Food systems in the Bangladesh Delta: Overview of food systems in Bangladesh with a focus on the coastal south west

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


Deltas, as areas with both land and water, have always been attractive places to live because they offer good conditions for agriculture, and because navigation was for a long time important for transport. These reasons apply also to the Bangladesh delta, the most important food system for the region. However, the food production system is experiencing (increasing) pressures that threaten food security. The Bangladesh delta has become more vulnerable to development and risks related to climate change, including floods, cyclones, drought, heat stress and salinity intrusion, threatening humans and livestock and reducing agricultural and aquacultural potential. Due to changes in the area of sea level rise, temperature and precipitation changes, salinisation, water quality problems, drying out and flooding, population pressure and urbanisation, agricultural production is becoming more uncertain. Other threats to food security are the prevalence of both stunting and obesity, while food safety standards are rather low due to the usage of (agro) chemicals during or after harvest. A main concern specifically observed in southwestern Bangladesh is the salinisation of water and soil, which threatens the entire food production system of the region. The question is how to deal with this in the future in order to ensure the livelihoods of farmers and to ensure that sufficient, safe and nutritious food is available for the growing and increasingly urban population, while at the same time ensuring that, as protein demand increases and agricultural land decreases, the environment is not compromised and climate change is suitably addressed. This report provides an analysis of the food system in Bangladesh, with an emphasis on the southwestern delta, and, after that, begins by describing possible transition pathways. The pathways explored are i) focus on mangroves in combination with shrimp cultivation; ii) improved water and soil management; iii) climate adaptive livestock management (also linked to salinity), iv) change in farmer behaviour. This is an innovative and interdisciplinary approach still to be developed further; therefore, transition pathways should be further assessed, with the involvement of various stakeholders.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Environmental Research
Number of pages57
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameReport / Wageningen Environmental Research
ISSN (Print)1566-7197


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