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About 80 percent of farm households in the country do not have any exposure to government agricultural extension services, a seminar was told on Thursday. Citing the preliminary findings of an ongoing Brac survey, titled ‘Impact Assessment of Credit Programmme for the Tenant Farmers’, its executive director Mahbub Hossain revealed the striking figure that raises questions about the efforts the agro officials in the country’s agricultural development.
Financed by the 3ie (The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation) programme of the Global Development Network, Brac has been conducting the survey over 60,000 households across the country.
The survey also showed that only 12 percent of the households got to see the extension officials at least once, whereas only 10 percent had the opportunity to interact several times with the officials, said Mahbub.
He noted that there is a growing need for agricultural extension services for farmers in order to achieve the optimal output from cultivation of modern varieties and the increase of inputs such as irrigation, chemical fertilisers and pesticides. “But the exposure of farm households to extension services has been very low,” he added.
“Say, for Boro season, the adoption of modern varieties has already stretched to 98 percent… there’s not scope left anymore to put your efforts to introduce the modern varieties. At the present context, you need to focus on how to achieve the optimal output through properly orienting the farmers with the use of fertilisers and pesticides,” said Mahbub.
The seminar on the ‘Impact of Tenant Farmer Development Project’ was organised by Brac at Brac Centre to bear out the results of its Borga Chashi Unnayan Prakalpa (BCUP), which has provided customised credit services to about three lakh farmers from October, 2009 to December 2012.
The BCUP was initiated as a three-year project with a re-financing facility of Tk 500 crore from Bangladesh Bank (BB), and in December, 2012 the central bank approved extension of the project for another three years.
Presided over by the vice-chairman of Brac governing body AMR Chowdhury, the seminar was also addressed by BB governor Atiur Rahman.