Drought and livelihoods: Understanding the impacts on dryland farmers and their adaptation constraints in northern Bangladesh
The present article focuses on the understanding of drought impacts on dryland farmers and their adaptation constraints in northern Bangladesh that causes a lot of damage in agro-production and strictly changes the pattern of livelihood, increasing the vulnerability of the farmers almost every year. This study assesses livelihood framework and adaptation strategy by using pentagon livelihood capitals and sustainable livelihood framework, exploring the socio-economic, technological, geographical and natural factors on livelihood adaptation strategies. Following stratified purposive sampling techniques, four focus group discussions were conducted at four villages of Gorinabari union in Panchagarh district from August to October in 2014. Constraints of adapting drought were assessed by using pentagon capitals and limitations of the existing technique of the farmers in the agro-production. The perception and knowledge of the dryland farmers in modern farming is limited and unwillingness of the farmers also causes their backwardness in terms of adaptation capacity. The findings explore that vulnerable people had little ability to adjust with the changing situation that’s why they suffer much in time of drought occurrence causing damage of crops, late crops, high irrigation cost, low fertility, unavailability of agro-information, inadequate credit. Further the findings also suggest that with the policy and its implementation, role of NGOs with GOs, using drought and dry resistant crops, introducing alternative options of livelihood, poultry farming and encouraging livestock rearing and small business vulnerable farmers can adapt the adverse situation. Finally, the study tries to develop a model DAM (drought adaptation model) based on the SLF (Sustainable livelihood framework) and the idea of pentagon capitals that will help to investigate the main causes of drought vulnerability and components of livelihood adaptation constraints in the drought-prone northern Bangladesh. Keywords: Adaptation, Drought, Dryland, livelihoods, vulnerability 1. Introduction
Bangladesh is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world (Shahid & Behrawan, 2008). Bangladesh lies in such geographical area where various disasters have become common like floods, droughts, river bank erosions, landslides, thunders, cyclones, northwesters and tornados etc that directly affect on peoples livelihood. Although people and govt. of Bangladesh are more concerned flood and cyclones as two main contributors to crop loss in the country, droughts also cause a greater damage to crops than floods or cyclones, and they affect more farmers across a wider area (Paul, 1995). High spatial and temporal climatic variability, extreme events, high population density, high incidence of poverty and social inequity, poor institutional capacity, inadequate financial resources, and poor infrastructure have made Bangladesh highly vulnerable to disaster (Ahmed, 2004). Drought mostly affects the country in pre-monsoon and post-monsoon periods (Banglapedia, 2006). Drought damaged about 218 million tons of rice between 1973 and 1987 in Bangladesh (Climate Change Cell, 2009). During the last 50 years, Bangladesh suffered from drought conditions about 20 times. The more severe drought-affected years were 1951, 1961, 1973, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1992, 1994, 1995, and 2000. The 1973 drought was one of the severest in the present century and was responsible for the local famine in northern Bangladesh in 1974. In the 1975 drought, 47 percent of the country was affected, causing suffering to about 53 percent (Adnan, 1993). The consecutive drought of 1978 and 1979 directly affected 42 percent of cultivated land and reduced rice production by an estimated 2 million tons (Brammer, 1987). The losses due to drought in 1982 were more than double...
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