Category : Best Innovation in Community Engagement
Innovation Title : Farmers Community Livelihood Upliftment
Organization : British American Tobacco Bangladesh
It is often believed that Bangladesh’s future development is contingent on the agriculture sector, which serves as the economy’s backbone and also aids as the primary source of employment for the growing labor force. Given the impossibility of increasing the land area under cultivation, the only way to upsurge employment, farm production, and income, and thus the farming community’s livelihood, is to increase land productivity through relevant, timely, and focused initiatives. Since its inception, BAT Bangladesh has worked tirelessly to improve the livelihoods of approximately 35,000 farmers in 12 districts through various initiatives such as Bondhusheba (a digital platform for communication), training on Integrated Farm Management Components (IFMC), contract farming, etc. to ensure farmer sustainability.
These activities are contributing to securing the livelihoods of farmers and their families.
■ Supporting access to the improved farming system.
■ Improving agricultural practices.
■ Developing integrated farming.
■ Empowering farm women.
Agriculture is without a doubt one of the most important industries in our country; it is the business that provides food for the populous and also contributes to money generation. Due to the critical role agriculture plays in our country, the government goes to great lengths to subsidize seeds, fertilizers, farming implements and machinery for farmers, as well as to encourage new entrepreneurs to enter the farming industry. To assist the government in its endeavor and to ensure the sustainability of agriculture in Bangladesh, BAT Bangladesh has begun multiple efforts aimed at uplifting the farming community’s livelihoods.
IFMC Training: To ensure accurate instruction regarding Integrated Farm Management Components (IFMC) to the farming community, BAT’s field management team and field technicians have received Training of Trainers (ToT) from the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE). Each year, the field management team and field technicians provide training and technical support to the enrolled farmers.
Contract Farming: In collaboration with Bengal Meat, BAT is assisting the registered farmers with cow and goat farming and securing the sale of their products.
Bondhuseba: This is a digital communication platform that allows the community to communicate with all farmers via text message. When a weather emergency occurs, they immediately notify our farmers by mobile SMS.
Women Empowerment: BAT is training the women in the farming community in mushroom production. In the offseason, they use their tobacco barn house to cultivate mushrooms.
■ Snowballing the production of vegetables, poultry, dairy, and fish in the farmer community to ensure family nutrition and economic benefits.
■ Increasing the percentage of intensive crop rotation throughout the year to ensure sustainable agriculture.
■ Women contribute financially to their families through mushroom cultivation, vegetable production, and fruit gardening, among other things.
■ Contracted farmers receive technical assistance and logistical support during the growing season.
■ Providing assistance with technological challenges and other services.
■ Adopting a digital platform for agricultural communication and information.
Results and Impact
■ 100% of the total contracted farmers received comprehensive training on sustainable agricultural practices, safe pesticide usage, farm labor practices, and IFMC compliance.
■ Ensured incremental household income from alternative sources like mushroom cultivation, cattle rearing, etc.
■ Through Bondhuseba communication, BAT ensure that all of the contracted farmers are informed in advance of any natural disasters and are able to protect their crops.
■ Through the digital communication platform Bandhuseba, 100% of farmers may quickly access all information regarding health & safety measures.
■ Overall profitability of farmers increased through sustainable agricultural methods.