In a bid to boost agricultural production and increase income of the countries rural farmers, an initiative has been taken to impart training to around 10 lakh male and female farmers on integrated farm management to create employment opportunities through establishing some 20,000 farmers’ field schools.
The initiative is also aimed at creating farmers organizations as well as links among different service providing agencies, market controllers and small investment firms.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) has recently approved a Tk 432 crore project, titled ‘Integrated Farm Management Component, Agriculture Production and Employment Programme’.
Of the total amount, Tl 108 crore will come from the government exchequer while Tk 324 crore as project assistance from DANIDA. The financing agreement in this regard between Denmark and Bangladesh was signed on June 27, 2013.
Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) under the Ministry of Agriculture will implement the project at 373 upazilas in 61 districts except the three districts of CHT region. The project is expected to be completed by June 2018.
The main objective of the project is to enhance the capacity of male and female family members of landless, small and marginal farmers in a bid to boost agricultural production, a Planning Ministry official told UNB.
The project has been undertaken in line with the National Agriculture Policy and New Agriculture Extension Policy.
The official said that to implement the project, some 2,000 farmers’ trainers and some 1,800 divisional trainers will be imparted training alongside providing orientation to 1,500 divisional officials to inspect and monitor the activities of the farmers’ field schools.
Once the project is completed, newer employment opportunities will be created for the rural male and female family members of farmers while their annual income will also increase.
Besides, some 3,500 field-level divisional officials will be given trainers’ training on ‘Operating business on agricultural produces through farmers’ organizations’.
The project will have provision for conducting mid-term and final survey to evaluate the outcomes while the implementation process will be continuously monitored. Besides, the research initiatives will be given due importance to look for time-befitting technology for the farmers.
The farmers throughout the country will be associated with the integrated farm management activity through publishing, broadcasting and telecasting successful technologies in the mass media.
Apart from these initiatives, some 1,062 farmers’ organizations will be set up and their leaders will be imparted training on operating agriculture business apart from holding 30 national-level dialogue.
Another official at the Ministry of Agriculture told the news agency that the ‘Agriculture Production and Employment Programme’ consists of three components — Integrated Farm Management; Agriculture and Food Security Project in the CHT region; and Agriculture Business Development.
He said that apart from the Integrated Farm Management component to be implemented by the DAE, the Agriculture and Food Security project will be implemented by the UNDP while the Agriculture Business Development component will be implemented by a donor consortium, namely Catalyst.
To implement the whole of the programme comprising three components, a framework agreement was signed between Bangladesh and Danish government on December 31, 2012 for 405 million Danish Kroner equivalent to Tk 583.20 crore.
The Pre-evaluation Committee (PEC) meeting on the project was held on November 9, 2013 where the Planning Commission recommended giving approval to the project, reports UNBConnect.