Unlocking the production potential of polders in the coastal zone of Bangladesh (SIIL-Polder Project)

  • About the Project

  • Our partners

  • Our work

  • News and events

  • Project team

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The Feed the Future (FtF) Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab (SIIL) is a new initiative that specifically responds to challenges in the coastal areas of Bangladesh.

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 Bangladesh, SIIL has sub-awarded the project “Unlocking the production potential of polder communities in coastal Bangladesh through improved resource use efficiency and diversified cropping systems”. The project is led by the Kansas State University (KSU) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), with partners including BRAC.


The SIIL-Polder project is working closely with the Government of Bangladesh, its national institutes, local universities and nongovernment organizations. The project is looking forward to extend the partnership with other agencies in the region.

BRAC bau logo Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University Khulna University Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University uak logo  

SIIL-Polder project in Coastal Bangladesh

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 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”.

Polders or “low-lying land enclosed by embankments and surrounded by tidal rivers”, are the mainstay for survival and crop production. While farm productivity and profitability have greatly increased through intensification and diversification of agricultural systems over the past 30 years to the rest of Bangladesh, the polders are left behind with traditional practices. The outcome is chronic food and nutrition insecurity, low farm employment and extreme instability of household income, which led to a vicious cycle of poverty. The most affected are smallholder farmers, landless farm laborers, women and children.

The SIIL-Polder project aims to increase farm income and nutrition security by intensifying polder farming systems through implementation of sustainable and economically viable practices.

The major objectives of the project are:

I. Testing and validation of improved production system

  • Understanding of drivers of Adaptation and Adoption
  • Integration of production technology with gender and nutrition
  • Empowering women, landless farmers and youth 

II. Capacity building of next generation scientists

III. Pathways for Outscaling

  • Foregoing fallow in polders of coastal zone in Bangladesh

    Jun 12, 2017 | 00:48 am

    The latest issue of "Polder Tidings" newsletter is now out. This issue highlights opportunities of intensifying production system in polders of Bangladesh.

  • Sustaining the change with community seed storage model

    Apr 29, 2017 | 06:09 am

    Sustaining the change with community seed storage model The low-lying tract of polders in the coastal zone which is home to millions of poor people is regarded as a low agricultural productivity zone. The farmers generally grow a single crop of traditional rice.  While many government and international agencies are working to unlock the production potential of the[…]

  • Nutritional Awareness- exploring entry points

    Feb 24, 2017 | 06:24 am

    Nutritional Awareness- exploring entry points With more than 70 percent of the cereal based diet with a small proportion of protein and micronutrient, undernutrition is a serious challenge in Bangladesh.  In the polders of coastal Bangladesh, the situation exacerbates further with a significant part of the population which doesn’t have sufficient food to eat throughout[…]

  • Translating research findings into information

    Feb 14, 2017 | 09:43 am

    Translating research findings into information While SIIL-Polder project is working with the community on innovations to unlock the production potentials, BRAC is taking the lead to relay the research findings to a large number of farmers. One of the common goals of BRAC Agriculture and Food Security Program and SIIL-Polder project is to support adoption[…]

  • Introducing mechanical harvesting of rice in polders of coastal Bangladesh

    Feb 7, 2017 | 00:20 am

    Introducing mechanical harvesting of rice in polders of coastal Bangladesh Agricultural mechanization in the coastal zone of Bangladesh is almost absent except the use of two-wheel tractor in land preparation. Undulated topography and waterlogging are considered the main barriers to mechanization. Farmers generally manually harvest their rice which not only quite expensive but also takes significant time before the field[…]

  • New issue of Polder Tidings available now.

    Jan 4, 2017 | 08:21 am

    New issue of Polder Tidings available now.


Advisory Committee


Anna Minj is the director of Community Empowerment Program, Integrated Development Program and Targeting the Ultra Poor Program of BRAC.


Tahmina Begum is the deputy director of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) of the Government of Bangladesh. She is the current project director of the Blue Gold-DAE project on water management in the southern region of Bangladesh.


Sultan Ahmed is the member director, Natural Resources Management Division of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council, the apex body of the national agricultural research system.


Mahfuzur Rahman is the additional director general for Planning at the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB), the government organization responsible for policy formulation, development, and management of the water resources in Bangladesh.


Zahirul Haque Khan is the principal specialist and director of the Coast, Port, and Estuary Management Division at the Institute of Water Modeling.


Manoranjan Mondal is a water scientist at IRRI and is the convener of the advisory committee.

Polder Tidings

A biannual newsletter 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.


Vol. 2 No. 1 May 2017 | Download

Polder Tidings May 2016

Vol. 1 No. 1 May 2016 | Download

Polder Tidings, December 2016

Vol. 1 No. 2 Decembery 2016 | Download

Knowledge sharing platform for the coastal zone of Bangladesh

Workshop on "Towards better integration of R4D for improved food production systems in the coastal zone of Bangladesh"





For more information about the SIIL-Polder project, you may 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 lead

Dr. Krishna Jagadish
Kansas State University, Kansas, USA

Dr. Sudhir Yadav
International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Philippines


Feed the Future
Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification
Kansas State University