Usage of Gher boundary for cropping [Bangladesh]

Gherer bunder upar nana prokar shakshabjee uthpadon

technologies_1171 - Bangladesh

Completeness: 78%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Technology

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:

Shaha Tapan Kuma



SLM specialist:

Bhander Bidhan Kumar



Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Soil Resource Development Institute (SRDI) (Soil Resource Development Institute (SRDI)) - Bangladesh

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

Gher (shrimp cultivation) boundary usage for multiple cropping.

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


Gher is a local word used for shrimp cultivation plot. The boundaries of these ghers are nowadays raised and maintained to grow vegetables, fruits and also some tree species. In this case the boundary of the plot is raised at least 3 feet with grest width 1 feet plus depending on the height of the boundary (Bund/dyke). Within the gher the land is used for both sweet water prawn (Golda) or saline water prawn (Bagda) with other different types of fishes (locally called Sada Mach) if suitable depending on the salinity of water. Some of the gher lands are used for transplanted Aman with shrimp/fishes.
Farmers dug a ditch along the boundary or in any corner of the field or at the center of the plot to preserve water and fishes during the dry season. In some of the cases the farmers used shallow tube well water to sustain the fishes. In non-to slightly saline areas they used it even for boro (winter rice).

Purpose of the Technology: The purpose of this technology is a boundary which is used for various types of crops, including year round vegetables and land for rice and fishes including shrimps.

Establishment / maintenance activities and inputs: The boundary is constructed above flood level (2-3 feet), the width is approx. 2-3 feet, the ditches are 2-3 feet deep along the boundary or at the corner or at the center.
To grow vegetables farmers used nylon nets for creeping supported by the bamboo or Dhaincha or strings.
Top soils kept on top of the bunds to avoid relatively less fertile soil on the bunds.
Main inputs are seeds of vegetables, nets, bamboo, strings, fingerlings of fish etc.

Natural / human environment: The salinity of the soils from the bunds is washed away by rainwater, which facilitates vegetable production: Rain water desolves salt and moves to the bottom of the bund, and soil becomes non-saline or slightly saline where vegetable could be grown.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Technology has been applied and which are covered by this assessment



Region/ State/ Province:

Bangladesh Southern region

Further specification of location:


2.6 Date of implementation

If precise year is not known, indicate approximate date:
  • less than 10 years ago (recently)

2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • through land users' innovation

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • improve production

3.2 Current land use type(s) where the Technology is applied



  • Annual cropping
Mixed (crops/ grazing/ trees), incl. agroforestry

Mixed (crops/ grazing/ trees), incl. agroforestry

  • Cropland and aquaculture

Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): Soil and water salinity during dry season; tidal surge; cyclones

Major land use problems (land users’ perception): Water salinity; tidal surge; sidre (name of a cyclone)

Future (final) land use (after implementation of SLM Technology): Mixed: Mo: Other

Type of cropping system and major crops comments: Gher use is very much variable. The main issue of using land is to adapt soil and water salinity. Some ghers are used for only shrimp, some are mixed with other fishes, some are mixed with transplanted Aman. But the boundary/bunds are used for year round vegetables, Banana, fruits (Kul, Guava, Mango) etc.

If land use has changed due to the implementation of the Technology, indicate land use before implementation of the Technology:

Mixed: Mo: Other

3.3 Further information about land use

Water supply for the land on which the Technology is applied:
  • rainfed

Also mixed rainfed - irrigated

Number of growing seasons per year:
  • 1

Longest growing period in days: 160; Longest growing period from month to month: July to Sept

3.4 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • beekeeping, aquaculture, poultry, rabbit farming, silkworm farming, etc.

3.5 Spread of the Technology

Specify the spread of the Technology:
  • evenly spread over an area
If the Technology is evenly spread over an area, indicate approximate area covered:
  • 1-10 km2

Gher (Shrimp cultivation) boundary used for multiple crops; vegetables, fruits, tree etc in southern coastal region of Bangladesh.

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

agronomic measures

agronomic measures

  • A1: Vegetation/ soil cover
structural measures

structural measures

  • S2: Bunds, banks
management measures

management measures

  • M1: Change of land use type

Type of agronomic measures: better crop cover, mixed cropping / intercropping

3.7 Main types of land degradation addressed by the Technology

chemical soil deterioration

chemical soil deterioration

  • Cs: salinization/ alkalinization

Main causes of degradation: other natural causes (avalanches, volcanic eruptions, mud flows, highly susceptible natural resources, extreme topography, etc.) specify (Salinization: salination of top soil is due to saline ground water coming in shallow depth), Salinization (The area under this issue is in coastal zone. Conflict of land use is prominent. The lands became saline as other stakeholders keep saline water for other uses (salt production, shrimp))

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • restore/ rehabilitate severely degraded land

4. Technical specifications, implementation activities, inputs, and costs

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology


Shoaib Jalal

4.2 Technical specifications/ explanations of technical drawing

The gher boundary is raised approximately 2-3 feet with a crest of 2-3 feet. A ditch also dug to store water and fish during dry season.

Location: Dumuria. Khulna

Date: 03-09-13

Technical knowledge required for field staff / advisors: moderate (It is only land manipulation.)

Technical knowledge required for land users: moderate (Previously farmer did not put the top soil on the top of the bunds. That impedes crop production on bunds.)

Main technical functions: increase in nutrient availability (supply, recycling,…), water harvesting / increase water supply, improvement of water quality, buffering / filtering water, promotion of vegetation species and varieties (quality, eg palatable fodder), spatial arrangement and diversification of land use, Decrease of soil salinity, Increase of options for growing more crops

Agronomic measure: Top soil kept on top

Structural measure: Bunds
Height of bunds/banks/others (m): 1
Width of bunds/banks/others (m): 0.5-1
Length of bunds/banks/others (m): 10-50

Construction material (earth): Bunds are raised by piling earth

Change of land use practices / intensity level: Bunds are used for year round cropping

4.3 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

other/ national currency (specify):


Indicate exchange rate from USD to local currency (if relevant): 1 USD =:


4.4 Establishment activities

Activity Type of measure Timing
1. Farmers cut the earth from adjacent lands Structural Nov-Dec

4.5 Costs and inputs needed for establishment

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Farmers cut the earth from adjacent lands ha 10.0 65.0 650.0 100.0
Labour Labour ha 2.0 300.0 600.0 100.0
Labour Watch and ward ha 1.0 300.0 300.0 100.0
Equipment Seeds, nets etc ha 1.0 50.0 50.0 100.0
Fertilizers and biocides Fertilizer ha 1.0 5.0 5.0 100.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 1605.0

Duration of establishment phase: 1 month(s)

4.6 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Type of measure Timing/ frequency
1. Transplanting seedlings/seeds Agronomic July/Nov
2. Cultural practices Agronomic Aug-Oct/Dec-March

4.7 Costs and inputs needed for maintenance/ recurrent activities (per year)

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Transplanting seedlings/seeds persons/day/ha 2.0 10.0 20.0 100.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology 20.0

Piling earth to construct gher bunds

4.8 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

Availability of labour

5. Natural and human environment

5.1 Climate

Annual rainfall
  • < 250 mm
  • 251-500 mm
  • 501-750 mm
  • 751-1,000 mm
  • 1,001-1,500 mm
  • 1,501-2,000 mm
  • 2,001-3,000 mm
  • 3,001-4,000 mm
  • > 4,000 mm
Specifications/ comments on rainfall:

Most of the rainfall experienced in rainy season

Agro-climatic zone
  • humid

Thermal climate class: tropics

5.2 Topography

Slopes on average:
  • flat (0-2%)
  • gentle (3-5%)
  • moderate (6-10%)
  • rolling (11-15%)
  • hilly (16-30%)
  • steep (31-60%)
  • very steep (>60%)
  • plateau/plains
  • ridges
  • mountain slopes
  • hill slopes
  • footslopes
  • valley floors
Altitudinal zone:
  • 0-100 m a.s.l.
  • 101-500 m a.s.l.
  • 501-1,000 m a.s.l.
  • 1,001-1,500 m a.s.l.
  • 1,501-2,000 m a.s.l.
  • 2,001-2,500 m a.s.l.
  • 2,501-3,000 m a.s.l.
  • 3,001-4,000 m a.s.l.
  • > 4,000 m a.s.l.
Comments and further specifications on topography:

Landforms: Coastal plain, narrow ridge with broad flat basin

5.3 Soils

Soil depth on average:
  • very shallow (0-20 cm)
  • shallow (21-50 cm)
  • moderately deep (51-80 cm)
  • deep (81-120 cm)
  • very deep (> 120 cm)
Soil texture (topsoil):
  • medium (loamy, silty)
  • fine/ heavy (clay)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • low (<1%)
If available, attach full soil description or specify the available information, e.g. soil type, soil PH/ acidity, Cation Exchange Capacity, nitrogen, salinity etc.

Soil fertility is low

Soil drainage / infiltration is poor

Soil water storage capacity is very low - low

5.4 Water availability and quality

Ground water table:

< 5 m

Availability of surface water:

poor/ none

Water quality (untreated):

for agricultural use only (irrigation)

5.5 Biodiversity

Species diversity:
  • low

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Market orientation of production system:
  • mixed (subsistence/ commercial
  • commercial/ market
Off-farm income:
  • 10-50% of all income
Relative level of wealth:
  • poor
Individuals or groups:
  • individual/ household
Level of mechanization:
  • mechanized/ motorized
  • men
Indicate other relevant characteristics of the land users:

Land users applying the Technology are mainly common / average land users

Difference in the involvement of women and men: Women casually worked during harvesting vegetables

Population density: > 500 persons/km2

Annual population growth: 2% - 3%

70% of the land users are poor.

Level of mechanization: Power triller on hire.

5.7 Average area of land owned or leased by land users applying the Technology

  • < 0.5 ha
  • 0.5-1 ha
  • 1-2 ha
  • 2-5 ha
  • 5-15 ha
  • 15-50 ha
  • 50-100 ha
  • 100-500 ha
  • 500-1,000 ha
  • 1,000-10,000 ha
  • > 10,000 ha
Is this considered small-, medium- or large-scale (referring to local context)?
  • small-scale

15-50 ha: Mainly owner of lands of this area

5.8 Land ownership, land use rights, and water use rights

Land ownership:
  • individual, titled
Land use rights:
  • leased
  • individual
Water use rights:
  • leased
  • individual

5.9 Access to services and infrastructure

  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
technical assistance:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
employment (e.g. off-farm):
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
roads and transport:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
drinking water and sanitation:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
financial services:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts


crop production

Comments/ specify:

Desalinized soil of the bund

Socio-cultural impacts

food security/ self-sufficiency


health situation


cultural opportunities

Comments/ specify:

Cash from vegetables

conflict mitigation

Comments/ specify:

Conflicts to use water resource

situation of socially and economically disadvantaged groups


livelihood and human well-being

Comments/ specify:

Growing and marketing of year round vegetables help the farmer to get cash money throughout the year. That improves their livelihood and access to health care, education etc.

Ecological impacts

Water cycle/ runoff

excess water drainage

Comments/ specify:

Ghers are ponded and no water can be drained



Comments/ specify:

+ Soil salinity reduced as washed by rainwater -> found in soils of Gher bunds

- Due to ground water abstraction -> found in coastal regions, increasing trend

Biodiversity: vegetation, animals

plant diversity

Climate and disaster risk reduction

emission of carbon and greenhouse gases


6.3 Exposure and sensitivity of the Technology to gradual climate change and climate-related extremes/ disasters (as perceived by land users)

Gradual climate change

Gradual climate change
Season Type of climatic change/ extreme How does the Technology cope with it?
annual temperature increase not well

Climate-related extremes (disasters)

Meteorological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
local rainstorm not well
local windstorm not well

Salinity is washed out from the bund by rainwater. Consequently year round vegetable can be grown on bunds of the gher besides fish in the main land or transplanted rice (depending on the salinity of soil and water and choice of farmers).

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

How do the benefits compare with the establishment costs (from land users’ perspective)?
Short-term returns:

very positive

Long-term returns:

slightly positive

How do the benefits compare with the maintenance/ recurrent costs (from land users' perspective)?
Short-term returns:

very positive

Long-term returns:

slightly positive


Long term benefit is yet to be observed

6.5 Adoption of the Technology


There is a moderate trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology

Comments on adoption trend: Leased land users are not capable to adopt the technology.

6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Growing more crops will benefit the farmer with more return. As of now marketing of the goods are facilitated by local small entrepreneurs. Most of them have poor linkage with broader markets.

How can they be sustained / enhanced? These entrepreneurs could be appropriately linked with bigger one at regional levels (Upazila/ Districts). At the same time road net works are to be alleviated to facilitate access of transport to carry farmers good with all securities.
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Land could be used as farmers are managing themselves

How can they be sustained / enhanced? To sustain production and produce such as vegetables and fishes deserve uninterrupted marketing linkage essential.
Changes in land management by the farmer to grow multiple crops indeed scale up their economy than before.

How can they be sustained / enhanced? To sustain the farming system good variety and quality seeds supply will enhance the scenario.

6.8 Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks of the Technology and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
Water management of the areas became critical, specially sweet water Good water management system is to be introduced through local and regional planning.
Conflicts of land uses are prominent. Social awareness and concept of land zoning seems to be essentials at all levels.
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Due to construction or rearrangement of field bunds (Dykes) almost all drainages ways blocked. Consequently the whole area became water logged. This situation will definitely aggravate soil quality, environment and ultimate ecosystem Community approach to manage the landscape will be effective. In this regard local administration and community leaders can play a vital role.
Soils of Gher boundaries (Dykes) are subject to erosion when exposed to rain water. Good cover crops and management are necessary to protect soils from erosion. At same time farmers may be trained on this issue.

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