Resilience measure: Floating agricultural system


Floating agriculture is a way of utilising areas which are waterlogged for long periods of time in the production of food. The technology is mainly aimed at adapting to more regular or prolonged flooding. The approach employs beds of rotting vegetation, which act as compost for crop growth. These beds are able to float on the surface of the water, thus creating areas of land suitable for agriculture within waterlogged regions. Scientifically, floating agriculture may be referred to as hydroponics.
(ClimateTechWiki, Floating agricultural system, accessed on Sept. 2016)

Co-benefits and impacts

The practice helps mitigate land loss through flooding, by allowing cultivation of these areas to continue. In this way, the total cultivatable area can be increased and communities can become more self sufficient. In addition to this, the area under floating cultivation is up to 10 times more productive than traditionally farmed land and no additional chemical fertilisers or manure is required. When the crops have been harvested and floating rafts are no longer required, they can be used as organic fertilisers in the fields or incorporated into the following years floating beds as a fertiliser. The practice of floating agriculture also helps supplement the income of local communities and contributes to alleviation of poverty.
(ClimateTechWiki, Floating agricultural system, accessed on Sept. 2016)


While this technology works well in some areas today, it is unclear how it may be affected by Sea Level Rise and increases in salinity, which are likely to occur under scenarios of climate change. Additionally, while the technique is applicable in several mega-deltas such as the Ganges-Brahmaputra, the success of a more general application of this approach seems unlikely and caution is being recommended in applying this approach more widely.
(ClimateTechWiki, Floating agricultural system, accessed on Sept. 2016)

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Last modified: Sept. 16, 2016, 7:33 a.m.