In Bangladesh, land is
still considered as an essential productive asset and means to sustain
livelihood. Efficient utilization of land is important for household welfare
and alleviation of poverty in a sustainable manner. In our country, like
other developing economics, the poor makes productive use of family labor
and improve their income and well-being.
Extreme level of poverty
and high density of population are the significant causes for reduction of
economic growth in our country. Although the country has rich soils and
favorable climate for agriculture, it still remains highly vulnerable to
devastating flood, cyclones and draughts. In a densely populated, poor and
rural country like Bangladesh, higher agricultural productivity is essential
for growth and poverty reduction. On the other hand, social forestry can be
identified as a tool for bringing about ecological and socio-economic
improvements, as well as can contribute to alleviate poverty in Bangladesh.
Ecological changes refer to a greater number of trees, more “biomass”
production and beneficial ecological effects.
In 1975, BEES introduced
Agriculture and Social Forestry program under the RDP to facilitate the
farmers to overcome stagnancy in the agricultural field through promoting
crop diversification, increasing crop intensity as well as crop production.
The program aimed to enhance the nutritional status of the target
beneficiaries and enable them to become financially self-reliant through
crop diversification. At the same time, the program was expected to bring
favorable ecological balance in the environment.
To assist the farmers and
community through provision of various inputs to obtain better quality of
crops and support for plantation of various trees towards establishment of
sustainable environmental and ecological protection.
Under the program, BEES
targeted to work with a total of 25,000 farm families during the session
July 2002-June 2003 with an expectation to increase the production by 7% at
the end of the year from baseline status. Simultaneously, about 84,000 tree
plants would be distributed to the farm families.
A total of 22,895 farmers
constituting 1,090 groups were enrolled against the annual target of 25,000
farmers and 1,190 groups respectively, which indicates about 92% achievement
in both the cases. Group formation and enrolment of members in the program
were found quite satisfactory.
One of the important
areas under the program is to transfer modern technology on crop production
to the field through different trainings. During the reporting period, about
14,300 farmers received knowledge on different modern technologies related
to crop production through 11 courses. It is to be mentioned here that, in
most of the cases farmers received knowledge on more than one crop
agro-technologies were “Balanced Fertilizer Use”, “IPM Technology Use in
Production of Rice, Vegetable and Tomato”, “Integrated Pest Management”,
“Mixed Fruit Gardening”, “Pruning of Fruit Trees”, etc. During the reporting
period, achievement in this field was also found quite satisfactory.
In the area of
arrangement of the agricultural inputs - seed, fertilizer, pesticide,
seedlings (fruits, vegetable & timber) etc. for the target farmers; about
95,000 farmers received the mentioned inputs during the reporting period. It
is to be mentioned here that most of the target farmers received more than
one agricultural inputs from the program.
However, among the inputs
receivers, a total of 19,251 farmers received seeds of different crops,
10,025 farmers received seeds of vegetables, 8,531 farmers received
fertilizers and 4,823 farmers received pesticide and a total of 12,337
farmers received seedlings of fruit, timber and medicinal trees.
Upto the end of the year,
a total amount of 27.2 million taka was disbursed as crop loan among 4,179
farmers payable through equal installments. It needs to be mentioned here
that BEES could not arrange sufficient fund against crop loan to the farmers
as targeted under the program due to shortage of fund.
The main objective of
Demonstration on Various Technologies on Crop Production was to
introduce the farmers with different new technologies for cultivating land
in more sophisticated way so that they can produce more crops. In this
regard, a total of 582 demonstrations on different agricultural technologies
were arranged at field level against the target of 650 demonstrations, which
marks nearly 90% achievement and about 19,000 farmers were benefited through
Among the arranged
demonstrations, 163 were on “Kitchen Gardening”–the highest in number. Other
demonstrations arranged by the program staff during the reporting period
(2002-2003) were on ‘Preparation of compost heap’, ‘Cultivation of winter
vegetable’, ‘Cultivation of Aman’, ‘Cultivation of Pulse’, ‘Process of fruit
tree pruning’, ‘Green manure’ and ‘Cultivation of wheat’ and; the numbers of
demonstrations were 112, 73, 58, 55, 53, 36 and 32 respectively.
It should be appreciated
that all the farmers covered under the program were able to increase crop
production by 7% than the last year using supports and services provided by
the program staff during the reporting year.
Under the Social
Forestry Component, it is seen that roughly 84,000 seedlings/saplings
were distributed among the target beneficiaries against the annual target of
92,000 seedlings/saplings, which indicates more that 92% achievement. Among
the distributed seedlings/saplings, 38,300 were of fruit trees, 37,832 were
of timber trees and the rest 7,835 seedlings were of medicinal trees.