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AAPI NEWS BULLETIN Accelerating Agriculture Productivity Improvement (AAPI) Volume 7

A project supported by USAID in collaboration with DAE Notes from Chief of Party, AAPI

Inside this issue:

Guti Urea in Vegetable Production Opens New Door to Better Future


Farmer’s Motivational Field Visits – an Extension Tool Used in AAPI


Market for Guti Urea Producers


Some Sales Promotion Tips for Guti Urea Producers


AAPI Events in October 2011


AAPI News Bulletin is a monthly publication of the AAPI project. Subscriptions are free. IFDC is a public international organization based in Alabama, USA. IFDC focuses on increasing and sustaining food security and agricultural productivity in developing countries. Managing Editor: Ishrat Jahan Resident Representative IFDC Bangladesh Eurasia Division and Project Coordinator, AAPI Design and Layout: Syed Afzal Hossain Data Management Unit, AAPI

In September we are finishing the Aus harvest, collating its data from our Block Surveys and Crop Cuts; we are completing the establishment of the Aman crop and striving for its targets in FDP coverage; and, we are planning for the Boro season. Added to this we are preparing our Annual Plan for Year 2 and of course writing the Quarterly Report which will represent completion of Year 1. On the 13-15 September we had a very productive staff meeting in Dhaka where all Field Monitoring Officers (FMOs), Field Coordinators, Senior Staff participated with Data Management, Administration and Accounts Staff. The meeting set the plan for the Boro season. The round table discussion at the end was attended by David Yanggen, Deputy Director, Economic Growth Office of USAID. In this seventh issue of the AAPI News Bulletin, Mr Mahmood Hussain, an AAPI Training Specialist, has prepared articles on marketing. You may assume that this applies to our Briquette Producers who are selling the Guti. But if you think about it, it also applies to the extension of our technology where the “product” is Fertilizer Deep Placement (FDP) technology and instead of potential buyers we have potential adopters, who are our farmers. Our goal is to convince the

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farmers to adopt the technology, and that’s marketing. Dr Mozammel Haque has written an article on Motivational Field Visits. These are an extension tool we use to facilitate farmer to farmer exchange by bringing potential adopters from a new location to an old location where we have a solid foundation of experienced adopters. We transport them, show them the fields and facilitate discussion. In this issue we have an article on one of our Brinjal Farmers in Bagerhat. It’s a story of less urea, higher yields. I think Mizanur says it best – “once we learn to use it (Guti urea), we can grow more food and have a better income”. That’s the AAPI goal. *** Market and Marketing Market: The term “market” may have different meanings to different people, but in marketing language, a market is the target group of present and potential customers for a product. For example, farmers are the market for agricultural inputs like seeds, fertilizers and crop protection products, etc. Farmers are the market for Guti urea and nitrogen/ phosphorus/potassium (NPK) Guti products. Marketing: Marketing means working with markets. By definition,

The views expressed in this bulletin do not necessarily reflect views of the United States Agency for International Development or the United States Government

AAPI NEWS BULLETIN AAPI News Bulletin Contact Persons: Ishrat Jahan Grahame D. Hunter Address: Dhaka Office: Road No. 62, House No. 4B, Apt-B2 Gulshan - 2, Dhaka -1212 Bangladesh Tel: 880-2-9894288 880-2-8817391 Fax: 880-2-8826109 Website: Barisal Office: “Zohora” 834 (New) Police Line Road, Barisal Tel: 0431-2176566

Volume 7 marketing is a human activity directed at satisfying the needs and wants of customers through an exchange process. In other words, marketing represents activities that direct the flow of goods and services from production to consumption. Marketing is a process through which demand of a product is identified, customers for the product are identified, the product is developed per need of the customers, advertising promotes the product and the product/ service is delivered to the customers. Through all of these activities, customer satisfaction is achieved. Marketing starts with the customer (what he wants to have) and ends with the customer (giving him what he wants).

AAPI Management: Ishrat Jahan, Project Coordinator; Grahame D. Hunter, Chief of Party; Md. Mofizul Islam, Sr. Agriculture Specialist; Dr. Shaharuk Ahmed Agriculture Specialist; Md. Mozammel Haque, Training Specialist; Mahmood Hussain, Training Specialist; Abul Hossain Mollah, Training Specialist, Dr. Md. Abdul Mazid Mia, Soil Scientist; Mainul Ahsan, Soil Scientist; Md. Nurul Islam, Market/Business Development Specialist; Ram Proshad Ghosh, Mechanical Engineer; Rubina Islam, Gender Specialist; Syed Afzal Mahmood Hossain, Senior Data Management Specialist; AFM Saleh Chowdhury, Chief Accountant; Bishnu Rup Chowdhury, Administrative and Procurement Officer

Selling and Marketing: Very often people confuse marketing and selling. Selling is only one aspect of marketing. In selling, focus is on the needs of the seller; in marketing, focus is on the needs of the customer. Marketing Mix: Marketing mix is like a good recipe. For preparation of delicious food, four main items of cooking are required to be properly mixed. These are salt, water, spices and oil. Marketing mix is the set of controllable variables and the levels that are used to influence the target market. Satisfying customer needs requires development of integrated marketing. This can be achieved by four ingredients of marketing, which are called the four Ps of marketing: product planning, pricing, physical distribution (place) and promotion. Market Development: Market development consists of a business seeking increased sales by taking its current products into new markets. This can be achieved through opening new/additional geographical markets and attracting new market segments through sales promotional activities. *** 2

Guti Urea in Vegetable Production Opens New Door to Better Future Mizanur Rahman is a smallholder farmer in Bagerhat. He is representative of hundreds of thousands of other smallholder farmers in Bangladesh. Mizanur began vegetable farming after his secondary education in 1998. The 30year-old farmer from Mashidpur village in Jatrapur union has 33 decimals [100 decimals equal 1 acre] of his own land and leases out 20 decimals more. Like many others in the southwestern district of Bangladesh, he has been living on vegetable production for the last several years. He never imagined that this work could become a turning point in his life. However, things started changing when he learned about a new product called Guti urea that helps produce more vegetables with less cost. Mizanur was impressed by the deep placement technology using Guti urea that resulted in more production of brinjals (eggplants).

Mizanur Rahman near his brinjal demo plot

Earlier this year, he met a field monitoring officer of IFDC’s AAPI project, who advised him to plant eggplants in two plots, each comprised of five decimals. He used Guti urea in one plot and granular urea in the other. All other fertilizer was applied in equal amounts in each plot – 2 kilograms (kg) of triple


Volume 7 “In my location many farmers survive on vegetable production. Looking at the results of Guti urea, other farmers will also be interested in vegetable farming with Guti urea,” Mizanur said.

superphosphate (TSP), 4 kg of muriate of potash (MOP), 2.5 kg of gypsum, 1.5 kg of zinc, 175 grams of boron and 125 kg of organic fertilizers. The purpose was to understand the differences between Guti urea and prilled urea. He applied urea twice after planting. The Guti plot required only 5 kg, while the traditional practice, granular urea plot required 12 kg.

He and his wife have one daughter, but his income has not been enough to maintain his family the way he would like. Now he thinks that using Guti urea will change his family’s future. "I am dreaming of a brick-built house soon with the earnings I will have from increased vegetable sales," said Mizanur.

After planting the eggplants in April, Mizanur applied the first dose of urea in early June and the second dose in late July. “The first time I placed three briquettes of Guti urea nine inches away from the eggplants and the second time only two briquettes in a ring method,” the farmer said. At the same time, he used prilled urea in the other plot.

Production Costs (in Taka) of Eggplants (Brinjals) from Mizanur Rahman’s Demo Plot Item

The results were already noticeable a few days after the first application of urea. The eggplants of the Guti plot were larger and stronger than those in the prilled urea plot. This was reflected in eggplant production, too. "During the initial harvest period, I got 33 kg more eggplants in the five-decimal Guti plot," the farmer said. Because it was the month of Ramadan in August, he bagged a better price from eggplant sales. “Using Guti urea results in profit from both ends – more profit and less fertilizer cost,” Mizanur said.

Guti Urea Plot 96

Prilled Urea Plot 96

Seeds Plantation

400 75

400 75














Land Preparation

Labor Total Cost

From June 9 until September 25, Mizanur harvested eggplants 18 times. In total, the eggplant production from the Guti plot was 573 kg, while it was 457 kg in the prilled urea plot. He sold eggplants to wholesale traders at rates ranging from Tk 15 to Tk 20 per kilogram. Considering the average price of each kg of eggplant at Tk 17.5, the total sum from eggplant sales stood at Tk 9,930 from the Guti plot. While the income from eggplant sales of the prilled urea plot was Tk 7,920.

Gross Margin Guti Urea Plot 573

Prilled Urea Block 457

Total Sales (Tk.)



Total Production Cost (Tk.)



Gross Margin (Tk.)



Item Total Production (Kg)


Mizanur expects to harvest about 50 kg more eggplants from the Guti plot and 30 kg from the prilled urea plot. After the eggplant harvest is over, Mizanur will plant cabbage in his field and use Guti urea in it. He has already talked to the local agriculture extension officer and the AAPI’s field monitoring officer about his next crop.

Farmer’s Motivational Field Visits – an Extension Tool Used in AAPI Motivation plays a prime role in disseminating technology. In agricultural extension we see that motivation is a mental process starting from awareness, proceeding through interest, trial and 3


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ending in adoption of a technology. In AAPI, several strategies are followed to motivate the potential adopters of Urea Deep Placement (UDP ) technology. The concept of “seeing is believing� is considered to be one of the most effective ways to motivate farmers to adopt UDP technology. Farmers’ motivational field visits are one of the important and effective strategies to do this. A motivational field visit also encourages farmers to exchange ideas from old adopters to new adopters.

Figure 2. Distribution of Women Farmers in the Motivational Field Visits by District

In order to conduct a productive motivational field visit, the AAPI field monitoring officer will select potential farmers based on criteria such as: suitable land for UDP, whether the farmers are practicing the technology and leadership qualities. Practicing farmers are considered better participants because neighboring farmers can see the results of the technology and follow their lead. The sub-assistant agriculture officer (SAAO), who works at the block level in the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), can contribute during the selection of participants.

Source: AAPI Data Management Unit

Motivational visits are arranged in a wellpresented block or demonstration site so that the farmers can clearly see the results of UDP technology. The visited sites are generally selected in the neighboring district or upazila that has similar agro-climatic and social conditions as that of the visitors. Upon arrival at the demonstration site, the visiting farmers are grouped into six subgroups (five to six women and men in each group) and each subgroup has an appointed farmer facilitator for exchange of ideas. Each subgroup is also guided by the SAAO from the area where the site visit is made.

As of August 2011, motivational field visits have been used to introduce UDP technology to 48 groups of farmers, including women farmers, across 11 districts and 34 upazilas in the AAPI area (Figures 1 and 2). The total participants were 2,424, including 506 women (21 percent). Among the districts, the number of participants was highest in Mymensingh district and lowest in Borguna district. This relates to the size of the district. The participation of women was most notable in Gopalganj district (32 percent). The reason purported for this fact is that women in Gopalganj district are considered relatively progressive. Figure 1. Distribution of Farmers in the Motivational Field Visits by District

Woman farmers visit a demonstration field at Gaffargaon Upazila

Farmers learn from one another as well as from the SAAOs, who are briefed about their role as facilitators. Each subgroup of farmers is asked to collect relevant information/data from the field.

Source: AAPI Data Management Unit 4

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AAPI NEWS BULLETIN After visiting the field, a discussion session is arranged under the chairmanship of a local farmer and subgroup leaders present their findings.

2. The number of tillers, panicles and number of grains per panicle are higher in UDP plots, translating into higher yields.

Example of Information from a Farmer’s Presentation

3. Weed infestation and pest hazards are low in UDP plots compared to prilled urea applied plots.

Item Variety Line sowing

UDP Applied Plot

Prilled Urea Applied Plot

Bridhan26, Fizer Bridhan26, Fizer Followed

Not followed

14 – 16


Weed infestation



Crop stage

Hardening and ripening

Hardening and ripening

Rain fed

Rain fed

No. of tiller per hill

Irrigation status Soil moisture status

1-2 inches stand- 1-2 inches standing water ing water

Color of leaves

Relatively more green

Relatively less green

Panicle length

Relatively longer

Relatively shorter

Grain in panicle



Growth uniformity

Almost uniform

Heterogeneous in growth

Pest attack


More than UDP plot

IPM status



Application of TSP and MOP

4. There is a scarcity of good quality seed during seed bed preparation. 5. There can be shortage of labor during transplantation. These events show farmers a convincing example of the high yields that can be obtained from UDP. The majority of farmers want to adopt the technology on their own lands and relate their observations and experiences to friends and neighbors when they return home. *** Market for Guti Urea Producers Present Market Size: The AAPI project is contributing to a rapid growth in the Guti urea market in Bangladesh. In the first year of the AAPI project, the market size of the entrepreneurs (including those who also produce NPK Guti) covers 11 districts of Bangladesh. In the Barisal region, the geographical market consists of nine districts (Bagerhat, Barguna, Barisal, Gopalganj, Jhalokati, Madaripur, Patukhali, Pirojpur and Shariatpur) and 51 upazillas with a large customer market (farmers). In the Mymensingh region, it includes two districts (Mymensingh and Sherpur) with 17 upazilas. It is estimated that 829,496 farmers in the AAPI project area are now using Guti urea.

Applied10-20 kg Applied10-20 kg per acre per acre

During the presentation session, the FMOs and SAAOs encourage visiting farmers to express their ideas or problems. The most common remarks from these group discussions are:

The total estimated area of high yielding varieties/ hybrid rice in three seasons in the Barisal region is 709,891 hectares (ha) and the Mymensingh region is 642,084 ha. The agronomic demand for Guti urea in Barisal is about 84,000 metric tons (mt), assuming per ha use of 170 kg for Boro and 112 kg for the Aus/Aman seasons. In Mymensingh the demand for Guti urea is about 91,000 mt, so the total for the two regions is 175,000 mt. In Barisal there are now 294 briquette owners and in

1. Generally farmers don’t follow line sowing in Aus and Transplanted Aman season but with the introduction of UDP technology, they have started to follow line sowing as well as using good high-yielding varieties (HYV) in Aus season. 5


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Mymensingh there are 118 briquettes owners, who are producing and selling Guti urea.

(including new market entrants) to create awareness and educate about the potential business opportunity that exists in the Guti urea market. In the case of targeting farmers, the major sales promotional activities currently being done under AAPI are:

Market Development Activities: We can see that the market size of Guti urea is quite attractive for Guti urea producers. But the market size is calculated on the agronomic demand or potential market demand. This does not translate to actual sales until it becomes an actual market demand. In fact, the market demand for a product is the total volume that would be bought by the customer group in the geographical area in the defined time period. So to increase the actual sales, the Guti urea producers have an opportunity to create demand by undertaking different market development activities.

 Motivation of farmers to use Guti urea through farmer training.  Farmer motivational meetings.  Motivational field visits to farmers.  Workshops with different stakeholders.  Product demonstration/trials and technology field days.

Current Market Development Activities: The APPI project, in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and DAE, is assisting with market development. Currently market development activities include:

Other promotional activities that target farmers include non-personal advertising to create awareness and reinforce the purchase decision, including promotional shows in rural areas, opensky shows, distribution of promotional materials to farmers and placing billboards and signboards in strategic locations.

 Opening additional geographical market areas.  Sales promotional activities in all target market areas.

In the case of promotion activities that target Guti dealers, emphasis is on workshops and personal contacts to educate and inform about the potential business opportunity in the Guti urea market.

Under AAPI, Guti urea has been introduced in a total of 68 upazilas in 11 districts. About 412 urea briquette producers have been appointed from Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) dealers, retailers and interested entrepreneurs, both male and female, for producing and selling Guti urea. Entrepreneurs have invested, on average, about Tk 28,000 of their own funds to procure Guti urea machines on a cost/share basis with the AAPI project. The entrepreneurs have participated in some market development activities; this will need to accelerate in order to achieve rapid market development.

The AAPI project engages in training of DAE staff, training of Guti urea producers on marketing and business development, motivational meetings with DAE officials to leverage resources and provide a consistent message to farmers and others on Guti urea technology and its benefits. It is important that Guti urea suppliers consider participating in promotional campaigns that will result in increased demand for Guti urea. This can be done in collaboration with AAPI and/or DAE or through the individual programs of dealers in a specific geographic area.

Sales Promotional Activities: Sales promotional activities under AAPI target both farmers and entrepreneurs who may be interested in the manufacturing and sale of Guti urea. In the case of farmers, sales promotion is a key tool in the marketing mix to build farmer demand for Guti urea. All sales promotion activities are intended to create awareness and interest among farmers to buy and use Guti urea. In the case of entrepreneurs, sales promotion targets dealers

*** Some Sales Promotion Tips for Guti Urea Producers Sales promotion is important to build farmer awareness and knowledge of Guti urea and its potential benefits. The following tips may be useful in improving farmer demand for Guti urea. 6


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Role of Guti Urea Producers

sales may be made. In the long run, this will bring more business and more profit.

Marketing effectiveness is very much dependent on communication and sales promotional activities. In this regard, 325 known Guti urea producers have very important roles. It is your business and you want to have a large customer base.

Gifts – Small gifts like umbrellas, tee-shirts and small band radios may be given to farmers buying a large quantity of Guti urea. This will encourage farmers to buy more. Agricultural Fairs – Agricultural fairs are organized by DAE every year in many upazilas. You may set up shops in these fairs to advertise your product. 

Know Your Customer: You can start by knowing your customer. What crops do they grow, what fertilizer do they use, what constraints do they face, etc.

Participation in AAPI Programs - Capitalize on AAPI activities like farmer training, motivational meetings, motivational field trips and field days to meet farmers.

Know Your Competitor: Remember a competitor is not an enemy. Competition helps grow market demand. It is important to know their strengths and weaknesses and find your competitive advantage so that you can command a profitable market share.

The AAPI project is time bound and will phase out after a certain period, but briquette owners want their businesses to be successful and permanent. For long-term sustainability of their businesses, briquette owners should start sales promotional and market development activities now.

It Pays to Advertise: The Oxford Dictionary defines advertise as “describe or draw attention to a product.” You can draw attention to your product in the following ways:


Farmer Training – Farmer training organized by briquette owners in and around their shops helps motivate farmers to use Guti urea. Some briquette owners have been able to increase sales through training activities.

AAPI Events in October 2011 In the month of October, AAPI is concentrating its activities for Aman and Boro paddy. In this month, the following activities will be carried out.

Demonstration – Most briquette owners have their own land. You can set up demonstration plots on your own land in cooperation with AAPI and DAE. This will increase customers.

 1,901 block survey  24 motivational meetings with DAE and NGO staff  24 training of DAE staff  8 stake holders workshop  4 meeting with District/Upazila seed fertilizer monitoring committee  1 policy dialogue  1 national workshop

Field Days – Wherever there is a demonstration, you can organize field days in demo plots at the time of harvesting to show farmers the benefits of Guti urea products. Leaflets – Produce and distribute low cost leaflets to promote your business and products.  Miking – Miking about the product can be made on weekly hat (market) days.  Discount/Credit Sales – You can consider pricing and sales strategies. Initially a cash discount may be offered to customers. For poor farmers, credit




Volume 7


AAPI Bulletin Vol 7 September2011(Eng)  

In this seventh issue of the AAPI News Bulletin, Mr Mahmood Hussain, an AAPI Training Specialist, has prepared articles on marketing. You ma...

AAPI Bulletin Vol 7 September2011(Eng)  

In this seventh issue of the AAPI News Bulletin, Mr Mahmood Hussain, an AAPI Training Specialist, has prepared articles on marketing. You ma...