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Pathways of scaling agricultural innovations for sustainable intensification in the polders of coastal Bangladesh (SIIL-Polder Project: phase II)


Since 2015, Kansas State University (KSU) and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), in collaboration with Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab (SIIL) and other national research and development agencies have been working in the coastal zones of Bangladesh.

The Feed the Future (FtF) SIIL is a USAID-funded program that supports research, knowledge sharing, and capacity-building in relation to smallholder farming systems, and increasing ecological intensification for the production of food, fiber, and other products in Asia and Africa.

In phase I (2015-2019), the initiative focused on “Unlocking the production potential of polder communities in coastal Bangladesh through improved resource use efficiency and diversified cropping systems”. Building on this, phase II (2020-2023) is targeting “Pathways of scaling agricultural innovations for sustainable intensification in the polders of coastal Bangladesh” (hereinafter referred to as SIIL-Polder project).


The SIIL-Polder project works closely with the Government of Bangladesh, its national institutes, local universities, and nongovernment organizations. In phase II, main collaborators include  the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Institute of Water Modelling (IWM), and Shushilan. The project partnered with BRAC in phase I. The project will also cooperate with the Appropriate Scale Mechanization Consortium (ASMC), one of the SIIL-supported consortia in the country and Cereal System Initiative in South Asia (CSISA).

Our work

The coastal region of Southern Bangladesh is home to some of the world’s poorest, most food insecure, malnourished, and socioeconomically challenged people. Despite significant investments in the region’s development, extremely low farm productivity has been a persistent obstacle for improving the food and nutrition security and livelihoods of about one million farming families living within the “polders.”

A unique ecosystem, polders refer to low-lying lands enclosed by embankments and surrounded by tidal rivers.. While farm productivity and profitability have greatly increased through intensification and diversification of agricultural systems over the past 30 years in the rest of Bangladesh, the polders were left behind with traditional practices. This resulted in chronic food and nutrition insecurity, low farm employment, and extreme instability of household income, trapping polder communities in a vicious cycle of poverty. The most affected are smallholder farmers, landless farm laborers, women, and children.

The SIIL-Polder project aims to improve food security, human nutrition, and livelihoods of the rural polder communities in southern Bangladesh. This will be achieved through the scaling and evaluation of pragmatic and feasible farming approaches for more efficient utilization of available resources to sustainably intensify agricultural productivity in the polders.

The project’s major objectives are:

  1. Adoption of more productive, diverse, resilient, and profitable production system options tailored to different parts of landscape and community preferences;

  2. Agri-entrepreneurship for mechanization established with public-private sector investment to improve productivity and livelihoods in the region; and

  3. Supportive policies established and greater investment put in place on appropriate catchment level crop and water management.

Project Team

Kansas State University, USA

International Rice Research Institute, Philippines

  • Sudhir Yadav

    Project Co-lead

  • Manoranjan K Mondal

    Co-PI and Investigator

  • Mary Ann Batas

    Project Manager

Arkansas State University, USA

Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh

  • Humayoun Kabir


  • Mst. Atiqunnaher


Institute of Water Modelling, Bangladesh


  • Shahina Pervin


Our scholars

Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU)

  • Deb Kumar Nath

    (PhD candidate)

    Mr Nath is working on “Water governance assessment to improve the production potential in the polders of coastal Bangladesh"

  • Nasiba Akhtar

    (PhD candidate)

    Ms Akhtar research is focused on “Gender and socio cultural dimensions affecting adoption of improved agricultural technologies and practices in south western Bangladesh”

  • Umme Habiba

    (MS graduate)

    Dynamics of gendered time use pattern of farm households in the polder of the coastal zone of Bangladesh

  • Mohammad Ali

    (MS graduate)

    Perception and participation of youth in agriculture: A case in polder 30 of southwest coastal zone of Bangladesh

  • Yeasmin Akhter

    (MS student)

    She will study gender dimensions in water governance

  • Shadia Afrin Joty

    (MS student)

    She will study the agricultural value chain in the polder zone

Khulna University (KU)

  • Puja Roy

    (MS graduate)

    Ms Roy worked on “Market response to improved rice varieties in the coastal Bangladesh: A case study on polder 30 in Batiaghata upazila in Khulna district”

  • Priyanka Saha

    (MS graduate)

    Trade-off among different cropping patterns in the coastal Bangladesh: A case study on polder 30 in Batiaghata upazila of Khulna district

  • Monoj Biswas

    (MS graduate)

    Mr Biswas work was focused on “Food availability and consumption pattern of polder community in Khulna”

  • Biswajit Baidya

    (MS graduate)

    Water recession dynamics and economics of energy-fed and gravity-led drainage in polder 30

  • Tapati Roy

    (MS graduate)

    Yield performance of maize as influenced by variety and sowing date in polder 30 under Khulna district

Patuakhali Science and Technology University (Bangladesh)

  • Jayanta Bhattacharya

    Dr Bhattacharya research was focused on “The feasibility of high yielding aus-aman-rabi cropping systems in the polders of the low salinity coastal zone of Bangladesh”

  • Nibir Saha

    Dr Shah PhD work was focused on “Options for high productive triple rice systems in the low saline coastal zone of Bangladesh”

Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University (SAU) - MS Graduate

  • Shakawat Hossain

    (MS graduate)

    Fertilizer management in HYV rice in the polder ecosystem of the coastal zone of Bangladesh

  • Sujat Ahmed

    (MS graduate)

    Effect of transplanting date on the growth and yield of aman rice in polder ecosystem of the southwestern coastal zone of Bangladesh

University of Arkansas (USA)

  • Aaron Shew

    Dr Shew worked on “Sustainable intensification of agriculture: Opportunities and challenges for food security and agrarian adaptation to environmental change in Bangladesh” as part of his PhD dissertation




Communication Materials

Polder Tidings

A magazine that highlights challenges and opportunities in coastal Bangladesh. It is published IRRI with support from the Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab, a new Feed the Future initiative funded by USAID.


Knowledge/Training Materials

Contact us

For more information, please contact:

IRRI Bangladesh Office
House 103, Road 1, Block F,
Banani, Dhaka - 1213
Telefax: +880 2 55040835
Fax: +880 2 9899676

Regional Focal Person:

Dr. Manoranjan Mondal
IRRI-Bangladesh Office, Dhaka

Project Leads:

Dr. Krishna Jagadish
Kansas State University, Kansas, USA

Dr. Sudhir Yadav
International Rice Research Institute