Ms. Kimberly Flowers, Director, Global Food Security Project at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Ms. M. Reid Hamel, Food security and health systems analyst; Demographer; Research Fellow, Global Food Security Project at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) visited the USAID Agricultural Extension Support Activity (Ag Extension Project) in Barisal on March 08, 2016.

The CSIS team had a discussion session with the farmer producer group (FPG) involved with mung bean value chain at village Char Aicha under union Char Kawa of Barisal Sadar Upazila of Barisal to observe the group activities, improvement of household livelihoods through project’s support, use of ICT for better market information and enhanced extension services by public and private extension agents to the smallholder farmers’ group. They also discussed access to finance, improved production practices, gender, nutrition and practices of collective actions with the group.

The visitors also visited an Agricultural Extension Service Center (AESC) at Karnakathi Block of village Karnakathi under union Char Kawa of Barisal Sadar and discussed with the Sub Assistant Agriculture Officer (SAAO), Mr. Kabir Hossain about his agricultural advisory services to the farmers utilizing the project provided logistics and technical assistances. Mr. Hossain demonstrated how he provides ICT based supports to the visiting farmer using the project produced ICT apps. Also Mr. Hossain discussed about the disease herbarium, insect museum, seed samples, fertilizer samples, etc. which he keeps and shows to the farmers at the center.

The CSIS visitor team finally went to the office of the Deputy Director (DD), Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), Barisal. At first, Ms. Israt Jahan Mele, Agriculture Extension Officer (AEO), Barisal Sadar gave a power point presentation to brief visitors about the collaborative activities of DAE and the project.

The DAE officials also discussed about the capacity building and logistic supports to the public extension agents including Upazila Agriculture Officer (UAO) and Agriculture Extension Officer (AEO) and FPGs from the project. They also discussed about the AESC activities to provide agriculture extension services to the farmers and the usages of project developed mobile applications and the ICT activity monitoring Dashboard with the visitors. Discussing about the future opportunities in improve production technology on other potential crops, crop storage system, marketing initiatives, the discussants shared their views on the sustainability of the improved extension delivery system towards the farmers.

Mr. Bidyuth K. Mahalder, Chief of Party (COP), USAID Agricultural Extension Support Activity, Mr. Ramandra Nath Barai, Deputy Director (DD), Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Barisal, Agriculturist Ms. Sabina Easmin, Upazilla Agriculture Officer (UAO), DAE, Barisal Sadar Upazila, Mr. Md. Gias Uddin Talukder, Deputy Chief of Party (Program), Ag Extension Project, Ms. Tania Sharmin, National Technical Coordinator, Ag Extension Project, CARE Bangladesh, Mr. Hasib Ahsan, ICT Head, Ag Extension Project, mPower and other project staff of Barisal District including Mr. Md. Shafiqul Islam, Regional Manager and Mr. Md. Moktar Hossain, District Manager were present during this visit.