Bangladesh a densely populated under developed country having nearly 132.9 million people with per capita annual income of US $ 482, covering more than 916 persons per square km (BBS, 2006). About 70% people live in rural areas in 15.4 million households including about 85000 villages, where agriculture is the main occupation (FAO, 2005). Small scale of agriculture plays an important role in the Bangladesh economy. Due to increasing population the land holdings are being fragmented and areas devoted to small scale agriculture is decreasing (Mir, 2004). It is important that small scale agriculture be maintained so that sustainable local production will continue in Bangladesh. Agroforestry can provide a sound ecological basis for increased crop and animal productivity, more dependable economic returns and greater diversity in social benefits on a sustained basis (Book of Bangladesh, 2003).
Bangladesh possesses a total of 399585 hectares of homestead land with 0.03 ha per household, with marginal, small, medium and large household having an average 0.01, 0.02, 0.04 and 0.07 ha of total cultivated land respectively (BBS, 2006). Without negative consequences of homestead agroforestry system, it may be a good strategy for secured supply of food and petty cash (Bhuiyan, 1994). Though promotion of high yielding varieties reduced the gap between crop production and subsistence needs, there remains a wide gap between supply and demand of forest product. About 17% of the land areas are designated forestland, including 2% contribution by homestead plantation. However, the actual tree-covered area is estimated only at 9% of the country (Mohiuddin and Choudhury, 1997). Most of the forests are distributed to the southeastern regions.
The situation of northern areas of Bangladesh is even worse, the total forest area is about 2% only (Dinajpur forest division, 2005). Forestry productivity in Bangladesh is also extremely low (0.5-2.5 m3/ha/yr) for both plantation and natural forests (ADB, 2004). The forests, therefore, is failed to supply the wood demands. The homestead agroforestry is very important in the economy of Bangladesh. The trees and other woody species that are grown in the homesteads are significant sources of fuel wood also provide fruits, fodder, building materials and other forms of wood. They are particularly important source of fuel wood that can easily be collocated and carried for home use. Besides existing natural and plantation forests are generally managed for commercial products. In view of the forgoing discussion this research has been undertaken. The main focus of the study was to identify key factors of homestead depletion and suggest remedies to arrest further deterioration of the homestead production system.
2.1 Study Area:
The study was conducted in three unions of Birganj upzilla in Dinajpur district, located in the northern part of Bangladesh (Fig 1). The total area of the district is 3,437.98 km2. Administratively the district is divided into 13 thanas. The distance from district headquarter to the study area are 11, 20 amd 25 km, respectively. The soil of the area contains brown and gray silty clay loam under the Barind tract agro-ecological region. The average maximum temperature during the summer is 33.50 C while the average minimum temperature in winter is 10.50 C and the annual rainfall is 2536 mm.
Figure 1. The study area: Arjunahar (*1), Moricha (*2) and Dangapara (*3)
in Briganj upzilla in Bangladesh.
(GIS image source: Bangladesh Weather Division)
2.2 Data Collection
The research was carried out in the Dinajpur district. The research was conducted to make all possible effort to explain the purpose of the study to the respondents to get valid and pertinent information. Leader farmers made appointments with the interviewer in advance. The researcher administrated the interview schedule personally to the respondents. Report was established with the respondents though informal discussion regarding objectives of the interview. Co-operation was obtained from respondents during data collected from18th May to 8th June, 2008. In this study a stratified random sampling technique was followed to select the sample farmers and 100 households were selected.
The respondents were classified into five groups on the basis of farm size in terms of hectare (Landless: <0.20 ha, Marginal: 0.21-0.50 ha, Small: 0.51-1.00 ha, Medium: 1.01-2.00 ha and Large: >2.00 ha) (Abedin and Quddus1988). The study was based on field level primary collected data. There are three main methods by which survey data were gathered: direct observation, interviewing farmers, and records kept by farmers. Data were collected through field visits and personal interviewing with the sample farmers. Interviews were normally conducted in farmersí house in their leisure time in field when they worked. They provided information from memory and information was checked when the interview finished. After completion the field survey data from all the interview schedules were coded, compiled, tabulated and analyzed in accordance with the objectives of the study.
3. Results and Discussion
3.1 Selected Characteristics of the Respondents
Some common characteristics which were the independent variables of the study were investigated and described as follows:
3.1.1 Family, homestead and farm size
The family size scores of the farmers ranged from 3-12 with an average of 4.77. Most of the farmers (64%) had medium families compared to 23% small and 13 % large families (Table 1). The homestead of the farmers ranged from 0.02-0.48 hectare with an average of 0.056 hectare and standard deviation of 0.13. Among the farmers 29% had small, 9% had medium and only 5% had large homesteads and while lastly landless and marginal was 57 % (Table 2). In the study area the farm size of the farmer ranged from 0.05-4.16 hectares with an average of 0.91 hectare. Among the farmers, 17% was land less and marginal, 21% was medium, 53% was small and 9% was large farm holder (Table 3)
Table 1. Categorization of respondents according to their family size
Table 2. Categorization of respondents according to their homestead size
Table 3. Categorization of respondents according to their farm size
3.1.2 Age and Education
The age of an individual is one of the most important factors to make up his personality (Smith and Zope, 1970) play an important role on homestead agroforestry. Age of the respondents ranged from 18 to 55 years with an average of 32.14 years. On the basis of their age, the respondents were classified into three categories as presented in Table 4. Data showed that the highest proportion of 61 % was young, 29 % middle age and only 10 % were in old age group.
The education level of the farmers ranged from 0-14 with an average of 4.62 and standard deviation of 2.82 of schooling. In this study 37 % of the farmers had secondary level education whereas 10 % of them were illiterate, 35 % were of primary level and 18 % were of secondary level education (Table 5).
Table 4. Categorization of respondents according to their age
Table 5. Categorization of respondents according to their education
3.1.3 Number of trees and vegetables species in homestead
Number of trees in homestead of the farmers ranged from 7 to 61 trees with an average value of 15.70 and standard deviation of 2.31. the study showed that 32% respondents were in landless and marginal category who grew up 10 number of trees, 44 % were in small category who grew 11 to 20 number of trees, 15% of the respondents were in medium category who grew 21 to 30 trees and 9% respondents were in large category who grew above 30 number of trees (Table 6). Number of vegetables species in homestead of the respondents ranged from 2 to 9 species with an average value of 6.34. In this study 12% of the respondents were in marginal category, 31% in small category, 48% respondents in medium category and 9% were in large category (Table 7).
Table 6. Categorization of respondents according to their number of trees in homestead
Table 7. Categorization of respondents according to number of vegetables species
3.1.4 Problem confrontation on homestead agroforestry
The computed problem confrontation on homestead agroforestry scores of the farmers ranged from 6-27. It was observed that the highest proportion of (62%) farmers has medium homestead agroforestry problem confrontation, 15% had low and 23% had high categories problem confrontation on homestead agroforestry, respectively (Table 8).
Table 8. Categorization of respondents according to their
problem confrontation on homesteads Agroforestry
3.2 Annual income
Annual income of the farmers ranged from Tk. 30,000 to 1,75,000 with an average value of Tk. 42,370 and standard deviation of 19.95. The study indicates that most of the farmers (49%) were landless and marginal category (average annual income up to Tk. 42,370). 28% of the farmers were small category (average annual income Tk. 42,371 to 62,320). 13% of the farmers were medium category (average annual income Tk. 62,321 to 82,270) and 10% of the farmers were large category (average annual income above Tk. 82,270) (Table 9).
Table 9. Categorization of respondents according to their annual income
3.3 Use of homestead trees
The utilities of tree species in the homestead are shown in the table 10. It was observed that every species of tree in the homestead has multiple uses. The major uses of the tree grown in the homegardens were for fruit, timber, fuel, furniture and construction materials. The minor uses were fodder, agricultural implements and support to creepers. Based on diversified services major fruit species were jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), mango (Magnifera indica), coconut (Cocos nucifera), jujube (Zizyphus jujube), black berry (Rubus argutus), and tamarind (Tamarindus indica). The major timber species were sal (Shorea robusta), koroi (Albizia procera), Mahogony (Swietenia mahogani), neem (Azadirachta indica), sisso (Dalbergia sissoo) etc.
Table 10. Uses of different tree species
3.4 Tree management practice
Among tree management practices pruning (87%) was found to be most practicing in the homestead (table 11). The second practice was weed control followed by 61% of the households mainly during seedling establishment. Application of manure and use chemical fertilizers were also practices by 27% household which were mostly limit to pit preparation to seedling establishment. The tendency of using manures and fertilizers was relatively higher with rich farmers (medium and large) than with the poorer ones (landless, marginal and small). Irrigation was applied in a very limited scale (5%) during seedling establishment only. Therefore, immense scope and prospects do exist for increasing the productivity of the homestead through improved practices such as manuring, fertilization, mulching, pruning and pollarding etc.
Table 11. Homestead tree management practice in the study area
3.5 Tree crop association
In the study area different combination of tree-vegetable associates were recorded (table 12). A total 32 vegetables were found to grow in association with trees either under direst shade or as creeper. The vegetables grown under direst shade were food and cash generating plants and associated trees were jackfruit, mango, sal, litchi, mahogany, koroi, banana etc. it was reported that growing vegetables under trees have benefited the associated trees.
Table 12. Horticultural crops associated with major tree species in the homesteads
Conclusion drawn on the basis of the findings and their logical interpretation in the light of other relevant facts are:
- The study reveals that an overwhelming majority of the farmers (53 %) under small category possessed low number to trees in the homestead agroforestry system. Thus the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) and other concerning organizations should carry out appropriate program for dissemination of diversified tree among the farmers in the study area. There is no doubt about the fact that improve homestead would enable people to become less vulnerable to scarcities and rising price of the forest products.
- Moreover, trees grown on the homesteads could provide a source of income both to individuals and communities. From the previous discussion it may be seen that there is a bright prospect for homesteads in Bangladesh. In spite of the immense scope and prospects of the homegardens no systematic program has so far been taken to improve their productivity.
- In order to bring in a positive change in the productivity of the homegardens the following recommendations are made on the basis of the findings of the current study:
1. The homegarden system can be improved by proper care management practices, more research and extension services etc.
2. Efforts should be made to make rural farmers aware of the appropriate planning and management.
3. Provide the farmers necessary training and other technical support.
4. Agro-based industry should be built through more income generating activities.
The authors express deep sense of gratitude to the farmers of Arjunahar, Moricha and Dangapara under Briganj upzilla of Dinajpur district, Bangladesh for their cooperation during data collection and to the staff of Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Forest Department for their kind help. Also acknowledge the Japanese Ministry of Science and Education (Monbukagaksho MEXT) for financial support to conduct this research.
Abedin, M.A. and Quddus, M.A. 1998. Household fuel situation, home gardens and agroforestry practices at six agro-economically different locations of Bangladesh. Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), Joydepur, Bangladesh.
ADB (Asian Development Bank). 2004. Master Plan. Forest Production. Govt. Bangladesh, Ministry Env. Forest, Dhaka. P. 66.
BBS (Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics). 2006. Statistical Yearbook of Bangladesh. Bureau Stat, Ministry of Plan. Govt. of People:s Rep. Bangladesh, Dhaka.
Bhuiyan, A.A. 1994. Forestland agroforestry: the north Bengal experience. BARC-Winrock Int., Dhaka, Bangladesh. P. 63.
Book of Bangladesh. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of Planning, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Dinajpur Forest Division. 2005. Dinajpur forest division at a momentary look in Bengali.
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Mir, F.U.A and S. M. L Rahman. 2004. Structure and diversity of homegarden agroforestry. A case study in Gazipur district in Banladesh. J. Policy Studies; 4:117-129.
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Smith, T. L. and Zope, P.E. 1970. Principles of Inductive Rural Sociology. Philadelphia: F.A. Devies Company.
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