Homestead Agroforestry a Potential Resource in Bangladesh

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M. Giashuddin Miah and M. Jahangir Hussain

Abstract Homestead, the home and adjacent grounds occupied by a family, is the potential production area in Bangladesh, especially for the resource poor group. Homestead production system is popularly called homestead agroforestry or home gardening. It is the integrated production of crops, trees, and livestock in the household's residence and its surrounding areas. It has been playing an important role in the rural economy of Bangladesh since time immemorial, and providing various essential products and services to millions of rural households. But it receives little attention of the researchers for maximizing the production. This review article highlights the resources and contribution of the homestead to draw attention of the researchers and planners for scientific interventions. The size and structure of homesteads are linked to economic, social, and ecological factors. The homesteads are generally small in size but numerically they are increasing steadily with population. Population pressure and subsistence economy have forced the households to utilize all the sites of a homestead as individual production units. It combines all farming components and forms a highly intensive and multi-strata integrated production system depending on household needs, preferences and knowledge. The homestead agroforestry provides multiple products to the household and meets the diversified needs including food, nutrition, and energy securities, producing a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and tree products. It also contributes to household income and saving through sales of vegetables, fruits, and other tree products, and to the creation of employment opportunity particularly for the women. Collectively, homestead production system contributes about 70 percent fruit, 40 percent vegetable, 70 percent timber, and 90 percent firewood and bamboo requirement of the

Department of Agroforestry and Environment, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU), Gazipur, 1706, Bangladesh e-mail: [email protected]

M.J. Hussain

Livelihood Program, Save the Children, Dhaka, Bangladesh e-mail: [email protected]

E. Lichtfouse (ed.), Sociology, Organic Farming, Climate Change and Soil Science, Sustainable Agriculture Reviews 3, DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-3333-8_16, © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

country (Miah and Ahmed, 2003). Although there is more fascination to planting fast-growing timber species, fruit trees still dominate over other trees. The small farmers tend to plant more trees per unit area. Homesteads serve as the home for biodiversity conservation, which is a serious ecological issue in Bangladesh. They are also used as processing centers for the poor households. Homestead, being the residential part of a household, enables the women, who constitute almost half of the labor force in Bangladesh, to efficiently manage homestead activities. Planting improved plant species, optimum management of the resources, efficient processing, and marketing of the products could contribute significantly to the livelihood of the poor.

Keywords Employment • Homestead agroforestry • Income • Multiple products • Nutrition • Women empowerment

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