Bangladesh has often been dismissed as a no-hope nation. But no matter what the opinion of the wider world is, this dynamic country proudly considers itself to be an active participant in an increasingly global community. In defiance of its stuttering development and the weight of historical tragedy that it bears, it is a nation charged with perseverance and promise, and one from which we could all learn a thing or two. Bangladesh has made good news. In the years preceding Cyclone Sidr, the country had been quietly doing something considered nearly impossible in richer Western countries –attempting and planning to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles from the major transportation routes not there yet!! They’ve also banned plastic bags and created a flurry of national parks and protected areas. The same holds true for the country’s tourism profile. The majority of the world considers Bangladesh to be a frying pan–flat country. Yet within this flat framework are primeval swamps in tiger-filled Sundarbans National Park, the unseen relics of long-forgotten Buddhist kingdoms in Rangamati, lush and lurid tea plantations around Srimangal, tribal groups with Burmese faces, glorious beaches at Cox’s Bazaar that stretch for eternity, freshwater dolphins and deep-water whales, and some of the most open-hearted people you will ever have the honor to meet. You can chug down mile-wide, slug-brown rivers on a 19th-century riverboat.
All these in a country whose loftiest peak is as tall as the highest mountain in Scotland. It just goes to show how much the world has to learn about the trendsetting, breathtaking and hard-working country that is Bangladesh. Come and visit and wwoof !
Bangladesh enters under the WWOOF umbrella in 2010. Bangladesh is the world’s most densely populated country, having agriculture as the top most occupation. About 75% of its population are directly involved with agricultural farming and is very rich in traditional practices. Organic farming is widely practiced here except with some flatland for commercial agricultural farming. The rural homesteads have diversified vegetation and maintain organic culture through their own short-cycled biomass recycling practices. In some areas, people do not use conventional medicines but only organic foods and herbal medicines. The collected wisdom has been acquired by trial and error methods considering the environmental condition of this region. As a deltaic region of the Ganges and Brahmaputra with hundreds of tributaries, the floodplains receive millions of tons of silt with organic matter every year and make the soil fertile. This fertility might be the main reason for such high population (density is about1200/sq km and more than 165 million people live in an area of 147 thousand sq km). Moreover, due to its location and soil fertility, the growth of plants is the highest in the world. Its greenery is unique in the world. Although Bangladesh is a small country, it has a population of great diversity in color, size, race and religion. But there exists a unique harmony of living together despite so many diverse cultures; rather they have enriched the beauty of diversity. Every year Bangladesh faces many natural calamities like cyclonic storms, floods, tidal surges and droughts, etc. but its people face those with great courage and patience.
With the increase of the population, conventional agricultural practices with so-called high technology aiming short-term benefits to facilitate the technology group, traders and middlemen, in the name of feeding the increased population without considering environmental effects, have destroyed huge flora and fauna of the soil, air and water bodies and polluted the environment with manifest problems in many areas.
However, there still exist many crops and farming areas where organic farming is practiced in Bangladesh. Homestead farming and many fruit crops are absolutely organic. Fruits: viz. jackfruit, mango, coconut, areca nut, palms, dates, lemons etc.; vegetables like cucumbers, gourds, and amaranths, etc., chicken, ducks, eggs, milk and pond fishes are organic products. Most of the hilly areas of Chittagong and Chittagong Hill Tracts produce organic food. Moreover, in the flood plains, newly arisen Char areas, water melon, ground nuts, chilies, egg plants, sweet potatoes, millets and grams, etc are produced organically.
Besides, in some areas, the indigenous people maintain organic farming by the unique process of waste recycling. These people are very rich in traditional culture and possess a very healthy lifestyle. The practices used by the indigenous people would be of great interest to WWOOFers.
Centre for Global Environmental Culture (CGEC) and College of Agricultural Sciences of IUBAT—International University of Business Agriculture and Technology are doing extensive work on organic farming. The CGEC has been coordinating with other organizations and those are working on organic farming. WWOOF Bangladesh is well poised to develop quickly and the organization will adapt to meet the needs of WWOOFers and hosts.
It is hoped that WWOOF Bangladesh will be recognized as having an important contribution to make in the wider organic world, as it brings more and more people into direct contact with organic growers both independently and through other organizations, who are trying to influence policy and consumer demand. Through its links with other WWOOF organizations and informing their members of organic news, views and training. It encourages and supports emerging WWOOF organizations in developing countries, as well as, the developed ones.