongena L.), Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia L. ) mint (Mentha piperita L.), Country bean (Lablab purpureous L.), Lady’s finger (Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench), spinach (Basella alba L.) and Sweet and Lemon basil (Ocimum basilicum L.). Soil and compost were collected and sacks were filled under recommended proportion. Soil and plant parts analysis were done to ensure maximum production and to maintain optimum soil nutrient status. Greywater was used as per requirement. Organic pest control methods were applied against pests and diseases. Routine observation and management were done for recording data. Students of the College of Agricultural Sciences of IUBAT were engaged to complete their practicum for graduation. A luxuriant growth was observed and yield was similar to conventional cultivation practice of all the crops. This cultivation practice is organic and environment-friendly, ensures biomass and greywater recycling. Undergraduate students also built up their capacity through this project. The findings of the project provide fresh and green edible plants/crops to prevent malnutrition and to supplement food and nutrient security. This practice will build up capacity in the family level and thus ensures human resource development. It will promote international and regional collaboration with scientific and civil societies, as well.

Keywords: Grow sack plants, Climate Smart Agriculture, Greywater, Cow-dung slurry
Published in the IUT Journal of Advance Research and Development, Tripura, India, Volume-4, No. 2 October 2018 – March 2019 ISSN: 2455-7846 https://www.iutripura.edu.in/IUT-JARD-October-2018-March-2019-Volume.pdf
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EfS Handbook of Education for Sustainability

EfS Handbook of Education for Sustainability
Professor Dr Mohammed Ataur Rahman
Professor Dr M Alimullah Miyan
Professor H Eric Frank

Centre for Global Environmental Culture (CGEC)
IUBAT—International University of Business Agriculture and Technology
4 Embankment Drive Road, Sector No 10, Uttara Model Town, Dhaka-1230, Bangladesh
Website: www.iubat.edu
March 2009

Present Earth and Need for Sustainability

As the human activities are progressing, competitions for exploitation are accelerating for economic growth but aggravating the imbalances of natural resources which in turn degrading the normal habitat of lives and the planet earth is at great risk. Under these circumstances, control of such imbalances to conserve the nature faces urgent tasks: the improvement of the quality of the environment, which is necessary for man’s very survival and as the source of all his material benefits; as far as possible, to completely reproduce organic and inorganic natural resources; to control natural processes for the steady and sustainable progress of social production and for comprehensive development and to safeguard peace on earth.

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Importance of Landscape Management in Bangladesh

Importance of Landscape Management in Bangladesh
Sowmen Rahman1, Selina Nargis2 and Mohammed Ataur Rahman3*
1 Department of Environmental Planning, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand Email: sowmenurp@gmail.com
2 Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences, IUBAT Dhaka Bangladesh Email: selina@iubat.edu
3 Professor, Department of Environmental Science, IUBAT Dhaka, Bangladesh Email: marahman@iubat.edu * Corresponding Author

Published in Proceedings of the 13th International Knowledge Globalization Conference: Theme: Sustainable Development Goals – Success and Challenges: 23-25 February 2018, IUBAT, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Landscape management is an essential component of natural conservation, food security and biodiversity; provides livelihoods and influences the climatic factors like humidity, temperature, precipitation and wind, and acts as an important element of disaster risk reduction. Landscapes provide safety against adverse conditions like cyclones, storms, droughts and floods etc. Undulated surface keeps the natural systems moving and provides increased surface area. Nature has its own laws and change is universal; still human often governs the natural systems and their biased activities accelerated the changes including landscape. With rapid industrialization, unplanned urbanization and road transportation systems many changes have occurred and most of the natural systems are being disturbed. Moreover, climate change effects have accentuated the disasters like cyclones, tornadoes, tidal surges, floods, droughts and erosion etc. The landscape and the soil phases of the great Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna basins have been changed due to expansion of flatland irrigation-dependent agriculture destroying hills and hill forests, wet bodies; construction of dams and embankments, roads and highways across the floodplains and natural flows of streams and rivers etc. Traditional floodplain management systems were also destroyed for irrigating crop during and after the Green Revolution. The ponds were common in every home and the houses were built on the raised land and there was a nice synchronization for livelihoods and survival. Therefore, to secure the lives and livelihoods it needs to manage natural systems wisely and logically. It is essential to conserve and maintain the characteristic features of a landscape, which is greatly valued on account of its distinctive natural or cultural configuration. This paper reflects the importance of the landscape in environmental sustainability and for a comprehensive Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) policy. It analyzes the related issues ahead to achieve an effective landscape management policy for adoption of appropriate DRR strategy.

Keywords: DRR, green revolution, landscape management, ponds, traditional floodplain management.

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Opportunity of Basil (Tulsi) Cultivation in Bangladesh

Opportunity of Basil (Tulsi) Cultivation in Bangladesh
Mohammed Ataur Rahman
Apr. 11, 2019

Basil or Tulsi is one of the most important medicinal and culinary herbs widely used all over the world often referred to as the “King of the Herbs”. More than 150 species are cultivated in the world.

In Bangladesh, Krishna Tulsi and Ram Tulsi are used for worship by the Hindus from early ages. Many other Tulsi viz. Babui, Purple, Lemon are grown in different parts of Bangladesh and mostly used for medicinal and culinary purpose.

Basil is a rich source of natural compounds, essential oil, medical products such as monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, phenylpropanoids, anthocyanins, and phenolic acids, as well as their effect on sensory qualities.

It is a valuable medicinal plant that not only has many applications in food, pharmacy, dentistry, perfumery and cosmetic industry but also used extensively in traditional and modern medicine and traditionally consumed as a medicinal herb to treat headaches, coughs, diarrhoea, constipation, kidney disorders and parasitic diseases.

In addition, it is used externally as an ointment to treat insect bites, and its oil used directly on the skin to treat acne. Basil essential oil contains biologically active compounds that display insecticidal, anti-nematodes, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial effects.

Professor Dr Mohammed Ataur Rahman of International University of Business Agriculture and Technology (IUBAT) has been working on seven varieties of Basil in IUBAT campus since 2017.

During the research, he found Sweet and Lemon Basils are very suitable for commercial and homestead cropping. Basil can easily be grown in the kitchen window, containers or in the home garden.

He presented the findings in a seminar held on 6th April 2019 at IUBAT conference hall. The growth performances of both the varieties are recommendable; growing nicely throughout the year without any pest and diseases. Third generation seeds are under trial now. For growth induction pinching and pruning are practised; plucking intervals are studied for getting maximum yield. From the study, it is found that both Sweet and Lemon Basils cannot tolerate water-logging.

Both fresh & dried Lemon Basil twigs are tasted with tea and without tea and found pleasant attractive flavour. Lemon basil has small and fragrant leaves on compact plants delightfully combine the flavours of lemon and basil; excellent for using fresh or dried.

The demand for tea has increased sharply and Bangladesh is spending huge foreign currency every year for importing tea. It has imported 6.3 million and 6.5 million kg of tea in 2017 and 2018 respectively which are very alarming. In this situation, Lemon Basil can be used as a very safe and healthy drink. It can also be used as additive blending with green/black tea and that will reduce the demand for tea.

Sweet Basil twigs are tasted with salad and curry and found very tasty. Sweet Basil has wide scope for using in Continental & Thai Curry preparation like pizza, meat curry, fish and egg dishes, soups, salads, herb butter and herb vinegar etc. Leaves are larger than lemon basil and the yield is more than double. Perhaps Sweet basil is the most popular and widely used culinary herb for its spicy odor and flavor.
Published in
http://www.migrationnewsbd.com/news/view/32087/54/Opportunity-of-Basil-Tulsi-Cultivation-in-Bangladesh April 11, 2019

Save the Rice Landraces and Ecotypes and Save the Ecosystems

Save the Rice Landraces and Ecotypes and Save the Ecosystems
Professor Dr Mohammed Ataur Rahman
Crop Climatologist, International University of Business Agriculture and Technology (IUBAT),
Uttara, Dhaka-1230. Email- marahman@iubat.edu
Published in the New Age, Bangladesh on May 19, 2019 http://www.newagebd.net/article/72833/saving-rice-landraces-ecotypes-ecosystems
Rice is the most important grain crop of Bangladesh. There are thousands of varieties of rice were in Bangladesh. Over 5000 local rice varieties have become extinct in the country in the last few decades. Nearly I0,000 landraces are considered to exist in Bangladesh and it is estimated that about 120 000 varieties of rice exist in the world. To date, approximately 8,200 germplasm have been preserved by the BRRI genebank. From the available data of Digital Herbarium of Crop Plants only 135 varieties are in cultivation now; this situation is very alarming both for food security and biodiversity. The ongoing rapid changes in agricultural practices that favor agronomically improved varieties have become a serious threat for the persistence of indigenous rice varieties. Thus, conservation and management strategies are urgently needed to prevent further loss of genetic diversity inherent to indigenous rice varieties in the region. A detailed understanding of the genetic structure and diversity is needed for the planning and implementation of effective conservation, management and utilization of rice germplasm in the whole region.
Therefore, along with the genetic forced crop improvement, climatic adaptation and improvement of environmental factors through climatic manipulation and aggregate farming using multiple varieties of crops, pets and aquatics etc. are utmost essential for food and nutrient security in this climate change situation.
To ensure the conservation of biodiversity, protection of soil health and water quality and ultimately for the betterment of human health the government, the researchers, the think tanks and the policy makers should consider the direct and indirect benefits of our rice landraces without any delay.
Rice has the wide adaptation ability under different agroecological niches of Bangladesh. It can be cultivated on the slope of the hill, plain lands, floodplains, semi-dry to very deep flooded areas. Widely adapted with different climatic seasons; can be cultivated throughout the year. Rice is the best-adapted cereal crop in the lowland soil in the wet season. No other crops have this ability to cope with the situation. When the vast areas of our country go under flood water for considerable time in the wet season, or when intermittent flash flood affects majority of the lowlands, or when tide water rises up and falls down twice a day, rice is the only crop option to be suited in those conditions. Thus rice enables to bring these vast areas under cultivation in unfavourable conditions.
Traditionally in Bangladesh, Jhum or shifting cultivators had been paying careful attention to soil resilience by practicing short cultivation following long fallow system with minimum of disturbance to the surface soil to avoid soil erosion and to help facilitate forest regeneration thus Jhum cultivation as a means of slopeland utilization has traditionally been quite sustainable.
According to variation of climatic seasons and topography there evolved different kinds of rice with many characters and specialties. Aromatic, non-aromatic, glutinous and non-glutinous, coarse and fine grain, long medium and short grain rice with varied colors: brown, white, red and black etc.
Perhaps rice is the most sustainable food crop in the world in providing energy and nutrition, has versatile food preparations, preservation and regeneration opportunities. Comparing to vegetable crops, other grain crops, tuber and root crops and even fruit crops rice is cheaper and handy.
Rice is considered to be an auspicious symbol of life and fertility. Starch is the most important source of carbohydrates in the human diet and accounts for more than 50% of our carbohydrate intake. It occurs in plants in the form of granules, and these are particularly abundant in cereal grains and tubers, where they serve as a storage form of carbohydrates. We often think of potatoes as a “starchy” food, yet other plants contain a much greater percentage of starch (potatoes 15%, wheat 55%, corn 65%, and rice 75%). Commercial starch is a white powder. Although potatoes are cheaper than rice but it is one-fifth efficient to rice therefore costlier than rice.
Residue management practices affect soil physical properties such as soil moisture content, temperature, aggregate formation, bulk density, soil porosity and hydraulic conductivity. Increasing amounts of rice residues on the soil surface reduce evaporation rates and increased duration of first-stage drying. Thus, residue-covered soils tend to have greater soil moisture content than bare soil except after extended drought. The straws are very good fodder for cattle used both green and dry conditions. Straws contain cellulose lignin and many minerals which decompose in the field or recycled via cattle through enzymatic and microbial process enriching food chain adding value with protein, fat and minerals. The cellulose is the carbohydrate like starch with similar basic unit glucose. Therefore both rice and straw are contributing in energy conversion and nutrient supply chain and in biogeochemical cycle more efficiently than any other crop.
Usually the yield of the vegetable crops is high and consumed whole plant parts; thus all nutrients are ingested by human, very little portions are recycled through involvement of other animals. As a result, short-cycled recycling of the human faeces or excreta is not easy especially from the quickly growing urban areas. Therefore, the nutrients are not getting back to their sources of origin and the soil nutrition status is declining sharply mainly from the vegetable fields. Practically in the urban and peri-urban areas, the huge faeces are remained unutilized years together in the septic tanks; the black water overflows to the rivers or wet-bodies through sewerage system. Unfortunately, most of the wet bodies are deadly polluted with the chemicals, oils and other pollutants discharged from the industries, transports, hospitals and tanneries etc. As a result, the productivity of fishes and other aquatics is also very poor from those wet bodies. On the other hand, urban green garbage is rarely recycled rather dumps for landfill. Other than the faeces, average per capita urban waste generation rate is estimated as 0.41 kg/capita/day of which food and vegetable comprises 67.65% i.e. about 0.28 kg/capita/day and for present urban 40% of the total population of the country producing 20,160 tons green waste everyday by the urban people of which a very negligible quantity is recycled. Thus the soil fertility status of the country has been declining very sharply and the farmers are becoming increasingly dependent on chemical fertilizers. Therefore, rice-based home centered farming system for short cycled biomass recycling is utmost essential. The diversified landraces of rice have the ability to supply the necessary energy and nutrients to human and other animals associated in the cropping circle in this region.
According to recent IPBES Global Assessment Report: Since 1970, trends in agricultural production, fish harvest, bioenergy production and harvest of materials have increased, in response to population growth, rising demand and technological development, this has come at a steep price, which has been unequally distributed within and across countries. Many other key indicators of nature’s contributions to people however, such as soil organic carbon and pollinator diversity, have declined, indicating that gains in material contributions are often not sustainable.

The pace of agricultural expansion into intact ecosystems has varied from country to country. Losses of intact ecosystems have occurred primarily in the tropics, home to the highest levels of biodiversity on the planet. Bangladesh needs to revise its agriculture policy to save the ecosystem, biodiversity and to protect human health.