- Collaboration with the Agriculture Information Service (AIS)
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Agriculture Information Service (AIS) and the USAID Agricultural Extension Support Activity (Ag Extension Project) at CBC Auditorium, Mohammadpur, Dhaka, on January 7, 2015. Although, the project has been collaborating and consulting with AIS since the first year of the project, the signed MoU will allow the project to channelize formal assistance to AIS in a number of areas. The MoU describes specific responsibilities that each party will adhere to in support of mutually-beneficial initiatives leading to strengthening and expanding extension services to smallholder farmers. Representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, AIS, DAE and the project were present at the ceremony. Mr. Abdur Rouf, Joint Secretary of MoA was the Chief Guest while Dr. M. Ehsanur Rahman, Executive Director of Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) was present as Special Guest. Kbd. Sayed Khurshed Zafri, Director of Agriculture Information Service (AIS) and Dr. Ehsanur Rahman of DAM signed the MoU on behalf of respective organizations.
- MoU signed between the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) and the USAID Agricultural Extension Support Activity (Ag Extension Project)
The “Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE)” and the “USAID Agricultural Extension Support Activity (Ag Extension Project)”, signed a MoU on Sunday, March 8, 2015 at DAE’s Conference Room in Khamarbari, Farmgate, Dhaka. The objectives of the MoU are to strengthen the existing capacity of DAE to deliver effective, innovative and value chain-based extension services, and to provide enhanced support to smallholder farmers – both men and women – in southwest Bangladesh and also to promote communication and collaboration between the two organizations.
As one of the cornerstone activities proposed for implementation under the MoU, DAE and the Ag Extension Project will demonstrate an improved demand-driven ag extension service delivery model in four upazilas: Barisal Sadar, Faridpur Sadar, Chowgacha (Jessore) and Kalia (Narail).
As part of this initiative, the project will provide support for approximately 120 Sub-Assistant Agricultural Officers (SAAOs) in these four upazilas to establish a block-level extension center equipped with basic technical resource materials, field equipment, office supplies and ICT devices. The centers will provide a base of operations at the block level for SAAOs from which farmers and other stakeholders can come to seek information and advice. Armed with smart phones and given updated training in a number of technical areas, it is hoped that the SAAOs will convert these ag extension centers into true “one-stop” information-sharing hubs for farmers, extension agents and private sector service providers.
Mr. Sunil Chandra Dhar, Director, Horticulture Wing and other senior officials of the DAE were present at the MoU signing ceremony. The Executive Director of Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM), Dr. M. Ehsanur Rahman, Anowarul Haq, Director, ERPP of CARE Bangladesh and Hasib Ahsan, Senior Program and Research Manager at mPower, along with other Ag Extension Project representatives were present at the event. At the conclusion of the event, Mr. Sunil Chandra Dhar and Mr. Shoeb Uddin Ahmed, Deputy Chief of Party of the Ag Extension Project, exchanged copies of the signed MoU.
- The Ag Extension Project collaborates with Practical Action for strengthening capacity of the Krishi Call Center
A Service Contract (SC) was signed between the USAID Agricultural Extension Support Activity (Ag Extension Project) and the Practical Action at the Ag Extension Project’s Head Office at Dhaka on November 12, 2015.
The Krishi Call Center (16123) was established in 2011-2012 and currently operates out of the Agriculture Information Service (AIS) premises in Khamarbari, Dhaka. It has been successfully supporting farmers (crop, livestock and fish), entrepreneurs and other associated clients over last 3-4 years. Aiming to provide no cost and low cost information service, the Center so far has reached around 64,000 clients throughout the country since its inception. The center was a joint initiative of Practical Action (a UK-based INGO) and AIS under the Ministry of Agriculture.
The SC between the Ag Extension Project and Practical Action is initiated to address mainly the following operational aspects:
• Expanding the client base and improving the center’s capacity to effectively respond to customer calls by complementing 2 new operators along with the existing pool, procuring needed ICT hardware and by strengthening gender sensitive operation of the call center to give more access to agricultural information to the women clients;
• Improving mobile-based voice content delivery via the call center/ AIS and initiating business model approach for long term sustainability.
This Service Contract (SC) is expressed mutual acceptance between the two parties to strengthen agricultural knowledge information management and operation of the Krishi Cal Center managed by the Agriculture Information Service (AIS) and Practical Action Bangladesh (PAB).
Mr. Bidyuth K. Mahalder, Chief of Party, USAID Ag Extension Project and Ms. Hasin Jahan, Country Director, practical Action, Bangladesh signed the Service Contract from the respective parts. Senior employees of the Project and Practical Action were present at the signing of the Service Contract. Dr. M. Ehsanur Rahman, Executive Director of Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) was also present at the event. The contract will be effective from December 1, 2015.