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AAPI NEWS BULLETIN Accelerating Agriculture Productivity Improvement (AAPI) Volume 17

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

Inside this issue:

Guti Urea Goes Beyond the


Alternate Wetting and Drying Technology is Gaining Ground


Border of Bangladesh

Promoting Guti Urea: The 5 Role of Manufacturers and Retailers Activity Achievements June 27 to July 25 , 2012


AAPI Events in August 2012


AAPI News Bulletin is a monthly publication of the AAPI project. Subscriptions are free. IFDC is a Public International Organization (PIO) based in Alabama, USA. IFDC focuses on increasing and sustaining food security and agricultural productivity in developing countries.

While the Aus crop is still in the ground, the Aman season has started. The work of AAPI, and our farmers, small businesses and extension workers is unrelenting for 12 months per year. The stamina of our field staff often goes un-noticed but we are blessed with some of the hardest working people in the country. As mentioned last month, the Aus season suffered from lack of rain. Many farmers opted to abandon the Aus transplantation and plant an early Aman. We are seeing signs of that in some early planting and UDP coverage but as always in agriculture, rainfall in the southwest districts is low and is starting to be a cause of concern. This month we enjoyed two Award ceremonies. Those who have excelled in performance within the project were acknowledged in ceremonies hosted by the project - one in Barisal on July

July 31, 2012

9 and one in Mymensingh on July 18. The awards were given on the basis of activities during 3 crop seasons-Boro, Aus and Aman 2011 for 9 districts in Barisal and 2 districts in Mymensingh (before Scale-up). Numbers receiving awards were: Category Farmers SAAO (Sub Assistant Agriculture Officers) UAO (Upazila Agriculture Officers) Briquette Producer NGO District









9 3 3

2 2

In this edition our Senior Agriculture Specialist, Mr Mofizul Islam, has written on the globalization of UDP technology. We have a piece on the challenges and achievements on AWD and our senior training Specialist Mr Mahmood Hussain has looked at the role of Guti urea manufacturers and retailers in sustaining a supply chain to the farm gate. ***

Managing Editor: Ishrat Jahan Resident Representative IFDC Bangladesh Eurasia Division and Project Coordinator, AAPI Design and Layout: Syed Afzal Hossain Data Management Unit, AAPI

AAPI Award giving ceremony at Barisal, 2012

AAPI Award giving ceremony at Mymensingh, 2012

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 Jessore Office: 1351 Police Line Road Talikhola, Puraton Kasba Jessore Tel: 0421-60986 AAPI Management: Ishrat Jahan, Project Coordinator; Grahame D. Hunter, Chief of Party; Md. Mofizul Islam, Sr. Agriculture Specialist; Dr. Shaharuk Ahmed, Md. Fozlul Hoque, Md. Iqbal Hossain, Dr. Badirul Islam, Agriculture Specialists; Md. Shamsul Alam, Abul Hossain Mollah, Mahmood Hussain, Dr. AKM Farhad Training Specialists; Dr. Md. Abdul Mazid Mia, Mainul Ahsan, Soil Scientists; Md. Nurul Islam, Market/Business Development Specialist; Ram Proshad Ghosh, Mechanical Engineer; Dr. Abdul Wohab, Agriculture Engineer; Rubina Islam, Gender Specialist; Syed Afzal Mahmood Hossain, Senior Data Management Specialist; Farin Islam, M&E Specialist; AFM Saleh Chowdhury, Chief Accountant; Bishnu Rup Chowdhury, Administrative and Procurement Officer

Volume 17 Guti Urea Goes Beyond the Border of Bangladesh UDP technology, popularly known as Guti urea in Bangladesh, is going global after its huge successes in accelerating rice productivity in Bangladesh. Indian industry giant, TATA, in collaboration with IFDC is promoting the cost-effective and ecofriendly technology in the Indian state of West Bengal. Dr Mandhata Singh of TATA informed IFDC Bangladesh that TATA Chemicals will conduct 1,500 Guti urea demonstrations in farmers’ fields in Hoogly and Burdwan of West Bengal during Aman paddy season this year. This comes after the farmers there achieved 30 percent yield increase despite using 20 lower use of urea following UDP method. TATA has planned selling urea briquettes among the farmers as a sign of bottom up demand in Hooghly and Burdawan districts. Demonstration of the technology will be expanded to all other paddy-growing districts of West Bengal. Meanwhile, IFDC Bangladesh has exported a urea briquette machine, which was not available in India. Tata Chemicals also requested IFDC to provide it with briquette machines from Bangladesh. Scientists of IFDC Bangladesh also trained some officials of TATA on proper application of urea briquettes. IFDC Bangladesh also exported to TATA four applicators developed under AAPI Project for research purposes. TATA Chemicals acknowledged IFDC’s contribution in introducing the technology in West Bengal. An eight-member delegation of Bangladesh recently visited India. 2

The team members included officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Soil Resources Development Institute, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council, Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh Fertilizer Association, Katalyst and IFDC. They learned that TATA Chemical engineers have reached near final stage of developing an improved version of power-driven applicator of urea briquettes. Its funding came from IFDC through its Virtual Fertilizer Research Center (VFRC). The study team visited TATA-CAT (Research and Development) Center in Aligorh. TATA there employed highly-skilled scientists for testing soil samples, updating and developing new mixed fertilizer of TATA brand for paddy, wheat, potato and sugarcane. Indian government approved newlydeveloped mixed fertilizer. In the meantime, TATA has started a paddy brand mixture fertilizer with NPKBoZn. At least 65,000 of tons of new mixed fertilizers were sold in TATA-assigned thirty districts. New fertilizer was gaining popularity among the farmers, making it a bright example of corporate responsibility of a national organization for India’s agricultural development. Guti urea is spreading not only in India, but it is gradually moving to many African countries. A 30 member’s team from different African countries (Togo, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Niger, Madagascar, Senegal, Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya) visited Bangladesh in four batches between 2008 and 2010 to see the process and progress of UDP technology in Bangladesh. They were very pleased to see the progress of UDP


Volume 17 The combined application of Guti and AWD is new, but extraordinary results were achieved with the combined technologies during the last Boro season. Goura was very pleased with the results when he used both of the technologies in his paddy field during the last Boro season.

technology in Bangladesh. The team members from most of the countries recommended adoption of Guti urea technology since the experience in Bangladesh had shown that use of UDP is increasing yield 15-22 percent, while at the same time decreasing the amount of urea by about 35 %. One of the team members Dr Sezda Zacharie, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Bagré Development Authority, Mali commented that “this technology will be suitable for any African country, which grows rice as this will provide us more food at less cost, an important issue for many country in the agriculture sector.” After these visits IFDC Bangladesh exported 40 urea briquette machines in these countries. IFDC Bangladesh professionals also educated the African scientists, agronomists, mechanics and farmers practically on the use and maintenance of urea briquette machines though practical training in the respective countries.

Farmers using AWD technology in their paddy field

*** IFDC’s consistent efforts have helped expand Guti urea on more than 800,000 hectares (ha) of land, and about 2.8 million farmers now use the technology. Rice yields have been increased at least 15 percent while using 25 percent less urea.

Alternate Wetting and Drying Technology is Gaining Ground Goura Chandra of Raghunathpur village of Gopalganj Sadar was first introduced to Guti urea technology four years ago and was well aware of the benefits of Guti urea in rice cultivation, but was not familiar with the Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) technology. In addition to Guti urea, AWD is a proven technology that saves underground water, reduces irrigation costs and increases yields. In addition, there are less pests and insects in the AWD and Guti plots.

“In the Guti plot, the yield was 27 maunds, while in the AWD-Guti urea plot, the yield was 30 maunds,” said 32-year-old Goura about the enhanced yield in Gopalganj. On the same amount of land of 32.5 decimals, the yield of a hybrid variety was only 23-24 maunds. Goura applied Guti urea seven days after planting of the seedlings on both the plots. After two days, Goura planted three pipes on one plot. The pipes were 12 inches long and half of each pipe was perforated. The perforated part was put below the surface soil to check the presence of water in the field.

With the assistance of AAPI and Bangladesh’s Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Goura prepared two demonstration plots – one of Guti urea only and the other of AWD plus Guti urea. In its mission to accelerate productivity, cut production costs and save the environment, AAPI helped the farmers prepare 29 demonstration plots of AWD plus Guti in 28 upazilas of the Jessore and Mymensingh regions during the last Boro season.

As usual, for the first 25 days after transplanting seedlings, the pump owner flooded the field by irrigating every three days. However, Goura made an arrangement with the pump owner that he 3


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would irrigate the AWD plot only when the farmer demands.

This also prompts the farmers to flood the paddy field all the time.

“I started observing the water level in the AWD plot through the pipes twice a day – in the morning and afternoon. I found that the water level reaches the last point of the pipe every six days. So, I asked the pump owner to irrigate that plot every six days,” Goura said. The pump owner agreed because he too would make more profit if he irrigated less. Irrigating following AWD stopped before the pinnacle stage. On instructions from Goura, the pump owner started fully flooding the AWD-Guti plot just before the pinnacle stage of paddy. In between the first 25 days and the pinnacle stage, the pump owner irrigated the field six times.

Pump Owners’ Control In the current irrigation arrangements in Bangladesh, the pump owners usually decide how irrigation should be done. In most cases, farmers who get irrigation services, charge 25 percent of the yield. In some other areas, farmers pay a fixed amount for a season. For example, Goura Chandra has to pay the pump owner Tk 2,000 to get irrigation facilities for 33 decimals of land. The amount may vary in various regions. Goura said that even though the pump owner made more profit by providing less water in a Guti-AWD plot, he did not charge less than Tk 2000.

“Due to balanced irrigation and Guti urea, paddy plants were very healthy and there were more tiller hills,” Goura said. He said if the paddy field is flooded with water all the time, paddy plants grow taller and fall after pinnacle causing yield loss.

Solutions Wide-Scale Demonstrations Farmers said that since AWD-Guti demonstrations have proved to be successful, such demonstrations could be arranged on a larger scale. During the crop cut, the DAE and AAPI should arrange field days so that farmers can see good results and learn of the AWD-Guti combined use.

Ali Ashraf, 27, another farmer who used Guti and AWD at his field in Tungipara of Gopalganj, said he found on average 142 paddies in each sheaf of the Guti-AWD plot, and there were 130 paddies in a sheaf of the Guti plot. Ashraf, who has his own pump, irrigated the Guti plot 14 times during the whole Boro season, but only nine times in the Guti -AWD plot. In 33 decimals of land, less irrigation means saving diesel fuel and huge quantities of water. Use of Guti and AWD accelerates productivity, reduces cost and saves the most important resource – scarce underground water.

Farmers’ Hands-on Training Soroj Kanti Biswas, upazila chairman and a farmer at Raghunathpur in Gopalganj, said if the farmers are initially provided with the pipes required and authorities provide practical training to the farmers, AWD could be quickly expanded. “As representatives of the people, we can encourage the farmers once we are provided some sort of orientation,” Soroj said.

Challenges Farmers’ Perception

Pump Owners’ Orientation Numerous interviews with the farmers reveal that they have a traditional perception that the paddy field must be flooded with water all the time for good yields. In many places, pumps fail to extract water during dry season causing a sense of insecurity among farmers over adequate water.

Authorities should provide orientation to the scheme managers on AWD and its benefits, according to the local farmers. They think if the pump owners learn of the technology, they can convince most of the farmers to use it. If 4


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everything goes well, the pump owners can also be convinced to charge less for AWD than what they charge now when traditional irrigation is used.

new ones. This is how an entire market – or a specific product – can be successfully promoted. Now, let us move to the issue of Guti urea, a urea deep placement (UDP) technology beneficial to farmers, the ecosystem, the average citizen and the nation as a whole. In the last several years, IFDC, through its projects, Improved Livelihood for Sidr Affected Rice Farmers (ILSAFARM) and AAPI, has supplied 910 briquette machines to small entrepreneurs. Among them, 769 are men and 141 are women. The machines were sold to them at a 75 percent discount in price in 124 upazilas of 22 districts. Of these, 20 districts are under the USAID Feed the Future (FtF) program developed by the US government in the south and southwestern districts and another two districts in the northeastern region of Bangladesh.

An agricultural economist said legal interventions might be required to the existing irrigation scheme mechanism. For example, if there is a rule that the pump owners will charge according to the water they supply, automatically the technology would be popular to the farmers who would like to reduce irrigation costs. Massive Campaign Because underground water depletion is a serious concern in the north, the government can conduct a massive campaign through media asking the farmers to use AWD to save underground water and thus maintain ecological balance. The campaign may also include how farmers and the nation as a whole can save foreign currency by using less imported diesel fuel. In addition, increased productivity of rice means less imported food.

The objectives of supplying the briquette machines to rural entrepreneurs are two-fold: (i) ensuring the supply of Guti urea to meet the demand of farmers; and (ii) developing small entrepreneurs in rural areas and generating employment. Out of the 910 briquette machine owners, 373 are dealers of Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC), 275 are registered fertilizer retailers and 262 are neither BCIC dealers nor registered retailers.

While there are challenges and ways to expand the technology, the farmers who have already used AWD and Guti urea are pleased with their results. Ali Ashraf said, “I will use Guti urea from now on. Next Boro season, I will use AWD in one acre of my Boro field, because I know what this technology can do.” *** Promoting Guti Urea: The Role of Manufacturers and Retailers Let us begin with the example of Lux, a famous brand of soap known and used globally. Every day, you can turn on your television and see mindblowing advertisements with lavish sets and expensive models. This is a common, yet powerful product-marketing tool designed to remind consumers that their favorite products are the best, and that they are available to serve them. This aggressive marketing not only helps sustain these products’ current customers, but also brings in

An entrepreneur of Guti urea

In addition to these machine owners, there are a large number of registered fertilizer retailers who act as sub-dealers or agents of the BCIC dealers. In each union of the country, there are nine fertilizer retailers. Considering the 1,112 unions in FtF and 208 unions in Mymensingh and Sherpur districts covered by AAPI, there should be 11,880 5


Volume 17 purchased UDP briquette machines and are doing well in this business compared with other briquette producers. Some retailers maintain stock of Guti urea in their shops to meet the farmers’ seasonal demand. Some briquette manufacturers also have appointed a few retailers to sell Guti urea in the rural areas. But the majority of retailers is not involved at all in the sale of Guti urea, though they maintain all other types of fertilizers and could be very powerful agents in promoting the UDP technology. In order to involve these retailers in Guti urea business from the current T Aman season, AAPI began organizing upazila-based workshops for retailers on the technology.

retailers in operation. However, in reality, there are only estimated 6,200 fertilizer retailers in the 22 AAPI districts. Their role is crucial in supplying fertilizers, including Guti urea, to farmers. But unfortunately, most of the retailers are not involved in the sales of Guti urea. The Role of Briquette Machine Owners IFDC has trained machine owners to assist them in developing skills as Guti producers, promoters and businesspeople. To achieve the training objectives, the briquette machine owners are expected to produce adequate amounts of Guti urea and supply the fertilizer to the consumers, as farmer demand requires. This is a crucial aspect of their business. As business people, they are additionally expected to assess demand of their products in their marketing territories and to also create new demand of their products.

The Role of Briquette Manufacturers and Retailers Both briquette manufacturers and the retailers who sell the briquettes have the capabilities to initiate several promotional activities suitable for their areas, utilizing their own resources. However, on the basis of experience in the AAPI project areas, we suggest specific promotional actions that include:

Unfortunately, entrepreneurs don’t engage in adequate sales promotion activities, which should have otherwise been a high priority, utilizing advertisement of their products on a regular basis. These entrepreneurs should not simply depend on the Department of Agriculture Extension’s field officials or others to motivate the farmers in the use of Guti urea. UDP briquette machine owners must accelerate promotional activities in order to develop their businesses, and make these efforts sustainable so that the technology remains widely adopted and continues to expand once the AAPI project comes to a close. Another emerging issue is the fact that many UDP briquette producers do not maintain their machines properly, which can create permanent damage to the machines. They must remember that these machines are highly valuable assets that can help increase their livelihoods; it is suggested that they should care for their machines as they would care for their children. The Role of Retailers


Organize several farmers’ trainings at the beginning of each cropping season to motivate them to use the Guti technology.


Set up demonstration plots comparing Guti and prilled urea on their own land to showcase the benefits of Guti urea to the farmers.


Organize farmers’ field days during harvest.


Make Guti urea available in the weekly marketplaces.


Prepare simple brochures on Guti technology in Bangla for distribution among the farmers.


Distribute IFDC-supplied brochures to the farmers.

 Supply low-cost items such as umbrellas, Tshirts and caps as a part of business development and promotion.

At the moment, fertilizer retailers are not very involved in Guti urea sales; rather, theyact as local agents of BCIC dealers in the sales of different types of fertilizers. However, some retailers have 6


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 Provide discounts to: (a) the first 10 farmers who buy Guti urea during the season; (b) the 10 farmers who make the highest purchase; and (c) 10 farmers who set up their own demonstration plots for publicity.

AAPI Events in August 2012

 Decorate shops with Guti urea signboards, festoons, calendars by briquette machine owners, etc.

                

In the month of August 2012, AAPI is concentrating its activities for Aus and Aman paddy. In this month, the following activities will be carried out.

The adoption and aggressive use of these promotional activities are expected to dramatically increase awareness of the benefits of UDP technology, and will undoubtedly have a positive effect on Guti urea businesses and their sustainability. ***

1,085 batches of training for Aman farmers 384 demo plots establish for Aman 11 trial plots establish for Aman 6 applicator trial plots establish for Aman 11 motivational meeting and campaign 2 batches of briquette producers training Sale of 100 briquette machine 2 motivational field trips 2 small business management training 1 local mechanic training 196 motivational meeting with old farmers 11 open sky show 14 SAAO’s meeting 181 demo crop cut for Aus 12 trial crop cut for Aus 167 farmers field crop cut for Aus Continue Block Survey for Aus 2012

Activity Achievements June 27 to July 25, 2012 From June 27 to July 25, 2012, AAPI successfully completed activities as shown in the following table. Indicator


Achievement in July 2012


% of Target

Aman season UDP coverage for Aman Farmer training

ha Batches







Extension staff meeting





Orientation training





Rice field demonstration





Rice trials





Stakeholder workshops





Sale of briquette machines





Briquette producer Training





Aus season harvest Rice demonstration harvest





Crop cuts in farmers fields







Volume 17

*** 8

AAPI News Bulletin Volume17 English  

AAPI News Bulletin Volume17 English

AAPI News Bulletin Volume17 English  

AAPI News Bulletin Volume17 English