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Developing Local Extension Capacity

bangladeshExtract of a study by the The Feed the Future Developing Local Extension Capacity (DLEC) project led by Digital Green, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Care International and GFRAS.

The National Agricultural Extension Policy (NAEP) set out by the Department of Agricultural Extension was updated in 2012. The mission of the NAEP is to provide efficient, effective, coordinated, decentralized, demand-responsive and integrated extension services to help farmers in Bangladesh access and utilize better know-how, improve productivity, optimize profitability and ensure sustainability, thereby ensuring the wellbeing of their families. The 2012 revision contains a variety of modern and practical measures, including use of ICTs for linking marketing and production systems and establishing digitized databases and management and information systems (MIS) down to the upazila (district) level, better coordination among public and private sector actors, increased farmer-responsiveness, increased women’s participation, etc. From 2003 onward, there was no separate funding for the NAEP. Ownership from staff of the various government extension bodies was limited due to lack of consultation with all stakeholders in drafting of the policy and the need for a coordination mechanism between the various bodies (Karim et al, 2009). Whether the measures promulgated in the 2012 revision have been broadly supported or funded is unclear.

EAS in Bangladesh is dynamic, with a high number of actors from different sectors, and very decentralized. The high plurality leads to difficulties in coordination between different types of EAS actors (public, private and NGO/multilateral) as well as between different areas of EAS (crops, livestock and fisheries). There is thus need for a coordinating mechanism or incentive structure to facilitate cooperation among EAS providers (Swanson, 2011).

Public sector EAS actors generally act independently of each other and need a more effective system for taking farmer input or measuring farmer satisfaction or impact (Swanson, 2011). Also, many public-sector actors do not always have sufficient operational funds to effectively implement programs, with majority of funding going toward salaries and capital costs. The limited resources result in farmers in harder to reach areas, such as the riverine islands, not having the same level of access to EAS than in other parts of the country. Public extension institutions include the following:

The DAE is the largest organization and employs 14,092 field-level extension agents,1 with each responsible for 900-2,000 farm families (Miah, 2015). The DOF and DLS have few field-level extension agents—usually only two to three at the upazila level (which includes 60,000 to 70,000 farms) and none at the union or block level (Swanson, 2011). These departments mainly have project-based funding. While welcome to infuse additional resources into government programs, project-based funding also has some drawbacks. According to the Planning Commission, “the major weaknesses of this project dependency are that certain areas seem to attract repeated projects whereas others get none; duplication of efforts, while similar approaches may be tried repeatedly without success; and the content of the extension may depend on the parameters set by the project rather than a consideration of local need” (Miah, 2015: 39).

Full report:

World Wide Extension Study

Extension Providers

bangladesh

The Worldwide Extension Study WWES provided empirical data on the human and financial resources of agricultural extension and advisory systems worldwide. The programme ran from 2009-2012 and was funded by USAID and managed by IFPRI in partnership with FAO (along with DAAS and CIRAD) and IICA.

Major Institutions providing extension/advisory services in the country

There are many agencies, which provide extension support to the farmers of Bangladesh. These agencies including government agencies, many non-government organizations (NGOs), commercial traders and input suppliers (manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers) operate in both rural and urban areas of the country. Together, all these partners comprise the National Agricultural Extension System (NAES) (MoA, 1996). Each organization has its own operational strategies for providing extension support to farmers, and the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) within the Ministry of Agriculture is the biggest agency employing a large number of people who provide extension service to many rural areas around the country.

At the national level, public extension is managed by 326 senior staff with a bachelor degree or more and 99% are men. There are 126 subject matter specialists, almost half of which have graduate degrees and 95% of which are male, and they provide backstopping support to the field staff.  The field level extension workers constitute the bulk of staff (13,323), with 89% of them holding 2 to 3 year Agricultural Diploma, and only 7% are female. There are two other groups of workers: Information, Communication & Technology (ICT) Support Staff and In-Service Training Staff. Although the public sector does not employ in-service training staff, 130 workers are involved in ICT support services. Seventy three percent of ICT staff holds a graduate degree and the rest completed a bachelor degree (Table 1).

Table 1: Human Resources in the Public Extension Service in Bangladesh (Ministry of Agriculture & Governmental or Ministry-based Extension Organizations)

Major Categories of Extension Staff

Secondary School diploma

2-3 yr. Ag diploma

B.Sc. degree

M.Sc./Ing. Agr. degree

Ph.D. degree

Gender

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

Senior Management Staff

       

2

196

1

100

 

27

Subject Matter Specialists (SMS)

       

6

60

 

50

 

10

Field Level Extension Staff

   

800

11,024

102

895

30

447

2

23

Information, Communications & Technology (ICT) Support Staff

       

15

20

1

90

1

3

In-Service Training Staff

                   

Total Extension Staff:       13,905        

 

 

800

11,024

125

1,171

32

687

3

63

  Source: IFPRI/FAO/IICA Worldwide Extension Study, 2011

Public Sector

The public sector is represented by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Bangladesh Agricultural University. These institutions provide extension services through various departments and institutes listed below:

Non-public Sector

Private Sector Firms

This group includes the following

  • Input Supply Dealers (seeds, fertilizers and pesticides)
  • Wholesale Market Dealers
  • Local Traders

Non-Governmental Organizations and other Donors (examples)

  • BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee) is the largest and likely the most effective NGO in Bangladesh
  • CARE International (SHOUHARDO project)
  • Chemonics International (PRICE project)
  • IFDC (ILSFARM project)
  • Winrock International (REAP project)
  • Royal Danish Embassy (DANIDA Extension project
  • World Bank funded National Agricultural Technology project (NATP)

Farmer Based Organizations and Cooperatives

Small scale and marginal farmers are organized into community, farmer and/or producer groups. This arrangement is in agreement with the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) with the purpose of helping groups of farmers intensify and diversify their respective farming systems by producing more high-value crops, livestock and fish products to increase farm income. By working together for input supply and marketing purposes, these groups could reduce the cost of these inputs, link producers to wholesales markets and avoid being exploited by traders. Farmers groups are organized by different donors and NGOs using somewhat different methods or organizations:

  • Common Interest Group (CIGs, organized under the NATP): appear to include farmers most closely connected with the extension staff at the Union and Upzila levels
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Integrated Crop Management (ICM) Clubs: organized under DANIDA projects (generally 50% men and 50% women)
  • Village Groups: organized: organized by BRAC have monthly meetings to discuss and solve immediate technical, management or marketing problems

Enabling Environment

Enabling (or Disabling) Environment.

The lack or limited relationship between the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) specialized in crop related issues, the Department of Livestock Services (DLS), and the Department of Fisheries (DOF) as well as with other NGO service providers with specific project, districts and/or Upazilas stems from the absence of a clear national extension policy for extension. DAE is a top down extension system just like DLS and DOF that operate in a quasi isolated environment with very limited research - extension linkages. In order to increase its effectiveness and attempt to bring together extension service providers, the DAE devised and introduce in 1996 a New Agricultural Extension Policy (NAEP). The goal of the NAEP is to “Encourage the various partners and agencies within National Agricultural Extension System (NAES) to provide efficient and effective services which complement and reinforce each other; in an effort to increase the efficiency and productivity of agriculture in Bangladesh” (MoA, 1996, 1997, DAE, 1999, 2000).

ICT

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Agriculture and Extension 

The government through the Agricultural Information Service (AIS) and The Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM) is putting considerable emphasis on the Information and communication Technologies. Resources being developed will be useful to both farmers and extension staff if they can access it online. In this regard, AIS is making progress in making technical and market information available online, which unfortunately is only accessible to a few farmers and field extension staff who can access the information online. The Department of Agricultural Marketing generates market information on weekly basis accessible through AIS online service. Call centers are been created by both research and most extension departments (DAE, DLS, and DOF) as well as throughout the AIS at the national level. There is an increase in the use of mobile phones by “progressive “farmers to speak with input supply dealers and wholesale markets.

Training

Training for Extension Professionals

Agricultural Training Institutes (ATI) established throughout the country provides training for field extension staff.  Most Sub-Assistant Agricultural Officers (SAAOs) have diploma from these ATI that provide training on mainly crop systems that could be largely out of date in terms of current and emerging crop technology and farming systems.

Resources

References

Statistical Indicators                                                                                                                                     

Bangladesh                                                                                                                                                                               Year

Agricultural land (sq km)

93,000

2008

Agricultural land (% of land area)

71.4

2008

Arable land (hectares)

7,900,000

2008

Arable land (% of land area)

60.69

2008

Arable land (hectares per person)

0.05

2008

Fertilizer consumption (per ha of arable land)

165

2008

Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)

18.7

2009

Food production index (1999-2001 = 100)

132

2009

Food exports (% of merchandise exports)

6.5

2007

Food imports (% of merchandise imports)

22.5

2007

GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)

580

2009

Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above)*

55.9

2009

Literacy rate, youth female (% of females ages 15-24)

76.8

2009

Ratio of young literate females to males (% ages 15-24)

104

2009

Ratio of female to male secondary enrollment (%)

112

2008

Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)

21.8

2007

 

27.9

2008

 

31.1

2009

Internet users (per 100 people)

0.3

2007

 

0.3

2008

 

0.4

2009

Population, total

162,220,762

2009

Population density (people per sq. km of land area)

1,246.2

2009

Rural population

117,415,388

       2009

Rural population (% of total population)

72.4

2009

Agricultural population* 

75,662,0000

2008

Agricultural population (% of total population)*

47

2008

Total economically active population in Agriculture*

35,562,000

2008

Total economically active population in Agriculture (in % of total economically active population)*

 47

2008

Female economically active population in Agriculture (% of total active in agriculture)*

50

2008

Source: The World Bank, http://data.worldbank.org, *Food and Agriculture Organization, http://faostat.fao.org,

More documents

Acknowledgements

  • Authored by Andre M. Nnoung
  • Edited by Burton E. Swanson

List of Extension Providers

icon target The following list shows an excerpt from the GFRAS Directory of Extension Providers for Bangladesh. Some of these entries may be specially marked for having more detailed information in the database of the Worldwide Extension Study WWES.