Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) has said that the cities of Bangladesh need rooftop agriculture in order to ensure sustainable food and reduce food wastage.
To stress on the importance of rooftop gardening, the UN body conducted a training workshop for the ward councilors of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) on Wednesday under a project titled Dhaka Food System (DFS).
DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam attended the event as the chief guest, while Xavier Bouan, the project’s Senior Technical Adviser, addressed the event focusing on the need to grow fruits and vegetables on the rooftops of buildings.
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“Households can reap nutritional and health benefits from rooftop agriculture. Rooftop agriculture also has positive effects on communities and society in general. They can help people to re-establish a relationship with what they eat. This is a link that has weakened since we started outsourcing our food and relying so much on industrialized production,” Bouan said.
According to the Agriculture Information Service of the Ministry of Agriculture, approximately 4,50,000 roofs, covering 4,500 hectares, remain underutilized in Dhaka city.
A survey using images from drones conducted by DNCC concluded that only two percent of rooftops in that part of the city had rooftop gardens.
“DNCC, with the support of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development, and Co-operatives, have announced the possibility for a ten percent holding tax rebate for city residents practicing rooftop agriculture. FAO is assisting the city’s two corporations to prepare the guidelines to implement the planned tax rebate policy,” Atiqul said.
Participants at the workshop provided their input into developing and applying a set of guidelines for city corporations that will assist officials in determining whether households practicing agriculture qualify for a property tax rebate.
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The DFS project, funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is working with a local organization, Proshika, to develop 20 rooftop agriculture demonstration plots throughout the city and to train 550 people from slum areas.
The Local Government Division of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives is leading the DFS project implementation with technical support from FAO and Wageningen University & Research (WUR) of the Netherlands.