HomeInternational Rice Research Notesvol. 28 no. 2 (2003)

Exposure of Bangladeshi Rice Farmers to Early Flood Risk

B. Shankar | J. Barr

Discipline: Agriculture, Management



Floodplain agriculture in Bangladesh is characterized by smallholders operating marginal parcels of land, with heavy reliance on the winter rice crop. When the annual floods, which normally begin in early or mid-June, arrive even a week or two early, they may submerge the standing rice crop prior to harvest, often causing considerable damage. Where overbank flooding from main river channels is the principal source of early flood risk, as in the case with flash floods in the northeast, structural means of flood control such as submersible embankments may be effectively employed. In northcentral Bangladesh, however, much of the early flooding is from local rainfall impoundment, and therefore structural methods are less helpful. Using biophysical and socioeconomic data collected in north-central Bangladesh, we investigated (1) the extent and patterns of damage caused by 1- and 2-wk early floods and (2) what readily available (nonstructural) opportunities existed to reduce such risk.