Conference Blog

22
Jan

Gobeshona 6: Workshop on Agricultural Productivity

Blue Gold on “Stimulating Agricultural Productivity and Profitability in the Coastal Zone – Prospects for Extension”

A workshop session on “Stimulating agricultural productivity and profitability in the coastal zone- prospects for extension” hosted by Blue Gold, was held at Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) as a part of Gobeshona 6, a four-day conference organized by the International Centre for Climate Change And Development (ICCCAD). 

The chief guest for this session was Prof. Dr. Sattar Mandol and the presenters/panel members were Mr. Shahidul Haque, Mr. Karel T’ Jonck, Ms. Moushumi Zahur (assistant professor) at BRAC University respectively.

The session started off with the words of the honorable chief guest. He briefly discussed the purpose of the session which was basically the prospects of salinity and requested Ms. Moushumi Zahur to come upfront.

Introducing herself to everyone, Ms. Zahur talked about her ongoing project on salinity intrusion in the coastal zone. She specifically emphasised on the sea level rise induced by climate change. She specifically stated this issue because this impact is playing a vital role in the case of a hydrological as well as a social problem in the coastal zone. In her study, she has found that 20 million people are being affected where the figure shows a large number of victims are female. Keeping this social phenomena in mind, she, therefore has chosen coastal areas out of rural areas. She has mentioned that Khulna, Bagerhat and Satkhira are the most affected areas in this regard. She also warned us saying that by 2050, more lands will get affected (1 ppt of the lands by 18.22% and 5 ppt of the lands by 24%). She set up an example of the households being vulnerable to water salinity. Therefore, she’s planning to conduct a survey of 300 households with 95% confidence level where Focus Group Discussion (FGD) will imply Participatory Rural Appraisal  (PRA) methods.

After that, Mr. Karel T’ Jonck and Mr. Shahidul Haque, together presented a powerpoint presentation on “Stimulating agricultural productivity and profitability in the coastal zone- prospects for extension”. In their presentation, they mentioned a polder model, an infrastructure that helps prevent floods and draining out excess water during high rainfall. Blue Gold has been working in this regard for 6 years. The major water management problems that they have noticed in the coastal zone are- 

  • Waterlogging
  • Scarcity of water
  • Salinity
  • Poor drainage system

People of that particular zone are often being affected by flood and river erosion as well. Therefore, they came up with the game changing potential idea of the Polder Model. They also talked about collaborating agriculture with commercialisation. The ways of extension for agricultural commercialisation are: 

  • Enhancing farmer ability
  • Market orientation- Farmer entrepreneur
  • Improving decision making ability

In order to emphasise their achievement of the cropping system, they even had two other individuals from Polder 22, Khulna, to portray their living examples. Those individuals explained how Blue Gold helped to make awareness of high production cultivation in their area and how since then they have been enjoying greater cultivation results and income. Being grateful to Blue Gold, one of those individuals named Biplob Biswash said “Blue Gold may not have given me the money to buy a fish but they have given me a fishnet which will help me in the long run to earn something for myself”. 

At the end, regarding the whole workshop, the honorable chief guest said that business had its own science but it was us who needed to collaborate business with our own mechanism. 

After analysing everything, it’s quite comprehensive now that the time to make “converting production systems into commercialisation” trendy has come. In order to fulfil the purpose, we need to go beyond agriculture to conduct the mentioned method.

Safa Azad is an Environmental Management student at the Independent University, Bangladesh.

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