Improved agricultural practices changing lives in Char and Haor regions

Bonik Barta Online

Photo: CARE Bangladesh

The lives of farmers in Bangladesh’s Char and Haor regions are changing for better after adopting improved agricultural practices, studies have indicated.

USAID’s Strengthening Household Ability to Respond to Development Opportunities (SHOUHARDO) III Plus Activity of CARE Bangladesh has researched five agricultural practices on which they worked in 8 districts of the Char and Haor regions, said a CARE Bangladesh news release on Monday.

To disseminate the findings, an event titled ‘Improved Agricultural Practices in Char and Haor and What More to Do’ was jointly hosted by USAID’s Strengthening Household Ability to Respond to Development Opportunities (SHOUHARDO) III Plus Activity of CARE Bangladesh and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU), Gazipur, at the BSMRAU campus.

Agriculture is vital for people's livelihood and employment and contributes to GDP, the seminar heard. However, the contribution of agriculture has reduced over the last decade (17% to 11.22% in 2020). NGOs are working as catalysts to support the government, especially in disseminating knowledge of improved agricultural techniques.

At the event, the speakers discussed how improved agricultural practices enabled the poor and extremely poor people to improve their livelihoods and to what extent.

Guest of Honor at the event, Professor Tofayel Ahamed, Treasurer, BSMRAU, said, “We at BSMRAU want to work with CARE Bangladesh in the future and collaborate for a better future for development, especially for agriculture.”

A panel discussion addressed the government's actions, inputs from academia and other agents, and the existing gaps.

Stressing the importance of collaboration for a SMART Bangladesh at the peak of climate-associated vulnerabilities, Ramesh Singh, Country Director of CARE Bangladesh, said, “It is important to collect and curate all the good practices. This collaboration of research and action between NGO and Academia is very important.”

In a time of dire need for adaptation in agricultural practices, Marc Nosbach, the Chief of Party, SHOUHARDO III Plus, CARE Bangladesh, urged everyone to “act now for climate change and address the climate crises; we need to work jointly to make adaptation quicker.”

Climate change affects all agricultural practices worldwide, and Bangladesh is no exception. Research organizations in Bangladesh, including the Universities, are working continuously to bring new and improved varieties of crops to combat climatic effects like drought, cold, and salinity. The attendees also discussed the specific varieties and techniques used in the char and haor regions for tackling these issues.

The lead Panelist, Professor Dr. Md. Rafiqul Islam, BSMRAU, mentioned, “Agricultural technology could not be adapted as a standalone object; it must match the environmental and climatic conditions.”

Chair of the Event, Professor Dr. Md. Abiar Rahman, Director (Research), BSMRAU, said, “We especially thank CARE Bangladesh for organizing the event here. We have to find more opportunities to work with development organizations like CARE. We must identify the needs of the farmers so the right intervention can be taken.”

The researcher, Dr. Faisal Kabir, brought attention on how SHOUHARDO III Plus Activity worked to disseminate the knowledge of improved agricultural practices among the uninformed poor and extremely poor of the Char and Haor regions. He has shown transformative changes in five agricultural practices (Adaptive rice varieties, homestead gardening, cattle farming/loft goat rearing, hatching basket, and hand pollination) and income increase.

A wide array of participants attended this event, including Agricultural University Academia, graduate students, high officials from the Department of Agricultural Extension, representatives from CARE Bangladesh, and others.

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