Ms. Jamie D. Terzi, Country Director of CARE Bangladesh visited Jessore to observe the program activities of the USAID Agricultural Extension Support Activity on March 15, 2017.
The project has been linking extension services to the smallholder farmers by building capacities of the agricultural extension agents. Farmer Producer Groups (FPGs) were organized to provide farmers a collective voice to demand extension services synergized by the use of information communication technology (ICT), high quality agro inputs, and finances as needed and expanded market opportunities. Each FPG is focused on one of the 6 value chains (jute, chili, mung bean, dairy, beef fattening, and fish).
In Jessore, Ms. Terzi visited a Dairy Farmer Producer Group (FPG) at Lebutola Union of Jessore Sadar Upazila named the Lebutola Ghoshpara Dairy Producers’ Group and one of the Agricultural Extension Service Centers (AESCs) of Phulshara Union of Chowgachha Upazila.
Ms. Terzi observed the project promoted improved practices of dairy productions of the group in Lebutola including their vaccination and de-worming activities that help the farmers in their dairy production.
She observed the demonstrations on ICT apps of the group and met with a woman LSP who was trained at the Patuakhali Science & Technology University by the project.
Ms. Terzi was happy to observe the improved practices on dairy productions and also appreciated the linkages between the FPG members and the public and private extension agents and market actors. She discussed different issues of dairy productions from the dairy farmers and learned about different challenges they face in dairy farming. She also learned about the changes in their lives including their gender and nutrition related activities that were facilitated by the project.
Ms. Terzi also visited the milk collection center of BARC Dairy which is linked with the farmers through this project. The BRAC Dairy has established a milk chilling point in this community to buy milk from the farmers through a reasonable fat based price.
Later Ms. Terzi visited an Agricultural Extension Service Center in Chowgachha which is a joint collaboration of the project with the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE). In order to demonstrate an improved extension delivery model, the AESCs are established so that the farmers receive extension supports from the block level extension field staff namely the Sub Assistant Agriculture Officers (SAAOs).
Ms. Terzi discussed with both the male and female SAAOs – Mr. Md. Mahababur Rahaman and Ms. Sultana Bulbuli about their services to the local farmers.
Ms. Terzi appreciated the AESC based activities and hoped that the farmers would be greatly benefitted with this extension model of the AESCs.
Project staff including Mr. Bidyuth K. Mahalder, the Chief of Party of the USAID Ag Extension Project, Ms. Tania Sharmin, National Technical Coordinator, Ag Extension Project, CARE Bangladesh, Mr. Md. Shawkat Ali, Regional Manager, Ag Extension Project, Jessore Region, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Mr. Md. Rafiqul Islam, District Manager, Ag Extension Project, Jessore District, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Mr. Md. Hassanuzzaman, Technical Manager, Ag Extension Project, CARE Bangladesh were present during the visit.