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Livelihood development in the hill ecosystems of Bangladesh: the role of agroforestry

Authors:

K. N. A. Jewel ,

Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council, Farmgate, Dhaka,, BD
About K. N. A.

Forestry Unit

 

Department of Agroforestry, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh, Bangladesh

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M. A. Wadud,

Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh-2202, BD
About M. A.
Department of Agroforestry
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G. M. M. Rahman,

Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh-2202, BD
About G. M. M.
Department of Agroforestry
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M. Saifullah

Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council, Farmgate, Dhaka, BD
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Forestry Unit
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Abstract

Agroforestry plays an important role in hill ecosystems by developing a combined production system integrating trees and crops. The primary aim of the study was to determine the impact of agroforestry practices on the livelihoods of the respondents in the hill ecosystems of Bangladesh. This study comparatively assessed 100 smallholder agroforestry farmers’ livelihoods in the hill ecosystem (Rangamati and Bandarban districts). An immense and in-depth field visit was conducted from June 2018 to August 2019, interviewing the farmers through both open-ended and closed-ended semi-structured questionnaires. Group discussion was also used to retrieve qualitative data. Five livelihood capitals: human, physical, natural, financial and social showed a mixed impact on agroforestry farmers’ livelihoods. The respondents were mostly (34%) young (20-30 years old), illiterate (44%) and experienced in farming (64%), but interested in adopting agroforestry practices for their livelihood maintenance. The financial capital is gained through crop income, farmers’ ownership of high-value equipment (motorcycles or thresher/dryer), and lease tenure of land. Farmers appear to have similar access to physical and natural capital and relatively higher access to social capital, although livelihood resources are interrelated. All these observations come together into a picture of the hill people’s socio-economic and farming characteristics. Farmers’ livelihoods are improved tremendously by practicing agroforestry as they’ve further access to food, fodder and fuel lumber, which is reflected by greater access to livelihood capital. Despite the prevalence of location, the sensitive questionnaire (income range) and the search for solutions to problems through group discussion are limitations of this study. Further research is recommended to more thoroughly investigate the impact of agroforestry systems on farmers' livelihoods.
How to Cite: Jewel, K.N.A., Wadud, M.A., Rahman, G.M.M. and Saifullah, M., 2022. Livelihood development in the hill ecosystems of Bangladesh: the role of agroforestry. Tropical Agricultural Research and Extension, 25(4), pp.369–385. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/tare.v25i4.5605
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Published on 29 Dec 2022.
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