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AAPI NEWS BULLETIN Accelerating Agriculture Productivity Improvement (AAPI) Volume 10

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

Inside this issue:

Farming/Cropping Systems of Model Village Bakshi


UDP Technology Provides New Hope for CommunityBased Seed Enterprise


SWOT Analysis - A Tool for Good Business Management


AWD Technology


AAPI Events in January 2012 9 Fertilizer Recommendation 9 Software

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

Our Aman harvest is over and we are analyzing all the data. We will report the results in the next bulletin but we expect a good outcome. We are now at full speed as we roll out the scaleup. A big effort has gone into the sale of fertilizer briquette machines in the new upazilas to ensure supply of Guti urea to meet the expected demand. All staff members, particularly the field monitoring officers, the project engineer and his field mechanics, as well as the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) Sub Assistant Agriculture Officers (SAAOs) and Upazila Agriculture Officers (UAOs), have done a sterling job in getting 135 machines installed and ready for Boro season. Coupled with the machines already installed in the first year of APPI (255) and those installed under the Improved Livelihood for SidrAffected Rice Farmers (ILSAFARM) project (206), we now have 596 machines running as small businesses and supplying a growing market. In this issue, we have articles written by Rubina Islam and Dr. Badirul Islam on our first Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) in a village (Bakshi village). We plan to use this as a model for a whole village approach for adoption of our technologies, particularly, Fertilizer Deep Placement (FDP), irrigation [Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD)], seed production and vegetable marketing. We also

December 31, 2011

have a case study written by Dr. Mozammel Haque that examines a successful rice seed business managed by Sree Ranjan Chandra Das, an entrepreneur whose example could be copied in villages like Bakshi. For the entrepreneur, Nurul Islam has an article on the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis. He says that a successful business must take the necessary steps to develop strengths, minimize weaknesses, capitalize on opportunities and prepare for and mitigate threats in order to prepare a proper and profitable business strategy. Since Boro is an irrigated crop, Fazlul Hoque has prepared an article on Alternate Wetting and Drying. This is the first season when we are seriously applying the technology in demonstrations. With the need to conserve water and the energy used to pump it, this technology is well connected to our technology on seed and fertilizer for lower cost with higher return farming, linked with resource conservation. *** A PRA Exercise in a Model Village – Bakshi Village Overview AAPI has adopted a model village concept to accelerate improvements

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

Volume 10

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 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, Agriculture Specialists; Md. Mozammel Haque, Abul Hossain Mollah, Mahmood Hussain, 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 Wahab, Agriculture 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

in farm production systems. This takes a whole village approach when addressing fertilizer deep placement, crop diversification (based upon comparative advantage factors), improved access to quality seeds, water management and post-harvest/ value-chain improvement. The small village of Bakshi within the Shaikmatia union of the Nazirpur upazila under the Pirojpur district was selected as AAPI’s first model village. It is 11 kilometers (km) from the upazila headquarters and 20 km from the Pirojpur district headquarters. It is surrounded by the Baleshwar River and four canals. Nine hundred and eighty three people (47 percent female) live in 230 households in the village. Ninety-nine percent of the people are Hindu. To better understand the model village farmers and their aspirations and to determine the interventions that might be possible through AAPI, a PRA was conducted in the village from October 30 to November 1. The findings and recommendations of this appraisal have been prepared as a project report. The PRA started with orientation of participants and village mobilization followed by village transect walks. This enabled the team to learn about the environmental, economic and social resources of the village. Two groups of both men and women were organized. One group focused more on vegetation, soils, terrain, land use and the other group focused on agriculture and livestock, infrastructure and services. The participants described the landscape features and what was of importance to them. Following the walks, the groups shared the information with one another and constructed the transect diagram together. Other PRA exercises included physical mapping, 2

social mapping, historic timelines, seasonal calendars, production flow charts and income streams. Venn diagrams were used to help the PRA team determine the villagers’ perceptions relating to the importance of local institutions and services. The appraisal showed that the economic conditions in the village are very poor; the village farmers have no electricity in their homes. By dividing the farmers into five categories (landless, marginal, small, medium and large), the PRA found that 90 percent of the farmers are in the lowest three categories. There are no government health or education services, but a private foundation, Rajlaxmi, is providing a kindergarten and school and health services on an irregular basis. The village has 94 hectares of cultivated land. Eighty-nine percent of the farmers follow traditional agriculture systems. Irrigation water is available from eight “low lift pumps,” which extract water from the river and canals. The village has one small daily market, one fertilizer briquette shop, one mosque, three temples, one Integrated Pest Management (IPM) club and two Integrated Crop Management (ICM) clubs. The main crops are rice (transplanted Aus, Aman and Boro), maize, cabbage, cauliflower, knolkhol, tomato, radish, lalshak (red amaranth), cucumber, mustard, sunflower, mungbean and grasspea. Trees (with timber value) figure prominently in the village economy. Among the major trees in the homestead plantation are mehagani, chambol and rain tree, mixed with betel nut and bamboo. Fruit-bearing trees are mainly coconut, mango, papaya, guava, gab, jambura and banana.


Volume 10 us not forget that all farmers live within a farming system.

The figure below shows the various elements of the farming system as sources of income.

By working with a whole village community, such as Bakshi, AAPI plans to apply a farming systems approach with all farmers in the village participating, including the village women. The PRA was used to assess the farming systems, crops and cropping patterns, fertilizer use, women’s access to agricultural activities, livelihood strategies and agro-ecological situation. It also helped the community to identify opportunities that would improve the lifestyles of the people and provide a basis for sustainable actions necessary to increase crop production.

Source of Farmers Income of Bakshi Village

% of village income

0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0

Source of Income

Considering the farmers’ finances and their high level of interest, land types and traditional cropping patterns, there are opportunities for village improvement by adopting AAPI technologies. By taking a whole village approach, all the elements for village improvement, within the AAPI mandate, can be brought together to magnify the impact. Seed production, water and fertilizer management, farming system development, profitable marketing facilities and additional income generation from commercial vegetable cultivation, will come together as whole village development. Such improvement will increase livelihoods in the village.

Cropping Intensity and Farming Systems of Bakshi Cereals, pulses, oil crops and vegetables are cultivated in Bakshi village. Although betel nut is a major cash crop, it is planted in homestead areas and the areas are not easily measured. The cropping intensity of the village is 250 percent, well above the national average of 186 percent. Farming systems of Bakshi village are presented in Table 1. The responses of the participants indicate that the majority of households (46 percent) are engaged in crop-homestead plantation-livestock systems, closely followed by the crop-homestead plantation (43 percent).


Table 1. Farming Systems in the Village of Bakshi Under Nazirpur Upazila

Farming/Cropping Systems of Model Village Bakshi

Farming System

A farming system includes the land, labor, inputs and capital to manage the farm, its household, non-farm and off-farm production and consumption to meet the objectives and priorities under certain physical, biological and socioeconomic conditions. A farming system is not simply a collection of crops and animals to which one can apply inputs and expect immediate results. Rather, it is a complicated interwoven mesh of soils, plants, animals, implements, workers, other inputs and environment. When tackling the issues of development, we often list the constraints, but let

Crop-homestead plantation Crop-homestead plantation – livestock Crop-homestead plantationlivestock-fishery Crop-homestead plantationfishery

Number of Farmers 95

% of Total 43







Major Crops and Cropping Patterns The cultivated area of the village is 94 hectares (ha). Thirty ha are double cropped and 64 ha are triple cropped. The main crop in the village is rice. 3


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Other important crops are pulses, maize, mustard, potato, vegetables, coconut, betel nut, guava, mango, jujube, litchi, sofeda and papaya. It was noted that earlier cropping patterns were simply

centered around the Aus and Aman rice crops: T. Aman relayed grasspea; T. Aman – mungbean; Aus or T. Aman – fallow – Aus. Currently there are eight major cropping patterns (Table 2).

Table 2. Major Cropping Patterns of Bakshi Village, Nazirpur

The major factors affecting crop production are cited in Table 3. Table 3. Factors Affecting Crop Production



Volume 10 urea instead of prilled urea. For improved cropping systems, there is a need for introduction of a short duration transplanted Aman variety such as BINA dhan 7. This will allow early establishment of vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, knol-khol, tomato and maize using Guti urea to obtain higher yields and return. Also there is need for greater extension services centering on hybrid/HYV good quality seeds, fertilizer and irrigation technology at low cost. On average, most of the farming households of the village have two to four heads of cattle. Therefore, there is a possibility of producing biogas for fuel and the byproduct bio-slurry should be used as organic manure for sustainable crop yields and better soil health. Moreover, efforts at increasing income from various farming components such as livestock, fisheries and homestead horticulture should be organized and expanded.

Production Systems Generally, it is family labor that is used in the production systems, but fertilizers and crop protection products must be purchased from the local markets – Sreeram Kathi and Shaikmatia bazaar. Prices are high. Irresponsible use of various chemicals pollutes the environment and endangers soil organisms and other flora and fauna. Most of the farmers use their own seeds for crop production. Sometimes they buy seeds from other local markets and from neighbors, but germination is low and vigor is poor. Farmers are not managing soil fertility with their cropping patterns and they are not following recommended doses of fertilizer for crop production. As a result, yields are low. Irrigation is one of the most important inputs for crops and fruit production. Surface water irrigation is used when necessary. Men and women are involved in production. Men are involved in almost all field activities in crop production. Women are involved in most activities related to vegetable production, post-harvest activities and are almost exclusively responsible for seed preservation. Most of the farmers sell their products in the Sreeram Kathi and Kachua bazaar of Bagerhat district. Due to lack of proper marketing facilities, farmers do not get a fair price for their products. Farmers informed the PRA team they are looking for a contract growing system to ensure a better price for their products.

*** UDP Technology Provides New Hope for Community-Based Seed Enterprise Sree Ranjan Chandra Das is a member of the Chatrasia IPM Club under Muktagachha upazila in the Mymensingh district. He produced 24 metric tons (mt) of high-yielding variety (HYV) rice seed from his urea deep placement (UDP) plot during the last Boro rice season (2010-2011). His success encouraged him regarding his new communitybased seed enterprise. Ranjan Das, 35 years old, started his seed enterprise with the assistance of a Seed Industry Development project, implemented under the Ministry of Agriculture. He formerly produced only 8-10 mt of seeds during each Boro season (Figure 1), but with the launching of the AAPI project in the Muktagachha upazila, he has produced double the quantity of HYV seeds with the application of Guti urea. The seed, 60 percent BRRI Dahn 28 and 40 percent BRRI Dahn 29, is stored in a small store room at his home.

Production of Boro Rice at Bakshi Village Boro – Fallow – T. Aman is one of the main cropping patterns in Bakshi village. An analysis of costs and returns for the Boro rice production found that the total cost of cultivation was Tk. 39,425/ha, gross return and net return was Tk. 69,820/ha and Tk. 30,395/ha, respectively. The return per taka invested was 1.77, which means if a farmer invests one taka for Boro rice production then the return will be Tk. 1.77. A Village Improvement Scenario for Bakshi Village

The Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) and other seed companies are supplying about 15-20 percent of quality seeds to the farmers. The remaining 80-85 percent comes from farmers. Most of the farmers’ seed is not good quality and they have experienced problems

The PRA concluded that with support from AAPI and commitment from the farmers of Bakshi village, higher yields can be obtained using Guti 5


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in obtaining quality seed needed for profitable crop production. Quality seed is a very important input for better crop production and can increase yields by 15-20 percent. AAPI promotes the use of good quality seed, judicious application of balanced fertilizer and better water management practices. After receiving training in Boro 2010, Ranjan Das cultivated 0.50 acre of Boro rice on his own land and applied UDP technology. In addition, he rented 11-12 acres of land from his neighboring farmers and applied UDP to that plot. He has been liaising with the DAE personnel, especially with the SAAO and UAO, and has followed good crop management practices, based upon their advice. He took a loan from Karmo Sangsthan Bank (“Bank for Income Generations”), Muktagachha branch, to meet production costs and earned a net profit of Tk. 3-4 lakhs from his seed business this year.

technology, more seed is being produced by fewer farmers. The situation is of mutual benefit for Ranjan Das as a seed entrepreneur and for neighboring seed-producing farmers.

Sree Ranjan Das (left) is seen in his UDP field with the Muktagachha UAO. Source: AAPI photo archive, Chatrasia block, Muktagachha upazila, Mymensingh, October 24, 2011

Figure 1. Annual Seed Production (mt)

The farmers of this block have obtained about 20 percent higher yields with the application of UDP compared to broadcast prilled urea. Thus the farmers are getting additional income and have no problem selling their rice seed. After purchasing rice seed from the farmers, Ranjan does the necessary processing (sorting, drying, packaging, storing) and then sells good quality seed to his customers. The demand for his seeds is high in the community and he is becoming a credible seed entrepreneur through applying UDP technology to his contract farming initiative. He believes there is even demand for a scale-up of his seed business.

Source: AAPI field observation in October 2011.

At present he has a UDP-applied field with transplanted Aman high-yielding varieties (BR11, Bridhan 52) and is expecting good results. A motivational farmer field visit was arranged in this block where 55 farmers came from neighboring Fulpur upazila. During the field visit, the visiting farmers were impressed with Ranjan Das’ results and also expressed their commitment to adopt the same practices in the coming Boro season. The adoption of UDP technology through farmer-tofarmer extension is increasing within the Chatrasia block under Muktagachha upazila.

As part of his scale-up, Ranjan Das has contracted 10-12 farmers outside of his block who will produce seeds under his supervision using UDP technology in the coming Boro season. After harvesting rice, the contract farmers will sell seeds to Ranjan at a reasonable price, higher than market rate, and he will sell the seeds after necessary value addition. This has attracted the interest of other IPM clubs locally, as a model. It is expected that this community-based seed enterprise development initiative will extend beyond the local area and will emerge as a suitable livelihood improvement strategy.

In the past, there was a problem in producing good quality seed, but through the adoption of UDP 6


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The IPM Club of Chatrasia is also improving as the seed farmers become more business oriented. Moreover, the farmer club members are paying their fees regularly to the club fund. Club meetings are continuing and seed production is an important agenda item because the seed enterprise initiative is one of the club’s better income-generating activities.

dealer might have extra funds for purchasing, installing and operating a Guti urea machine, along with a small room for installing it. Enough working capital and devoted employees could be considered the strengths of the business. Weaknesses are the factors that the entrepreneur lacks in order to operate the business successfully. For example, lack of capital, unskilled labor and improper accounts would be weaknesses in the enterprise. The entrepreneur might overcome such weaknesses by taking a bank loan, providing training for the employee and maintaining proper accounts.

*** SWOT Analysis - A Tool for Good Business Management SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. SWOT analysis will help the entrepreneur to analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of his/her business in order to prepare a proper and profitable business strategy. Just as the doctor measures the temperature of the human body with the help of a thermometer, SWOT analysis can help the entrepreneur to have a clear understanding of the business environment and take necessary steps to increase the profitability of the business.

Opportunities are presented by the environment within which the organization operates. An organization should plan and execute strategies to take advantage of available opportunities that will help the business become more profitable. Subsidies provided by IFDC for Guti machines and subsidies provided by the government for prilled urea are good examples of opportunities. Threats arise when conditions in the external environment jeopardize the reliability and profitability of the business. Increases in the price of prilled urea, diesel and electricity and natural disasters like floods and cyclones are examples of threats.

These pictures below help us understand the meaning of SWOT.

Why Should Urea Briquette Businesses Apply SWOT Analysis Strength 



SWOT analysis is instrumental in strategy formulation and selection. It is a strong tool, but it can be very subjective. It is best when used as a guide, and not as a prescription. Successful businesses build on their strengths, reduce their weakness and avoid or minimize threats. They also keep a watch on their overall business environment and recognize and exploit new opportunities faster than the competitors.


Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors over which the entrepreneur has some control. Opportunities and threats are external factors over which the entrepreneur has essentially no control. Now let us look at each term in turn.

An example of a SWOT analysis for a Guti urea producer may look like as follows.

Strengths are the resources, both quantity and quality, that are needed to accomplish the organization’s mission. For instance a BCIC 7


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Strengths 1. Better quality product 2. Skilled labor 3. Good relations with buyers/farmers 4. Business experience 5. Good selling strategy 6. BCIC dealership

Weaknesses 1. Lack of capital 2. Does not maintain proper accounts 3. Lack of business experience 4. Lack of publicity 5. Owner doesn’t possess technical knowledge

Opportunities 1. Machine provided by AAPI at a subsidized price 2. Support from DAE 3. Increase in price of prilled urea made Guti urea more attractive because less urea was required for higher yields 4. Invention of applicator 5. Supporting government policy

Threats 1. Natural disaster 2. Increase in price of inputs including diesel, engine oil, electricity, etc. 3. Farmers not following recommendations (e.g., line sowing) 4. Competition from other producers

irrigated by underground water. The underground water table is continuously decreasing and the cost of rice cultivation is increasing in the country. At present rates, irrigation accounts for 25-30 percent of the cultivation costs. Description of Observation Pipe As shown in the picture, AWD requires plastic pipe or bamboo pipe to observe the water level. The pipe is 25 cm long and 7-10 cm in diameter. The upper 10 cm of the pipe remains solid and the lower 15 cm of the pipe is porous with holes for easy movement of water. The holes are 3 cm in diameter and positioned at 5 cm intervals. Pipes are easily made locally. They can be made with bamboo, plastic bottles or PVC tubing.

*** AWD Technology AWD stands for “Alternate Wetting and Drying.” It is a new, unique and promising water-saving technology. It can save up to 20-25 percent more irrigation water than traditional irrigation systems in rice fields. AWD is a control- and need-based method of irrigation in the rice crop involving close observation and monitoring of the water level inside a plastic pipe placed in the crop plot.   Rice is the major staple food in Bangladesh. Water is the major input for rice production. In rice cultivation, 10-15 centimeters (cm) of standing water are used in traditional irrigation. Traditional irrigation requires 3,000-5,000 liters (3-5 tons) of water to produce 1 kilogram (kg) of rice.

How to Set Up the Pipe in the Plot The pipe should be set up in the rice field so that the upper 10 cm of the pipe remains above the soil surface to prevent water or other materials from getting inside the pipe. The porous lower 15 cm of pipe should remain under the soil’s surface to enable free water movement into and out of the pipe according to soil water content.

In their various research results, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) have shown that 1,300-1,600 liters of water are sufficient to produce 1 kg of rice by using modern water management technology. According to IRRI and BRRI, having continuous standing water in the rice field is not a necessity for a good harvest.

Application of the AWD Irrigation Method  The rice field should be leveled before transplanting. After transplantation, there

In Bangladesh, about 4.5 million hectares of land are used for Boro cultivation, which is mainly 8


Volume 10  There will be less pressure on the underground water and less opportunities for hazards such as arsenic contamination and desertification to occur.

should be three pipes placed evenly for every one acre of land.  About 10-15 days after seedling plantation, the AWD system starts and continues for the next 40-45 days, depending on the variety of rice.

*** AAPI Events in January 2012

 During this period, when the water level in the pipe drops to 15 cm below the soil surface (when the soil is visible at the bottom of the pipe), then water is to be applied to a depth of 5 cm above the surface.

In the month of January 2012, AAPI is concentrating its activities for Boro paddy. In this month, the following activities will be carried out.

 If weeds become a problem, maintain up to 2-4 cm of standing water for up to two weeks. Sometimes weeding is needed using this AWD method. However, deep placement of Guti urea will reduce weed growth.

 972 batches of training for Boro farmers

 One week before flowering, the water level should be brought to 2.5 cm of standing water and maintained for 15 days; after 15 days, the AWD procedure can resume.

 24 trial establish

 10 training of trainers (TOT) for DAE staff  4 training for briquette producers  220 demo establish  64 motivational meetings with Boro farmers  20 motivational workshop  5 small business management training

 Irrigation is to be stopped two weeks before harvest.

 8 open sky shows  8 meeting with district and upazila seed and fertilizer monitoring committee

What Will AWD Do For You?     

 25 meeting with SAAO, DAE

Save on the cost of irrigation water. Save fuel and electricity. Enhance the production of rice. Conserve the groundwater. Increase the availability of Zn and S nutrients for rice plants.

*** Fertilizer Recommendation Software Fertilizer Recommendation Software (FRS) is an online platform developed and operated by Soil Resources Development Institute (SRDI) of Ministry of Agriculture, through which poor and marginalized farmers can receive crop and land specific recommendation on balanced fertilizer usage. FRS is currently available in 200 upazilas, and will soon be available in the 483 upazilas. Currently, farmers can access the services of the FRS through Grameen Phone Community Information Centers (CICs) and by calling 7676 Krishi Jigyasha from Banglalink number. The URL of FRS is and anyone can access it just using “srdi” both for username and password.

Why Use AWD? Using AWD will bring several benefits to farmers:  In this technology, rice fields need four to five less irrigations, and 25-30 percent less water is required than with normal flood irrigation. In addition, the irrigation cost will be minimized.  There will be a 30 percent reduction in diesel utilization (foreign currency will also be saved).



Volume 10


AAPI Bulletin Vol 10 December 2011 (English)  

AAPI Bulletin Vol 10 December 2011 (English)

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