PRACTICE CHANGE IN DRY SEASON CROPPING OF NON-SALINE AREAS IN SOUTHERN BANGLADESH: PERSPECTIVE ON PROJECT INTERVENTION
Practice Change in Dry Season Cropping
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) seeks to introduce pulse production as alternative of rice cropping and thus improve the socioeconomic status of the farm households in Southern Bangladesh. This study was carried out to assess the changes on agronomic practices, crop diversification and profitability, women empowerment, and food security and livelihood of non-saline areas’ farmers after the ACIAR project intervention (both cash and kind) at the end-line period. A total of 240 farmers (i.e., 120 focal and 120 control) was investigated during 2020-2021 following stratified random sampling technique from Patuakhali, Barisal, Jhalokathi, and Barguna districts. The collected data were analyzed using a combination of descriptive statistics (sum, averages and percentages) and mathematical analyses (Simpson’s index of cropping diversity, partial budget analysis, women’s empowerment index, food group consumption frequency score and German correlation sensitive poverty index). The majority of the farmers were found to follow the cropping patterns of Fallow – Aman rice – Pulses, Boro rice – Aman rice – Fallow and Aus rice – Aman rice – Pulses. Pulses covered around 37.0 and 33.0 percent of the total cropped area of focal and control farmers, respectively. The average cropping diversity was at medium level for both categories of farmers. The revenue from pulses production was found much higher than rice farming for both focal and control farmers. The extent of women empowerment was increasedat the end-line period by 2.8 and 0.8 percent for focal and control farmers, respectively after adopting the project intervention. The study found focal farm households more food secure compared to control farm households at the end-line period. As a response to the project support, the livelihood of focal farm households improved more than control farm households at the end-line period based on poverty dimensions (71.0 and 65.2 percent, respectively). ..........