Pumpkin growing using sandbar cropping technique
The ripe pumpkins are often stored in the home, on high platforms that are made of bamboo. The
pumpkins produced on the sandbars can be stored for over a year and can assist poor households
with both income generation and food security.
Practical Action Bangladesh Case Study:
The agricultural production in barren and
unproductive sandbars is an innovative, low
cost technique that has been developed
through a series of action research activities
since 2005 in Gaibandha and Rangpur
districts, Rangpur Division. Practical Action
Bangladesh initiated a trial with 177 farmers
in 11 sandbar spots in 2005 with the
objective of ‘something is better than
nothing’’. The innovation was part of Practical
Action Bangladesh’s Disappearing Lands
project which went on to win the Asia-pacific
(APFED) gold award in 2007.
Figure 4: Watering the pumpkin plants. Photo
credit: Practical Action Bangladesh.
The end results of this farm based trial
showed highly significant impacts on the
resource poor displaced communities
providing opportunity for food production in
barren lands, decent income, asset
generation, increased food consumption,
improved nutrition and alternative risk
management strategies during lean seasons.
The project successfully demonstrated that
pumpkin growing, in small compost pits dug
into the sand, is both possible and profitable.
Sandbar cropping appears to be low risk yet
while producing a significant financial return
as shown in table 1.
Table 1: Cost-benefit analysis of sandbar cropping, Disappearing Lands project, Practical Action
No of Beneficiaries
Total Area in ha.
Total Production (MT)
Total production cost (GBP)
Total income (gross) (GBP)
Cost benefit ratio
NB: The experience of Practical Action Bangladesh suggests that 100 pits per extreme poor household
brings tangible benefits to these families. However, it could be doubled with the increased number of pits
up to 200. The cost benefit ratio could be increased through mechanisation, cost sharing model, in case of
marginal farmers, who are able to share compost from their own source, irrigation from natural sources for a
certain period (i.e. from river channel), their own preserved seeds.
The approach has been widely replicated with the financial assistance of EEP (DFID-GoB), Shiree
project namely Pathways from Poverty Project in the four erosion prone districts of North-West
Bangladesh. Additionally, other international NGOs (e.g. CARE, Friendship International, and