[00:00.00]From VOA Learning English, this is the Agriculture Report.
[00:05.00]Rivers in northwestern Bangladesh rise sharply during the rainy season causing months of flooding on farms and villages.
[00:16.06]This hurts the rural poor who depend on agriculture to survive.
[00:22.17]When the floods cover their lands they cannot grow crops or raise animals.
[00:28.41]But local farmers may have found a way to deal with the seasonal weather.
[00:34.11]Some are building small farms that float on top of the floodwaters.
[00:48.46]Hafiza Khatun is gathering eggs from the ducks that live in what is called a "coop" on her floating farm.
[00:57.86]The farm is made of bamboo plants and empty oil containers, or drums.
[01:03.56]It is attached to the bank of a river near the village of Charbhangura.
[01:09.25]Women also raise fish and vegetables on the floating farm.
[01:13.96]25-year-old Hafiza Khatun could not earn money during the rainy season before she had her floating farm.
[01:23.56]Ms. Khatun has two small children.
[01:27.22]She does not have any education.
[01:29.79]Her husband is an agricultural worker.
[01:33.42]But he does not work when monsoon rains fall from July to October.
[01:40.43]During that time, the Gurmani river rises at least three meters.
[01:46.88]Three years ago, a Bangladeshi non-profit organization called Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha brought small floating farms to the village.
[01:59.15]The farms are 17 meters long and almost five meters wide.
[02:05.24]They are made of both recycled and local materials.
[02:10.32]Long bamboo rails create places to raise fish in nets.
[02:16.64]Vegetables such as gourds and beans are grown in plastic containers filled with soil.
[02:22.98]Shidhulai pays the cost of making the farm.
[02:27.95]For Ms. Khatun and other villagers, life is difficult during the flood season.
[02:42.42]Ms. Khatun says when the water comes, her house goes underwater.
[02:47.76]There is no place to go, no place to stay, she says.
[02:51.90]There is water everywhere.
[02:54.66]But now she can grow food on the floating farm and earn money from selling some of it.
[03:01.57]Five to ten women work on one farm.
[03:05.22]Depending on the size of the farm, together they can earn about $1,700 a year.
[03:12.88]That amount of money can buy a lot of food in rural Bangladesh.
[03:18.84]Ms. Khatun also rented land with the money she earned.
[03:23.61] She grows sugar cane on the land.
[03:26.99]Her family is saving money in a bank for the first time.
[03:31.68]Mohammed Rezwan started Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha in 1998 to create schools on boats.
[03:41.54]The school boats let poor children continue their education even when flood waters block the roads they use to get to their school.
[03:51.76]Four years ago, he created floating farms so people can still earn money and feed themselves during flood season.
[04:01.39]Bangladesh is close to sea level, which means it is greatly affected by climate change that causes flooding and rising sea waters.
[04:12.65]The difficulties of making money in the rainy seasons often lead rural people to move to cities in Bangladesh. Most cities are very crowded.
[04:25.48]Bangladesh is one of the world's most densely populated countries.
[04:30.36]There are 156 million people in an area that measures 144,000 square kilometers.
[04:38.69]That is about half as many people who live in the United States.
[04:44.76]But that country measures about 9.9 million square kilometers.
[04:50.57]Mr. Rezwan says there is great demand for answers for areas affected by climate change.
[04:58.43]"Bangladesh is on the front line of climate change.
[05:02.40]We have hundreds of rivers in the country.
[05:06.80]So this project has big potential to be scaled up in the country and other developing countries,
[05:13.98]particularly the countries that will be affected by climate change."
[05:17.99]Shidhulai has created 40 floating farms that help about 300 women and their families.
[05:25.58]Mr. Rezwan wants to create 400 more farms in the next few years.
[05:31.69]He believes the floating farm idea can be used in other developing countries.
[05:37.32]"We hope that the idea of on water farming will be replicated in other settings.It helps people adapt to changing climates.It creates jobs.
[05:53.31]It ensures food security and helps the whole family to adapt to the climate change."
[06:02.47]School boats are being used in several other countries, including the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Nigeria and Zambia.
[06:13.28]The group's floating schools have helped more than 70,000 children in northwest Bangladesh go to classes since 2002.
[06:24.58]And that's the VOA Learning English Agriculture Report.
[06:29.88]For more agriculture and environment stories, go to our website: learningenglish.voanews.com.
[06:39.77]I'm Marsha James.
[06:42.95]Words in This Story
[06:46.71]coop - n. a cage or small building in which chickens or other small animals are kept
[06:56.19]recycle - v. to make something new from (something that has been used before)
[07:04.49]rural - adj. of or relating to the country and the people who live there instead of the city
[07:14.71]densely - adv. crowded with people
[07:20.96]replicate - v. to repeat or copy (something) exactly
[07:27.76]Now, it's your turn to use these Words in This Story.
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