Prakriti: Bringing organic and sustainable urban farming to Dhaka city rooftops

The population growth in the world’s cities is increasing exponentially. Today, more people live in urban areas than in rural areas. By 2050, 66 percent of the world’s population are expected to live in cities, fueling unparalleled demand for food especially in low and middle-income countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.  The feeding of urban populations has become an urgent and critical challenge.

As cities grow, diets are changing. Urban consumers are demanding a more diversified diet, including fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meat, and are increasingly consuming processed foods. The shifts in diets are transforming supply chains, affecting farmers, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and consumers. This is affecting the quality of food and the soil these foods are grown on.  It has become imperative to find new ways for producing food in the wake of explosive population growth and high demand.

As climate change becomes more prominent, there is an increase of food related health problems. In Bangladesh, where 75 percent of the population lives in poverty with basic agricultural income, there has been a decline in income for small size farmers. This has led them to migrate towards cities looking for work. Although in Bangladesh, we have succeeded to meet the domestic demand for food but what will hold for the future? How will we continue producing food when there will be not enough land for cultivation?

A pilot project on a Banani Rooftop.
Photo Courtesy: PRAKRITI Facebook Group

These questions gave the rise to Prakriti. Prakriti started their endeavour a year back believing in order to save the planet, people have to take the courage, one little step at a time. By bringing life to the soil, preserving the seeds that grow into trees and the food we eat. Each cultivator becoming the guardian of Mother Nature, breaking the selfish purpose of taking more and more from the planet without giving anything in return, becoming one with nature or Prakriti.

In Bangladesh, majority of the food people consume are contaminated through the use of un-monitored chemical fertilizer and pesticides. Every year, tens of thousands of chemical fertilizer goes into the soil, eroding it from its natural state. The lack of cold storage system fuels the problem even more; food gets chemically treated and consumers get a hold of those and are forced to consume them.  For the last couple of years, a form of awareness has taken place and people have started eating organic produce, though it was still not enough. The question remained what sort of food are we eating? How is it being produced? What will happen when there will be not enough land for cultivation? Are we going to stop eating?

A tomato plant on a rooftop in Dhaka.
Photo Courtesy: PRAKRITI Facebook Group

Prakriti wants to bring a sustainable ecological change in the food supply chain. Prakriti has began to create a network of organic urban farmers who will help people by providing them access to healthy uncontaminated food at their doorstep. This will bring in new innovations into the food production, empowering farmers as agro city entrepreneurs and this in turn will develop their skills. They also try to create awareness on the benefits of organic food and how the conventional method of farming effects climate change as well. They want to bridge the gap between rural and urban cultivators and customers through an internet platform.

Prakriti envisions by cultivating food and vegetables in urban and community spaces. They feel that this project is about utilizing minimum space to get a maximum yield. They help produce organic food with sustainable urban farming techniques in Dhaka and other cities while adding social values to the community.

Prakriti works on the following

  • Convert rooftop, gardens, lawns, slums and community areas into urban farmlands to grow organic food.
  • Design urban farming space while, converting tonnes of organic ‘waste’ into nutrient rich compost.
  • Provide training and workshops on starting an urban farm, skill development and capacity building on farming skills, soft skills on how to sell and make profit.
  • Develop new communication technology for exchange of crops produce by the organic farmers.
  • Bridge the gap with rural and urban cultivators and customers through internet platform.
  • Bring in user friendly new innovations into farming.
  • Create schools and academic institutions for the new generation of practical farmers.
  • Create awareness among children the nature of food, cooking and sustainable farming by addressing climate change and its effect of farming in future.

Prakriti understands that there is a pressure in the food production industry and hopes that by developing new and innovative technologies and systems like urban farming, it will not only help the existing industry, but create opportunities for a new bred of farmers, customers, and a whole new supply chain system. With the impending affects of climate change and the constant loss in cultivable land, Prakriti wants to utilize the existing urban spaces in Dhaka giving people fresh and organic food on their dinner tables.

To know more about Prakriti, please check their Facebook Group here.

Article Courtesy:

Prakriti Team

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