Impacts on Poverty of Encroaching Salinity on the Bengal (GBM) Delta: A Spatial Case Study in Southern Bangladesh
Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 8:20 AM
Salinity intrusion is a major climate and human induced hazard in coastal deltaic regions resulting in substantial adverse effects on crop production. Impacts are exacerbated by intensified cyclones, sea level rise and storm surges. In this regard, many farmers in the populous Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta of Bangladesh have adopted saline shrimp (Bagda) farming with associated displacement of tenant farmers and potential long term damage to the soil through chemicals used to enhance shrimp production. Despite the impact of salinity intrusion on the environment and the commonly perceived effects of shrimp farming on poverty, there has not been any systematic study that examines the associative relationships between salinisation, shrimp farming and poverty in this delta region. Using the 2011 Bangladesh Population and Housing Census and 2010 LandSat remote sensing data this study examines the spatially explicit impact of salinization as well as saline and freshwater shrimp farming on poverty in the Delta, accounting for important environmental and socio-economic predictors. The findings shows that after accounting for important environmental and socioeconomic predictors, levels and intensities of salinization as well as the extent of saline and freshwater shrimp farming in a union are significantly associated with poverty. The results of the study demonstrate that increases in levels and intensities of salinity increases the probability of a union being in the poorest quintile. As such saline water shrimp farming has the potential to reduce poverty only at high intensities, whilst low levels of freshwater shrimp farming are associated with a reduction in poverty.