Agriculture development activities for PSSWRSP-LGED

--Md. Shahidul Haque, Project Director, PSSWRSP-LGED

The PSSWRSP developed to protect crops from flooding, improve drainage, water conservation and expand surface water irrigation command area to provide opportunities for higher crop production and other on-farm activities in the subproject areas. This requires improvement of agricultural extension services to promote adoption of improved, environmentally sound agricultural practices. Accordingly, MOU was signed between LGED and DAE in 2002 to provide farmers with information on sustainable farming techniques through education, guidance and help them in adopting improved production practices for optimizing production and incomes, based on water resources utilization.

Approach

w         WMCA is the main actor involved in the process of technology transfer for the enhancement of agricultural productivity in the subproject area.

w         WMCA plays a strategic role in strengthening linkage between the subproject beneficiary farmers and extension workers.

w         WMCA prepares subproject Agriculture Production Plan and Land Use Map to take benefit of water resources development in consultation with beneficiary farmers.

w         Training and extension supports are provided to the beneficiary farmers through WMCA for the implementation of Agriculture Production Plan. The Agriculture Production Plan and Land Use Plan & Preparation of Map with the help of beneficiary farmers to receive technological guidance from DAE on sustainable use of their lands and water resources.  DAE is provided technological support and expertise specially training and extension service through Project Management Office, LGED. Department of Livestock Resources (DLR), Department of Fisheries (DOF) and Soil Resources Development Institute (SRDI) also participated in the training and extension activities.

Methodology

w         Subprojects impacts are examined by DAE upazila (sub-district), district and regional level extensionists to determine opportunities for enhancement of agricultural production.

w         Beneficiary farmers needs are identified, present land and water use status was mapped by NGO Agricultural Facilitator, Sub-Assistant Agriculture Officer (SAAO) and Upazila Agriculture Officer of DAE.

w         WMCA prepares subproject agriculture production plan in consideration with the opportunities, farmer needs and land & water use status for the sustainable use of land and water resources.

w         DAE supports WMCA for the implementation of agricultural production plan through organization of extension programs on improved farming technologies adaptable in the subproject area.

w         The impacts of the agricultural production plan and extension activities are monitored and reviewed by the NGO Agricultural Facilitator and Sub-Assistant Agriculture Officer (SAAO) and Upazila Agriculture Officer of DAE.

w         LGED district level Socio-Economist/ Sociologist and NGO Agricultural Facilitator are coordinated and monitored the agricultural activities.

Activities

Workshop: Workshops are organized in the LGED HQ & LGED Districts level. The participants are upazila level agricultural extentionists of DAE, Upazila Engineer,  different level Instructor of ATIs, LGED Socio-Economist and NGO`s Agricultural Facilitators. In the workshops explained about the characteristics of the subprojects, subproject impacts on drainage improvement, flood management and soil moisture supply to ensure sustainable agricultural production.

Need Assessment:  WMCA organized beneficiary farmers meeting for the assessment of their needs. The needs are considered to provide a way forward towards agricultural development in the subproject area. Participation of marginal, small, medium, large farmers, women and fishers are ensured in the meeting. SSWRDSP Socio-economist and Agricultural Facilitator assist WMCA in organize meeting. UAO and Sub-Assistant Agriculture Officer provide guidance to WMCA Management Committee in need assessment.

Land Use Plan and Preparation of Map: Pre-subproject and Planned/ Post subproject land and water resources use are recorded on mouza map (1:3,960) covering the subproject area. The information includes subproject benefit area and cropping patterns on every plot in the benefit area. The map helps WMCA to determine subproject impacts on drainage improvement, flood control, water conservation and irrigation development. This assist to examine the changes in agricultural production, identify issues, improve production plan and accordingly organize extension programs.

SP Agriculture Production Plan: First time SP Agriculture Production Plan prepared with the help of UAO, ULS, UFO, UE, Socio-Economist and Agriculture Facilitator. When subproject construction is completed, DAE helps WMCA in the preparation of annual agricultural plan according to beneficiary farmers needs. UAO and SAAO provide guidance the WMCA. UE, ULO and UFO give suggestions and SSWRDSP Socio-economist and NGO Facilitators helps in the organizing the farmers. The NGO Agricultural Facilitators working at district level. Agriculture  plan covers:  i) cultivated area and land types in post-subproject situation, ii) present crop production according to the land types,     iii) farmers problems or needs in crop production on different land types, iv) how to resolve the problems or meet the needs, v) annual crop and fodder production plan, vi) tree plantation plan, vii) WMCA inputs procurements plan,         viii) WMCA extension and training plan, ix) subproject sluice gate and regulator operation and irrigation schedule          x) marketing plan, ix) progress in the implementation of plan and evaluation and x) comments of UAO, ULO and UE on the implementation of programs by WMCA.

Agricultural Training And Extension Supports

Both farm and institute level training and extension services are provided to WMCA farmer members.  Training on new and improved farming technology for sustainable agricultural production is organized at Agricultural Training Institutes (ATIs) in different AEZs (Agro-Ecological Zone). Here 05 agriculture sub-committee members and 06 general members (farmers) including 1/3 women of WMCA from each subproject are trained up to make them in-house or community based extension agents. Trainees are selected by WMCA at general meeting. Participation in subproject activities, age, education, interests and communication skill were considered in the selection. Preference was given to woman farmer. Separate courses on i) Home-based vegetables cultivation,  seed production and processing and ii)  Poultry and cattle Rearing are organized for WMCA woman members.  Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) Training Wing organizes the ATI training courses. Demand-led training on Farm Water Management, Seed Production and Processing, Poultry, Duck and Cattle Rearing and Home-based Vegetable Production is provided at SPs level.  These trainings are organized on the demand of WMCA to help them useful investments of their capital.

WMCA is also provided with supports to organise extension activities on sustainable production technology. In every subproject, IPM /ICM training is provided to 25 WMCA farmers at farmer field school (FFS) throughout the crop season. This helps farmers identify beneficial and harmful insects, prevent indiscriminate use of pesticides and reduces crop production cost.  Demonstration and field days are organized on improved farming technology. These increase adoption of modern varieties, production of non-rice crops and judicious use of inputs. Moreover a linkage between WMCA and DAE extensionist is developed and farmers receive more supports from them.

UAO, UEO, PPI and SAAO support the WMCA in the organization of extension activities. SRDI also provides on-farm training to 20 WMCA farmer members in each subproject area on land, soil and water resources uses.  It also helps WMCA in collecting 20 soil samples from their subproject area for the analysis of plant nutrient level at SRDI regional laboratory. On the basis of the analysis, SRDI provides soil health card (SHC) to the subproject farmers. The SHC helps farmers to determine plant nutrient requirements on his land and balanced use of fertilizers. Fertilizers procurement cards have been supplied in same subprojects to ensure fertilizers availability form the local dealers in time and required quantity. This contributes to the sustainable use of land resources in the subproject areas.

Subproject beneficiary farmers have been provided with training and extension materials. These were prepared by PSSWRSP with the guidance of DAE.  The materials include:

w         Krishi Utpadon Hatboi (Agricultural Production Handbook),

w         Krishi Proshikhyan Mannual (Agricultural Training Manual),

w         Subproject operation calendar,

w         Posters on improved farm practices with water management,

w         Soil health card,

w         Land use map, and

w         Leaflets and books on improved agricultural practices.

Impact

A. Agricultural training and extension activities

The subproject agricultural activities established strong communication linkage between WMCA and DAE, facilitated information exchange between beneficiary farmers and extensionists and strengthened extension services in the subproject area.  This has helped subproject farmers receive technical guidance from DAE and adopt new and improved agricultural technologies, farm management practices with drainage improvement, flood control, water conservation and expansion of irrigation command area in the subproject areas. Participation of DAE extensionists in subproject agricultural extension activities increased gradually. DAE SAAO assisted WMCA in the adoption of improved technologies. UAO, UAEO, AAEO and PPI are participated in agricultural production plan, training, demonstration and field days.  The subproject level linkage between WMCA and DAE contributed to receive support form upazila partnership development fund formed under the New Agricultural Extension Policy (NAEP). For conducting demonstration farmers are selected from beneficiary farmers and are provided with training and inputs. Upazila Development Coordination Committee (UDCC) also supports subproject beneficiary farmers under Annual Development Program (ADP).  Farmers receive training on improved farm practices and tree plantation under this program.  They also receive  seeds and  saplings.

Agricultural training and extension activities Impact

w         Established strong communication linkage between beneficiary farmers and DAE through WMCA.

w         Motivation of farmers to adopt new and improved agricultural technology and farm management practices for sustainable production.

w         Strength integration of agricultural extension activities.

w         Sustainable use of land and water resources

w         Beneficiaries assess their needs through training and extension activities.

w         To ensure sustainable agricultural production.

w         Beneficiary farmers need are identified by using Land Use Map.

w         The Land Use Map helps to determine and identify the change of agriculture production

w         Faciliated information exchange between beneficiaries and extension workers

w         Beneficiaries are aware of modern agricultural technology through DAE

w         Field demonstration increased use of HYVs varieties and enhance crop diversification.

w         Judicious use of fertilizers, application of integrated pest management and improvement of crop management.

w         IGA`s increased women empowerment and socio-economic status.

w         Beneficiaries are organized for useful agricultural investments of their capital.

AAEO: Assistant Agricultural Extension Officer, ATI: Agricultural Training Institute, DAE: Department Agriculture Extension, BADC: Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation, SAAO: Sub Assistant Agriculture Officer (Formerly Block Supervisor), DD: Deputy Director, DLO: District Livestock Officer, IPM: Integrated Pest Management, , PSO: Principal Scientific Officer, RDA: Rural Development Academy, SO: Scientific Officer, SSO: Senior Scientific Officer, UAO: Upazila Agriculture Officer, UAEO: Upazila Agricultural Extension Officer.

B. Agricultural Production

Monitoring of completed subprojects suggests that the WMCA agricultural activities contribute to increase cropped area.  The cropping intensity also increases. Agricultural demonstration increased use of HYVs in rice production and crop diversification with more non-rice production.  HYV rice area increases significantly with drainage improvement and flood management of flooding in the monsoon season.  The WMCA agricultural activities also contribute to the increase of crop yield level.  The other factors contributing to the agricultural production include judicious use of fertilizers, application of integrated pest management and improvement of crop management. Improvement of drainage effectiveness in the monsoon season was identified to be the most significant impact of the water control infrastructures. This has substantially supported farmers to increase HYV rice production in this season. Water conservation in the re-excavated canals increased non-rice production in the dry season. It is Monitoring of completed subprojects during 2013 shows that subprojects significantly contribute to increase of both cereal and non-cereal crop area and production.  This has increased labor demand in the subprojects area

Agriculture Production Impacts:

w         Annual incremental cereal crop production  t 39700.00 MT for 20SP

w         Annual incremental non-cereal crop production t 41,300.00 MT for 20SP

w         Annual incremental cropping Intensity t 78.8 %

w         Annual incremental Labor Employment t 30,42,000 person-days

Subproject Agriculture Impacts

A. Agricultural training and extension activities Impact

w         Established strong communication linkage between beneficiary farmers and DAE through WMCA.

w         Motivation of farmers to adopt new and improved agricultural technology and farm management practices for sustainable production.

w         Strength integration of agricultural extension activities.

w         Sustainable use of land and water resources

w         Beneficiaries assess their needs through training and extension activities.

w         To ensure sustainable agricultural production.

w         Beneficiary farmers need are identified by using Land Use Map.

w         The Land Use Map helps to determine and identify the change of agriculture production

w         Faciliated information exchange between beneficiaries and extension workers

w         Beneficiaries are aware of modern agricultural technology through DAE

w         Agricultural demonstration increased use of HYVs varieties and enhance crop diversification.

w         Judicious use of fertilizers, application of integrated pest management and improvement of crop management.

w         IGA`s increased women empowerment and socio-economic status.

w         Beneficiaries are organized for useful agricultural investments of their capital.

B. Agriculture Production Impacts:

w         Annual incremental cereal crop production t 39700.00 MT for 20SP

w         Annual incremental non-cereal crop production t 41,300.00 MT for 20SP

w         Annual incremental cropping Intensity t 78.8 %

w         Annual incremental Labor Emplo-yment t 30,42,000 person-days

Limitation

Serious limitation is in resource and manpower (including very limited field facilitators and consultant) and lengthy process in recruitment. For example to take a Field Facilitator took about 2-8 months for approval from ADB, by that time candidate got another job, thus he was not available.

A: Points for Attention by ADB/ Recommendations

1.         It is very difficult to achieve project goal without Agriculture Specialist (Agriculture Consultant) for the full project period. Specialist is needed during EME conduction. EME is done at end of the development works of the project.

2.         Need quick and short process for Agriculture Facilitator appointment in approved post or decision should be within project level (PIC and PMO jointly).

3.         Number of Facilitator is also limited (only 6), needs one person per district

4.         Their salary is very poor compared to market price (12,000 taka only at PSSWRSP for 4-5 districts where as in JICA funded component it is about 19,000/- per month work in one district)

5.         The Facilitator conveyance is insufficient (For example 2,000/- one person who covers Barisal, Barguna, Patuakhali and Pirojpur), how it is possible to travel/visit about 20 SPs in 2000 taka in a month?

6.         Inadequate budget for editing and printing of Training Materials.

7.         Need logistic support for training, travel and setting Agricultural demonstration/ ICM/ Agricultural Production Plan/ Land Use Map Preparation etc.

8.         If we can`t provide required training materials and facilities to participants may not be interested to join in training at SP and Institute/Organaization level.

9.         It is not possible to poverty reduction effort through the increase of sustainable agricultural production

10.       Inadequate training fund. Unit cost of the training is insufficient compare to SSWRDSP (2nd phase) and JICA-SSWSP.

11.       Though Agriculture and Fisheries outputs are the main project objectives but out of about Tk.50.00 crore for training budget, only Tk. 3.64 crore (7.13 percent) for Agriculture training is mentioned which is insufficient. In second phase Tk. 7.0 crore (23%) was spend which was adequate budget for training, extension activities and vigorous monitoring.