Agricultural Extension Component
for Integrated Crop Management (ICM)
Introduction to AEC
The Agricultural Sector Program Support (ASPS) is a collaboration between the governments of Bangladesh and Denmark. Following the successful first phase of this program (2001-2006) a second phase (ASPS phase 2) started in 2006 with three separate but related components:
The AEC started on 1 October 2006 and will be completed on 30 September 2011. The total budget for the component is 1,189 million Taka (Bangladesh: 99 million, Denmark: 1,090 million)
BANGLADESH and DENMARK
The Agricultural Extension Component is implemented by the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) under the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), but also includes substantial support to several related agencies: Seed Wing (SW) of MoA, On Farm Research Division (OFRD) of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), and Agricultural Information Services (AIS). The major activities of AEC are funded by the government of Denmark.
The development objective of ASPS-2
Two immediate objectives of AEC
The operational AEC area with Integrated Crop Management (ICM) activities covers 217 Upazilas in 32 districts in North and North West and Southern part of the country (green area in the map). The southern areas are Greater Noakhali and Greater Barisal.
However, during the first 3 years the component will still continue support to Farmer Trainers and Farmer Clubs in 111 Upazilas as a consolidation of the previous phase (yellow areas in the map).
Some activities of AEC (for example use of mass media through AIS) cover the entire country.
What is ICM?
AEC has its roots in two earlier projects.
AEC uses the FFS training methodology to train farmers groups on Integrated Crop Management, which includes both IPM and IPNS, thus forming a holistic approach to crop production.
AEC outputs & targets
Enhanced capacity of associated agricultural agencies of MOA.
In earlier projects most extension activities were directed to male rice farmers who participated in IPM farmer field schools or in IPNS block demonstrations. In order to involve more women and to make training efforts more sustainable, the following two major changes in strategy have taken place:
Participants in the FFS are selected to include one man and one woman from the same household. Some sessions are especially for the men, with a focus on Integrated Crop Management in rice, while other sessions address women, with topics related to human nutrition, homestead vegetable gardening, growing fruit trees, use of farmyard manure, and making an energy saving stove.
Nutritional surveys have shown that malnutrition is widely prevalent in Bangladesh, especially among children and adolescents. This is mainly due to a deficiency of protein, vitamins and trace elements, and is caused both by poverty and lack of awareness. In the FFS, women will get information to improve their nutritional awareness and to promote changes in consumption habits. At the same time they learn how to better grow a variety of vegetables and fruit trees, which can be consumed in the family or could be partly sold to increase family income. They also learn how to cook vegetables without affecting their nutritional values.
While some FFS sessions are only for men and others only for women, there are also several sessions where both men and women are invited. These sessions are used to strengthen the group approach and to help the farmers start a Farmer Club. In each club the members develop their own club work plans. Often this includes more learning sessions with support from AEC, but also activities to generate income for the group or to organize social activities in the community. AEC not only supports individual clubs but also facilitates collaboration between clubs by forming Union Farmers Associations (UNFA) and Upazila Farmers Associations.