Monday, September 14, 2015

Bangladesh: Rice farmers and other stakeholders meet to help “Feed the Future”

Bangladesh, the most densely populated country in the world with 153 million people, also has one of the highest rates of undernutrition in the world. While almost 50% of Bangladeshis work in the agriculture sector, the country faces challenges for agriculture-led growth and food security. Bangladesh is one of the countries included in President Barrack Obama’s Feed the Future, his signature global hunger and food security initiative to reduce hunger and malnutrition through agricultural development.

About 45 participants comprised of Bangladesh farmers, farmer-groups, non-government organizations, private sector, government extensionists, and research institutes attended a workshop during the inception of Feed the Future: Bangladesh Rice Value Chain project funded by the United States Agricultural and International Development. The participants planned the strategies and approaches that will lay the groundwork of the 15-month project, which will address the key constraints in the rice-based value chain in Bangladesh.

“We will revisit the project design, validate, and provide suggestions how we can most effectively implement the project,” shared Timothy Russell, project leader of Feed the Future: Bangladesh Rice Value Chain. The workshop used Participatory Impact Pathway Analysis (PIPA) as a tool for project partners to be fully involved in the project planning process, according to Dr. Russel. “In doing this, participants developed a better understanding of the project objectives and, in broader terms, the rice value chain and the aspirations of actors along the chain,” he added.

Facilitated by Martin Gummert and Reianne Quilloy from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the workshop aimed to 1) identify and analyze rice value chain issues in Bangladesh, 2) discuss opportunities to address it, 3) characterize stakeholders who could help improve the rice value chain, and illustrate their patterns of interaction, and 4) develop impact pathways to identify entry points where the project stakeholders could help.

Project stakeholders planned for next project activities that will consist of finalizing memorandum of understanding between IRRI and selected stakeholders, hub-level planning for targeted strategies, and develop an annual workplan between IRRI and its project partners.

The workshop was held in  Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council Conference Room in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 9-10 September.

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