Farmers' knowledge of soils and the sustainability of agriculture in a saline water ecosystem in Southwestern Bangladesh
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Farmers in Bangladesh already possess knowledge of local soils and management strategies that allow them to farm sustainably, even in an area of high potential water erosion and salinity. Farmer interviews were conducted in the village of Damarpota, where a scientific soil study was done at the same time, proving that local knowledge of soils described typology, properties, top soil restraints and management problems. The farmers' lack of knowledge regarding soil genesis, chemistry, and morphology was not detrimental to their management practices because they had been developed over generations using small, on-farm experiments. The researchers believe that farmer's knowledge is a valuable reservoir of information that should be incorporated into national scientific databases and be available when developing agricultural policies. This can be achieved through increasing smallholder farmers' participation in the national agricultural policy-making processes in which the farmers and the scientists will equally contribute, and their knowledge of soils will supplement each other. Involving farmers in the process will promote sustainable agriculture and address problems with soil health and food security.