Farmers’ dialogue in Bangladesh
30 July 2015
Fifty farmers, including 14 women, participated in a farmers’ dialogue to learn sand bar cropping with pumpkin cultivation in the temporary river basin land called sandbar or char locally.
Practical Action, in association with Gyaner Haat and Union Digital Centre at Lakhitari Union Parishad (local government’s lowest tier), organised the farmers’ dialogue on 30 July 2015 in the Gangachara Upazila of Rangpur district in Bangladesh.
Rangpur district has one of highest rates of poverty in Bangladesh, with lack of employment frequently leading to food shortages. This initiative is a part of taking lessons and best practices to other areas, and is supported by USAID under its Securing Water for Food Project.
The attraction of the dialogue was not having a typical expert as trainer or external resource person but rather the main trainers being the farmers themselves.
Two experienced farmers, Mr Mohammoad Ilias Miah and Mrs Lipi Begum, the main facilitators and beneficiaries of Securing Water Food project, conducted the dialogue as expert farmers. Most of the participant farmers are landless and some of them have small size of land of their own. They are mainly share-croppers where they have to share their product with their land owners. Hearing about the opportunity to cultivate on land where they do not have to pay for cultivation, they became more enthusiastic.
Both the facilitators, experienced in sandbar cropping, provided answers to queries related to access to sand bars, sand bar cropping methodologies, irrigation systems and cost, the availability of irrigation technology, pumpkin storage and sales in market etc.
Mr. Abdullah Al Mamun, Upazila Agricultural Officer was the chief guest while Mr. Mohammod Foysal Hasan, Chairman and local government representative of the Lakhitaru Union, presided the session and rural technology extension agents, sub assistance agricultural officers and entrepreneurs of the Union Digital Centre attended the session as guests and change agents. The Upazila Agricultural Officer committed that he would provide the available services from his concerned department to those farmers going for sandbar cultivation.