INCENTIVES AND BARRIERS OF INTEGRATED ROOF TOP FARMING (IRF) IN DHAKA CITY, BANGLADESHEkhtekharul Islam, Mir Sabbir Ahmed, Saquib Ahmad Khan, Md. Abdul Khaleque and Shaikh Sayed Ahammed
Unprecedented economic growth and burgeoning population have triggered massive vertical and horizontal expansion of cities across the world in recent decades. Integrated rooftop garden (IRF) in high-density cities is an urban agricultural practice that ensures alternative and efficient use of space and offers a great deal of social, economic, health, and environmental benefits. Dhaka is a rapidly expanding city, and a large scale IRF practices can be implemented due to the nature and availability of the rooftop space. Given the context, this research aims to analyze the potential incentives and barriers to adopting IRF in Dhaka city. IRF is a unique farming method where fish, vegetables, and fruits can be grown on the rooftop in a planned way and on a small scale without affecting buildingsâ structure. Hence, the research adopted two approaches: a small experiment on rooftop fish farming to estimate the economic value and a survey on public perception regarding IRF in Dhaka city. A small-scale biofloc based rooftop fish farming system was implemented on a rooftop of a building in Dhaka, where 200 climbing perch fishes were grown. Besides, a public perception survey regarding the incentives and barriers to implementing IRF was conducted online, and 150 responses were recorded. Water quality and fish growth were measured regularly. Survey data was analyzed using SPSS, and the relative importance index method was employed to interpret results. The results indicate that fish mortality in such a system was very low (less than 7%), and considering the return on investment, IRF is a feasible option. Survey data analysis suggests that access to the respondentsâ rooftop is strongly associated (p<0.05) with house ownership type. The relative importance index of benefits reveals that IRF has microclimatic benefits like reduced temperature, increased air quality, and increased aesthetics. As identified, the critical challenges to IRF are lack of houseownersâ interest, additional maintenance cost, and lack of social networking. The research addresses the need for advocacy initiatives to encourage IRF practices among residents to formalize urban agriculture concepts.