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Many areas of cropland in Bangladesh are becoming unfit for farming. The land is becoming salty. It is a big problem for the small country. More than 155 million people live in Bangladesh. Growing crops is the most common way Bangladeshis support themselves.
Farmers in the country are learning to grow vegetables in so-called “vertical gardens.” The soil in these gardens is better because heavy rains have removed much of the salt.
The village of Chandipur is in southwestern Bangladesh. Pumpkins and other gourds grow on vines on top of small homes. The vegetables get the food they need from soil placed in containers on the ground.
Shobitha Debna is a 35-year-old farmer in the village. Her garden space is very small. But she is able to grow hundreds of kilograms of vegetables each season.
She says she grows gourds, including pumpkin, as well as green beans, red amaranth, beets, carrots, cauliflower and more.
Ms. Debna depends on the vegetables to earn money. She makes a few dollars a day.
This kind of farming is new in Chandipur. But it may spread across the country.
Most of Bangladesh is at or below sea level. Rising seawaters linked to climate change has severely affected the country. High water from storms in coastal areas also add salt to soil. High salt content makes crops less productive.
The flow of seawater from storms like Cyclone Aila in 2009 damage much of the soil in farm areas. The salty water flows into rivers, which then flood Chandipur and other villages. Vegetable crops fail. For three years now, hundreds of villagers have grown crops in vertical gardens. The international non-profit group WorldFish Center brought vertical gardens to Bangladesh.
Dr. Craig Meisner is the South Asia country director for WorldFish Center. He told VOA, “there is no country with such population density where natural resources are stretched to their very limits.”
He says if climate change adaptation fails in Bangladesh, it is sure to fail in many other countries. However, he says, if it succeeds “it gives hope for the world’s future.”
From July to October, about 1.5 meters of rain falls in Bangladesh. The seasonal rains remove salt from the soil. At the end of the rainy season, villagers collect the cleaned soil and place it in large containers. They use that soil to grow vegetables.
WorldFish Center has trained about 200 villagers in southwestern Bangladesh to make vertical gardens. And that's the VOA Learning English Environment and Science Report. I’m Marsha James.
Dr. Craig Meisner是南亚世界渔业中心主任。他告诉voa记者“没有任何一个国家有如此高的人口密度。这里的自然资源使得他们一切都变的有限。”