Despite facing challenges of high water and soil salinity, conflicting water management requirements, climate change and changing demographics, the coastal zone of Bangladesh is a region with potential for sustainable, increased agricultural productivity. The varying environments within the zone demand that ‘best-bet’ cropping systems to increase productivity be location-specific and, thus, guided by the best available spatial information on the environmental, social and economic requirements of each system. Bangladesh has a wealth of spatial information that has been generated by several institutes across an even greater number of projects, but this information often remains unused, unknown and unshared. Access to and awareness of this information is key for cost-effective targeting, and must be built into multidisciplinary and multi-institute efforts to identify sustainable interventions. The Ganges project on ‘Resource profiles, extrapolation domains, and land-use patterns’ (G1) is working with a number of key institutes with mandates and interest in the coastal zone in order to develop the most detailed and comprehensive spatial database possible on agriculture, water, soil, salinity, climate and socioeconomics. The project has worked in conjunction with other CPWF-Ganges projects to:
- Map the extent of eleven cropping systems and the requirements of each, with high spatial and temporal detail, and;
- Develop future land-use and cropping system estimates based on the likely impact of climate, demographic and policy change on the coastal zone.
With the agreement of all partners, the spatial information created by the project will be made publicly available through a WebGIS database. It is hoped that this effort will demonstrate the value that can be added to existing data holdings if the environment is made more conducive to data-sharing, thereby increasing the chances of appropriate technology adoption and sustainable land and water use policies. The project’s ultimate outcome would be to contribute to the development of a national open (spatial) data policy. This project will conclude in December 2014.
International Rice Research Institute, Institute of Water Modelling, Soil Resource Development Institute, Local Government Engineering Department, Bangladesh Water Development Board
Andrew (Andy) Nelson (email@example.com)