National Inception Workshop of the Smallholder Agricultural Competitiveness Project

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National Inception Workshop of the Smallholder Agricultural Competitiveness Project

B Mirror Desk: National Inception Workshop of the Smallholder Agricultural Competitiveness Project (SACP-RAINS) (Smallholder Agricultural Competitiveness Project-Diversified Resilient Agriculture for Improved Food and Nutrition Securities) was held on Tuesday in the auditorium of the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation, Sech Bhaban, Manik Mia Avenue, Dhaka.
The workshop, initiated by SACP-RAINS, was graced by the honorable chief guest Dr. Malay Choudhury, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, and was presided over by Mr. Md. Tajul Islam Patwary, Director General in charge and Director of the Field Services Wing of the Department of Agricultural Extension. The welcome speech and keynote presentation were given by the Project Director, Dr. Muhammad Emdadul Haque.
The chief guest mentioned that the SACP-RAINS project is being implemented in 90 upazilas of 20 districts across three types of climate-vulnerable hotspots: coastal areas, river erosion zones and char estuaries, and drought-prone areas. The project aims to increase the income and improve the living standards of 670,000 smallholder farmers. To achieve this goal, the leading implementing agency, the Department of Agricultural Extension, is working in coordination with the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation, and the Department of Agricultural Marketing. This integrated approach within the Ministry of Agriculture is part of an innovative initiative. I earnestly hope that all stakeholders and associated institutions participating in today’s workshop will reach a consensus on ideas and practical strategies that will help formulate and implement specific activities for SACP-RAINS. The sustainable technologies, necessary inputs, and training provided to assist smallholder farmers within the project should enhance their production, consumption, and marketing activities.
The Director General remarked that within 50 years of achieving our great independence, we have managed to increase the production of our main staple crop, rice, by four times. Additionally, the production of vegetables and fruits has significantly increased. This progress has been greatly supported by agricultural education, research, inputs, and extension services. All stakeholders involved in policy formulation and implementation on behalf of the government deserve credit for this achievement. Especially, the hardworking farmers of this country have been playing a proud role in this achievement generation after generation. SACP-RAINS will further accelerate their activities.
The workshop was attended by special guests Mr. Md. Mahbubul Haque Patwary, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture; Mr. Md. Majibar Rahman, Member Director, BADC; Mr. Masud Karim, Director General, Department of Agricultural Marketing; Mr. Debasish Sarkar, Director General, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute. Other honored guests included Ms. Rilla Krik, Program Officer, IFAD, Bangladesh; Mr. Dia Sanou, Deputy Country Representative FAO; Rudaba Khandoker, Country Director, GAIN; field-level participants such as Additional Directors, Deputy Directors, Upazila Agriculture Officers, journalists, and esteemed farmers.
In the workshop, the Project Director stated that our constitution declares the commitment to ensuring the supply of safe and nutritious food for all people of the country. Considering this commitment as a primary goal of the state, the Agricultural Policy was updated in 2018, the Agricultural Policy Implementation Plan was adopted in 2020, the Organic Agriculture Policy was formulated in 2016, and the Good Agricultural Practices Policy was adopted in 2020. Additionally, the Agricultural Extension Policy was reformed in 2020, which will assist in adopting and implementing specific activities for SACP-RAINS. The sustainable technologies, necessary inputs, and training provided to assist smallholder farmers within the project should enhance their production, consumption, and marketing activities. All of us involved with SACP-RAINS will always strive to determine and implement our responsibilities to fulfill these expectations.
The special guests and other participants present at the meeting praised the activities of the SACP-RAINS project and wished for its continued success.

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