M4C and CDRC jointly publish “Char Agro-input Potentials” and “Char Information Book”

Making Markets Work for the Jamuna, Padma and Teesta Chars (M4C) project in collaboration with the Chars Development Research Centre (CDRC) recently developed two publications; “Char Agro-input Potentials” and “Char Information Book” to accumulate and ensure availability of char related information to the relevant stakeholders. Dissemination events of these publications took place in all three districts where M4C is currently working, Kurigram, Sirajganj and Gaibandha on 17, 19 and 23 September 2019 respectively.

After almost eight years of implementation in the Char areas, M4C has accumulated an inventory of contents i.e. demographics of Char population, cropping patterns, demand-supply information of agro-input and produce, sales data etc. To disseminate this knowledge among the private and public sector organisations and the development practitioners; CDRC and M4C jointly hosted these events.

Considering the interest of private agro-input companies, the publication “Char Agro-input Potential” aimed to help readers understand the potentials and challenges of char markets. The content includes information like number of farming households, cropping patterns, acreage wise sales, major haat (local markets), area wise sale of seeds, fertilizer, pesticides, and micronutrients. Agro-input companies and other agricultural value chain actors can benefit from these to penetrate and expand their businesses in the char markets.

The scope of the other publication “Char Information Book” is wider than the previous one; it has highlighted topics like characteristics of northern Chars of Bangladesh, agro-input potentials in the Char markets, potentials of post-production services and Char produces, livestock market potentials in Chars, potentials of microfinance services and development initiatives by the Government and Non-government Organisations.

Deputy Director of Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), District Livestock Officer of Department of Livestock Services (DLS) along with the other high-level Government officials of these departments were present at the events. Md. Habibul Haque, Deputy Director, Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Sirajganj said words of encouragement to the initiative and mentioned that “Due to resource limitations Government cannot always stretch out to all hard-to-reach areas including the Chars; this such context this is a notable initiative by M4C project and this should continue for the benefit of char-dwellers.”

The other participants also insisted upon updating and publishing these books each year with latest information. These events included interactive sessions where M4C’s private sector partners, beneficiaries, and representative of local government interacted and suggested way forward to continue growth and development of the Chars.

M4C is an eight-year, market development project. The project aims to reduce poverty amongst the northern char dwellers by facilitating changes in the market systems enhancing income generating opportunities. The project is mandated by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and implemented by Swisscontact in collaboration with Rural Development Academy (RDA).