Other interventions
Jute retting (to separate jute fibre) is traditionally done in open waterbodies during the early-mid monsoon. If there is insufficient rain then jute retting causes a serious threat to fishery and human health as there is a limited area of water and there retting de-oxygenates the water and makes a bad odour, causes skin disease, and the water area becomes a den for mosquito breeding.

The project linked CBOs with government agencies that could offer a simple alternative processing method (“ribbon retting”) that minimises loss of water quality. This involves stripping fibre when green off freshly cut jute stalks and then soaking it in small water containers, rather than the traditional method of soaking the stalks in openwaters and then stripping the fibre off after it has softened and part decayed.

The benefit to fisheries of better water quality was an incentive to try this process. The project arranged training for interested CBOs that faced this problem, and a very simple equipment for stripping jute fibre without soaking (retting) the fresh jute stalks. About 50 CBOs were trained in alternative processing and farmers there tried alternate jute retting to reduce water pollution, the majority reported that this worked and had better returns.

10 CBOs tried duck rearing as a way of diversifying their income sources and adding value from their waterbodies. This has been a learning process to improve duckling survival, although profitable it requires development of some expertise and six CBOs are continuing.

Duck rearing at Ramchandrapur, Naogaon (NW)

Other interventions tested by CBOs include:

  • Growing trees along waterbody edges to provide branches, stabilise soil, reduce soil erosion and in places provide swamp forest habitat.
  • Goat rearing to make use of by-products from growing alternative crops.
  • Bee keeping to improve pollination of vegetables and fruit and add an income source.

These form part of the integrated floodplain management approach and reflect ideas and issues raised by the CBOs. Experience in these and other initiatives are summarised in Bangla in a series of information sheets

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