Case Study: Bangladesh By Heather Campbell Rice Farming
Rice Farming Rice farming in India is very labour intensive. It is subsistence farming as the farmers only make enough food to feed themselves and their families. However, rice farmers only have a small amount of land to grow the crop on as the paddy field is split up equally between the sons. This means that sometimes a small area is split up into thirds or quarters. Also, once they have their own families, their proportion of the field is again split meaning the area is even smaller.
Rice is a staple food for over one third of the world’s population. However, to successfully grow rice certain conditions are needed:
Temperatures that reach above 21°C
Rainfall over 2000mm a year
Bangladesh is a perfect location for rice farming:
Temperatures of over 21°C for more than 5 months in the year
Soil is fertile alluvium due to deposits from the Megna, Ganges and Brahmaputra
Bangladesh is a delta and so much of the land is flat
Monsoon season brings over 2000mm of rain a year
Five month growing season
Annual floods deposit rich layers of alluvium that provide and impermeable layer
Monsoon rainfall over 2000mm
Flat land that is flooded
Temperatures over 21°C
Dry time for harvesting
Large labour force
Water buffaloes for ploughing
Manure from buffaloes for fertilising
Rice Farming Rice farmers have a busy year as even when it is not the growing season for rice, the fields need to be prepared. Repair bunds and canals Plant seeds in nursery beds Flood and plough the padis Transplant the seedlings into the padis Weeding and thinning rice Gradually drain the fields so rice can ripen Harvesting Animals graze in the fields Cultivation of off season crops A year in the life of a farmer...
Rice Farming Flooding – provides water and fertile silt to grow the rice but sometimes when the floods are so severe they destroy the rice crop. Drought – in some years the monsoon rains 'fail' and the rice crop is ruined. This causes a problem for the farmer as he needs to grow the rice for his family. Shortage of land and a growing population – many farms are too small to support the family. The increasing population makes the situation worse as there are more people to feed. Little use of machinery or modern methods. Problems...
Rice Farming Changes... The green revolution This was introduced in the 1960s to increase rice yields. The use of HYVs (High Yielding Varieties) such as IR8 meant that production more than trebled. ‘ Dwarf‘ varieties are shorter and can be grown closer together = more crops are less likely to be damaged. They are designed to make the maximum use of fertilisers. They are designed to withstand diseases. Advantages Disadvantages People can have a more varied diet as higher yields allow some fields to be used for other crops such as vegetables. HYVs need a reliable and controlled water supply and greater amounts of machinery. This increases farmers’ costs. Yields are more reliable as many new varieties are disease resistant. Only farmers that can afford to invest in the changes will benefit. Faster growing HYVs allow an extra crop to be grown each year. Increased use of pesticides has poisoned other types of wildlife. There is an enhanced quality of life with more money for better housing and better roads. Mechanisation has led to rural unemployment and migration to overcrowded cities. Increased yields have meant a drop in food prices for local people in some areas. Those who can’t afford the extra cost of modernisation run into debt and can be forced off their land.
Rice Farming Changes... Appropriate technology Appropriate technology uses the skills of local people, local materials and is suitable for the country’s level of development.