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CARE Bangladesh shares on Agricultural Extension for food and nutrition security at the South Asia Right to Food (SARF) Conference
June 6, 2015
Considering the diversified agricultural challenges in the context of South Asia, strong solidarity and sharing amongst leading organizations is essential for progress. CARE Bangladesh, the Anti Poverty Platform, University of Dhaka, and other key National and International NGOs jointly organized a 3-day South Asia Right to Food (SARF) Conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh from May 30 to June 01, 2015.

The Conference was inaugurated by Sheikh Hasina MP, Honorable Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh at the Krishibid Institution Bangladesh, Khamarbari, Dhaka on May 30, 2015. Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel laureate and Human Rights Activist and Chairperson of the Global March Against Child Labour, India,was present as Guest of Honor along with other relevant ministers, Members of the Parliament, academicians, representatives from the civil society, and development practitioners and professionals.

CARE Bangladesh organized a parallel session named Food and Nutrition Security in Bangladesh: Experiences with Agricultural Extension Services for Smallholder Farmers and Women, sharing its experiences of the USAID Agricultural Extension Support Activity.

The Ag Extension Project works to strengthen the existing agriculture extension system in 26 upazilas in12 districts in the southwest and central Bangladesh in order to sustainably improve food security and nutrition for vulnerable smallholder farmers, with an emphasis on women. Implemented by Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM), the Technical Partners are CARE Bangladesh and mPower.

Panelists and participants alike recommended a nationwide holistic approach to farming. It was suggested that:
• If any project is successful in a region, it should be replicated to other areas of the country
• To establish long-term agricultural sustainability and support small-holder farmers, capacity building is necessary for the DoA (Department of Agriculture), DAE (Department of Agricultural Extension) and private extension actors.
• The DAE should promote improved, institutionalized and sustainable agricultural systems through nutrition-rich and disaster-resilient crop/seed varieties, to ensure the country’s equitable food and nutrition security .
• It is necessary to recognize the contributions of women farmers to agriculture and the establishment of links between them and local markets to ensure their access.
• Legal frameworks are needed to ensure equal wages and fair prices for agricultural prices for both male and female farmers.
Participants urged civil society actors to come forward to advocate for sustainable agriculture system for all..

The keynote paper was authored and presented by Dr. Rezaul Karim Talukder, Former Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Bangladesh Agricultural University and Dr. Asif Reza Anik, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University Jeremy Davis, Senior Program Advisor of USAID Agriculture Extension Support Activity, Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) also presented the project’s activities at the parallel session.
Panelists included Dr. Shahidul Islam, Former Director, Field Service Wing, DAE and Former National Consultant, Agronomist and Implementation Cell Team Leader, ECRRP, FAO, and Dr. Abdur Razzaque, Senior Program Officer (Research Management), Krishi Gobeshona Foundation, BARC. CARE Bangladesh’s AnowarulHaq, Director - Extreme Rural Poverty Program (ERPP) moderated the session.

Honorable Finance Minister, Abul Maal A. Muhith was present as the Chief Guest at the closing ceremony of the event.

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