Mr. Gary Linden, the Deputy Assistant Administrator, BFS, USAID/Washington visited a farmer producers group of the USAID Agricultural Extension Support Activity on Tuesday, November 01, 2016 in Jessore. Mr. Anar Khalil, Senior Agriculture Private Sector Advisor, USAID/Bangladesh, Mr. Matt Curtis, FtF Team Leader, USAID/Bangladesh and Mr. Md. Shibly, AOR, USAID/Bangladesh also accompanied Mr. Linden in this visit.

The visiting team visited an all-female jute farmer producers group named Jhinaikundu Jute Producers Group of Jagadishpur union of Chowgachha upazila of Jessore. The team mainly observed project’s ICT and Agricultural Extension Service Center (AESC) based activities that provide extension services to the farmers to increase their productions.

In order to demonstrate an improved extension delivery model, the project in collaboration with the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), established the AESCs so that the farmers receive extension supports from the block level extension field staff namely the Sub Assistant Agriculture Officer (SAAO).

The visiting team discussed with the SAAO – Ms. Sultana Bulbuli about her support to the farmer producer groups and also discussed with the farmers about the improved practices of jute production facilitated by the project. The farmers also receive ICT based support through the project developed ICT apps. The farmers receive supports from the Union based ICT Champion and also from the SAAO with the ICT apps. A demonstrations on ICT apps and tools were shown to the visitors also.

Finally, the visitors were briefed on project’s new and unique initiative of ‘A-Card: Smallholders’ access to finance through bank’ – which is helping the un-banked farmers to undertake the formal banking system for availing their access to finance.

The visitors appreciated the AESC based activities, the ICT based activities and the ‘A-Card’ initiatives of the project. They were content to know that these extension models are improving the farmers’ lives to a great extent.

Mr. Bidyuth K. Mahalder, the Chief of Party of the Ag Extension Project along with Mr. Aniruddha Hom Roy, Private Sector Advisor, USAID/Bangladesh and other representatives of the USAID and the project were present during the visit.