Agricultural Extension Component

Agricultural Extension Component

for Integrated Crop Management (ICM)
and
Community Development

Women participants of a ICM Farmer Field School

 

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:

  1. Agricultural Extension Component (AEC)
  2. Regional Fisheries and Livestock Development Component (RFLDC)
  3. Rural Road and Market Access Component (RRMAC)

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.

Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE)
Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE)

 

AEC objectives

The development objective of ASPS-2

  • "Improved living standards of poor, marginal and small farmer households through enhanced, integrated and sustainable agricultural productivity"

Two immediate objectives of AEC

  • "Improved, demand driven, integrated and decentralized extension systems developed to support poor, marginal and small farmer households"
  • "Enhanced capacity of concerned agencies of MoA"

 

AEC area

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.

AEC map ASPS-1 and ASPS-2

 

What is ICM?

AEC has its roots in two earlier projects.

  • The SPPS project used the Farmer Field School (FFS) approach to educate farmers on "Integrated Pest Management" (IPM). IPM is "a sustainable approach to managing pests and crops by combining cultural, biological, genetic, mechanical and chemical methods in a way that minimizes economic, health, and environmental risks".
  • The SFFP project organized block demonstrations to train groups of farmers on "Integrated Plant Nutrition System" (IPNS). The IPNS concept is "the management of all available plant nutrient sources, organic and inorganic, to provide optimum and sustainable crop production conditions within the prevailing farming system".

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.

Farmers in a FFS take soil samples
Farmers in a FFS take soil samples

A Farmer Trainer facilitates a FFS session in the rice field
A Farmer Trainer facilitates a FFS session in the rice field

 

AEC outputs & targets

Enhanced capacity of associated agricultural agencies of MOA.

DAE

  • 200,000 farm families trained for 1 season (20 FFS sessions)
  • 8,000 FFS with Integrated Crop Management approach established and developed in selected Upazilas
  • 6,000 FFS developed into clubs, CBOs, and farmer associations. Clubs get support for marketing, agri-business and micro-enterprise development.
  • 400 new DAE field level officers developed as facilitators
  • 1,000 new Farmer Trainers (FT) developed through training for selected male and female farmers.
  • 2,000,000 farmers exposed to ICM through field days - Increased emphasis on linkages between agricultural production, food use and nutrition.

AIS

  • Increased use of mass media and ICT for the dissemination of extension messages and market information including awareness raising on nutritional, food use, and food safety issues.

BARI OFRD

  • Appropriate technologies for small and marginal farmers developed and adopted through applied and participatory on-farm research and demonstrations, using the FFS

Seed Wing

  • Support Seed Certification Agency (SCA) and private sector
  • Increased availability of quality seed

 

Current strategies

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:

Healthy families

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.

Homestead vegetable gardens to improve family health
Homestead vegetable gardens to improve family health

Community Development

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.

Farmer clubs support community development
Farmer clubs support community development

 

More information

AEC Project Director
Office: Room 766+764, 6th floor
Rear Building, Khamarbari, Farmgate
Dhaka-1215
Tel: 02-8115697-8
Fax: 02-9131373

Email: aec@accesstel.net
Internet: http://www.ais.gov.bd/aec-project.php

Updated: 13-10-2008