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AAPI NEWS BULLETIN Accelerating Agriculture Productivity Improvement (AAPI) Volume 22

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

Inside this issue:

Farmers Continue to Embrace Guti Urea for Vegetables


How Does One Motivate Farmers?


Demonstrations and Trials Begin with Farmers’ Orientation: A Farmer Led Extension Approach


The Group Approach to Extension of UDP Technology


Activity Achievements November 22 to December 26, 2012


AAPI Events in January 2013 8

AAPI News Bulletin is a monthly publication of the AAPI project.

The Aman crop is harvested. The results are still being tallied, but it would seem to be an average harvest. You will remember the rain didn’t come until June/July, and even then it was below average. It was only late in the season, around flowering time, that we received good rain. Even with this obstacle, we will get significant yield increments with urea deep placement (UDP) technology. In fact, percentage wise, the yield increments seem to be up. The preliminary weekly reports indicate that UDP coverage is 571,860 hectares (ha) during the 2012 Aman season, which is more than three times higher compared with Aman 2011.

December 31, 2012

This will be confirmed next month through block survey results. Transplantation of the Boro crop has now started and we are in a good position to achieve our AAPI scale-up targets. The farmer training, motivational meetings and motivational field visits have been intensive this month. The winter season vegetable crops are now being harvested. Last year, we saw urea savings ranged from 53 percent for potato to 36 percent for cauliflower, 25 percent for cabbage and 20 percent for tomato. Yield increments ranged from 12 percent for cabbage to 50 percent for tomato. Our

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

The DQA team of USAID discussing with SAAO of DAE on block survey data collection methodology at Trishal, Mymensingh on December 5, 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 22 final data for this year is still being collected; however, we are expecting similar or better results. This month, we hosted a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) team during a visit to review project activities in Mymensingh and Sherpur. Mr. Aniruddha Roy, Ms. Farzana Yasmeen, Mr. Marunga Manda and Ms. Tanya Jackson ran a Data Quality Assessment (DQA) across farmer trainings, block surveys, crop cuts, UDP briquette shops and model villages. Surprising to the visitors was not just the enthusiastic adoption of the technology according to our recommendations, but the experimentation that farmers are making on their own, testing the technology on other crops with good results. In fact, we see that farmers are not only grasping the benefits, but also understand the mechanisms behind the technology. When Mr. Roy and I spoke with one farmer using the technology on his plum trees, the farmer explained that his estimate on the rate of urea

application was 30 percent less than recommended for prilled urea application, and he applies the urea briquettes around the trees as taught in vegetable farmer training. He reports that the fruit is bigger and more bountiful. When we see farmers taking the initiative like this, we know our efforts are making a difference. In this newsletter, we have an article on farmers who are embracing Guti urea for crops other than rice. Also in the newsletter this month, Mr. Md. Abul Hossain Mollah, International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) Training Specialist, has written about the importance of motivational meetings in sustaining the technology from year to year. Early adopters must be reminded to continue the practice, and these meetings are an effective way to achieve that. Dr. Md. Abdul Mazid Miah writes about the orientation training for farmers selected for demonstrations and trials, and Dr. A.K.M. Farhad writes about our group approach in getting better leverage toward greater adoption of the technology.

The DQA team of USAID observing AAPI farmer training program at Bhaluka, Mymensingh on December 5, 2012. 2


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The DQA team of USAID observing AAPI crop cut at Phulpur, Mymensingh on December 6, 2012.

*** than those of the prilled urea field. “Also, it is very interesting that I applied only 65 kgs of Guti urea on 2.5 bighas, while the same land earlier required nearly 200 kgs of prilled urea,” the young farmer said, portraying the comparative picture of higher yields with less fertilizer, sitting at his retail fertilizer shop at Meherpur Sadar.

Farmers Continue to Embrace Guti Urea for Vegetables Golam Kibria knew about the benefits of Guti urea [urea briquettes], but had never used it in his field.The chance came last year when his wife, Mariam Khatun, bought a urea briquetting machine through the AAPI project and began manufacturing urea briquettes. Apart from using Guti urea in rice, he also applied it in his colocasia esculenta (kochu) field on an experimental basis, and the result was astonishing.

Kibria’s is not a unique case. Farmers in Mymensingh-Sherpur and the country’s south and south west regions [AAPI project areas] are fast adopting the technology in vegetables and various other crops, though it was initially meant for rice cultivation.

“Usually the Aus season Kochu yield is around 50 maunds [one maund equals 37 kilograms (kgs)] per bigha [33 decimals], but in the Guti urea field, it was 70-75 maunds,” said Kibria, 35, of Meherpur Sadar. “I also got a good price, selling Kochu from 2.5 bighas of land at Tk. 1.20 lakh [US$ 1,500].”

For less than two years, the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), following repeated field trials, has recommended doses of Guti urea for seven types of vegetables and crops other than rice. These include cauliflower, cabbage, tomato, brinjal [eggplant], potato, maize and banana.

The Kochu root vegetable yield and its price were over 30 percent higher from the UDP field

While AAPI recommends doses of Guti urea only for these seven vegetables and crops, farmers are 3


Volume 22 BARI should quickly come up with recommended doses of Guti urea for the vegetables and crops other than the current seven.”

using it in many other vegetables and crops like bottle gourd, teasle gourd, bitter gourd, water gourd, cucumber, beans, betel leaf, sugarcane, tobacco and others.


Farmers take no time in accepting the technology that they find is truly useful to them. That fact is found to be sharply true in this case.

How Does One Motivate Farmers? Motivating people is an art. It involves effective communication techniques. The more one knows of a community, the more she or he can reach them, develop trust, win hearts and market the products or services meant to be promoted.

“As my neighbor farmers last year found surprising yields in my Kochu field, many of them planned to use Guti urea this winter,” Kibria said. He estimates that at least 50 bighas of Kochu land will come under Guti urea coverage this year. Considering the effect of the technology, he also used it in his cauliflower and bottle gourd fields this winter, and planned to use the technology in producing quality onion seeds. Many other farmers in that locality also showed interest in using Guti urea in various other crops, he said.

AAPI’s product is Guti urea, which enhances yields and lowers costs. The UDP technology has earned widespread recognition over the last several years. Over six lakh ha of land came under Guti urea coverage in the last Boro season.

Lutfar Rahman Biswas, a middle-aged farmer at Bagharpara, Jessore, said he has been using the technology in rice cultivation for the last three years, but last Aus season, he also applied it in his teasel gourd (Kakrol) field. “The most important benefit of Guti urea use was that the size of all the gourds was similar. They were big in size, and so were in more demand,” he said, adding that the yield from the 30-decimal UDP field was 40 maunds, which is nearly 15 percent more than that of the prilled urea field of the same size. This winter, he also used Guti urea in his cabbage and potato fields, and is expecting higher yields.

Motivational meeting at Amtali, Barguna

Motivational meetings with adopting farmers have played a very important role in expanding the technology. It is also vital to the success and sustainability of the project. Such meetings allow groups of farmers to come together and reinvigorate the excitement they have for the work they do.

Like Kibria and Biswas, farmers in AAPI districts are excited about the technology in vegetable farming, most probably due to higher production of the high value crops, which earn them higher incomes.

To retain the last year’s UDP coverage, the adopting farmers (of last year) can be reminded of the benefits and encouraged to continue with the use of the technology this Boro. Here are some tips for those conducting the motivational meetings:

Expansion of the technology across the country can surely help boost the country’s vegetable production, increase farmers’ incomes and save urea costs due to reduced overall fertilizer use. However, an agriculturist of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) made a cautionary note “Farmers should be careful about doses. Also,

 Set clear goals well ahead of the meeting. Identify those you are trying to motivate and what you want them to do. 4


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 Determine the number of participants expected to attend the meeting and reserve the appropriate amount of space. In AAPI, we usually invite 50 farmers to the meeting and aim for 50 percent participation by women farmers.    We invite the adopters from the previous year and select a time which is congenial for the farmers.

allow them to assess Guti urea demand in the coming seasons.  Offer snacks at the meeting. *** Demonstrations and Trials Begin with Farmers’ Orientation: A Farmer Led Extension Approach Deep placement of urea in lowland rice fields has been widely recognized as an effective management practice for transplanted rice. UDP reduces nitrogen losses and improves nitrogen absorption by the rice plant. Deep placement of a Guti urea or a nitrogen, phosphate and potassium (NPK) briquette increases nutrient use efficiency (NUE) by 50-70 percent, increases gain yield by 15-25 percent and requires 30-40 percent less applied nutrients. Deep placement of these plant nutrients not only increases yields, but also reduces the fertilizer lost in water runoff and through gaseous emission into the atmosphere.

 Choose a convenient location within easy access for the participants. In AAPI, the meeting place is selected according to farmers’ choice, usually the local school or the grounds of a farmer’s house.  Start the meeting with introductions. As an ice -breaker, ask each one to give one fact about themselves that the others might not know. The idea is to create a congenial atmosphere. It is much easier to be motivated about your work if you enjoy the company of other people around you.

With a rigorous goal to promote and disseminate the technology, AAPI is conducting demonstrations to show the performance and benefits of UDP over the broadcast application of prilled urea in farmers’ fields. Simultaneously, AAPI is conducting research trials in farmers’ fields to address the specific technical problems identified by farmers and extension workers. These trials are established to assess NPK formulas under closely managed field conditions and to develop improved fertilizer deep placement (FDP) technology. To ensure that demonstrations and trials are established precisely, the project takes great care in selecting and training the cooperative farmers.

 Remind everyone of the purpose of the work. Reiterate the impacts.  Allow the participants to voice their concerns about the work, listen to them sincerely and make notes of their comments. Work together to brainstorm solutions to the problems the farmers are facing. Explain how AAPI or the local agriculture office can help address their issues and problems.  In AAPI, the focus is on adoption of UDP technology. The benefits are part of the brainstorming (i.e. less urea, fewer weeds, and higher yields).

The selected farmers must understand the meaning and purpose of the demonstrations and trials, and the benefits of engaging in these activities. They must also know the establishment method, the management practices and their responsibilities for successful implementation of the demonstration and trial plots. The farmers must understand what to do and must be well prepared to do this job. With a view toward welcoming the selected

 Discuss examples of the farmers who are successfully applying the technology. Encourage others to ask questions; stimulate discussion and clarify all the issues concerning the Guti urea.  The presence of the local urea briquette shop owners will help them advertise their shop and 5


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farmers, providing information needed to begin the work and creating a positive impression about the demonstration and trial activities, AAPI conducts orientation trainings. The training program is used to ensure that selected farmers have the basic knowledge required to perform the job satisfactorily and transmit the FDP technology to other farmers. Issues generally discussed in the training program are:

2013. A total of 97 batches have been completed, totaling 3,447 participants – 2,538 men and 909 women (more than 20 percent). Number of Participants in AAPI Demo and Trial Farmers’ Orientation Training Program by Season

 The meaning and purpose of orientation training, demonstrations and trials.  Information about the AAPI project, IFDC, USAID and the source of funding.  Establishment and management techniques for demonstrations and trials (seed collection, seedbed preparation and management, land preparation, layout, transplanting, Guti fertilizer application, pest and water management and other intercultural operations, harvesting and data collection, etc.).

Season Boro 20102011 Aus 2011

Batches 10

Male 347

Female 66

Total 413





Aman 2011





Boro 20112012 Aus 2012









Aman 2012





Boro 20122013 Total









Farmers’ feedback on the training:

 Partnership responsibility for the successful completion of the demos and trials.

 Allow the farmers to learn appropriate FDP technology methods.

Such training creates awareness and inspires the farmers to conduct the demonstrations and trials effectively as per the AAPI guidelines. Farmers freely express their views and ideas during orientation and commit to cooperate strongly for successful implementation of the demos and trails and transmit the technology to neighboring farmers. They also develop a sense of ownership of the demonstrations and trials and partnership responsibility with AAPI activities, which is one of the key purposes of the project for sustainability of FDP technology.

 They are socially honored to be a member of the IFDC family.  Help them to build their confidence to communicate with neighboring farmers and relatives about FDP.  Provide them enough opportunities to share their experiences through question and answer sessions.  Practical demonstration of FDP helps them through “learning by doing.”

To develop farmers’ capacity and confidence for disseminating FDP technology, AAPI has held farmer orientation trainings with selected framers in each season since Boro 2010-2011. It has become a dynamic way of refreshing their attitudes and the knowledge that they gained in earlier trainings.

 Open new doors to produce good seed of modern varieties in their own fields with all types of technical and financial support.  Ensure that women farmers get equal access to the new technology.

The following Table shows an account of demonstration and trial farmer orientations completed from Boro 2010-2011 to Boro 2012-

During the orientation training, AAPI experts share with them the plan and strategies of 6


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executing the demonstrations and trials and the promotional activities to support UDP technology in their respective areas. The farmers and FMOs who attended orientation training have observed that such trainings at the beginning of every season are very effective and helpful for both farmers and Field Monitoring Officers (FMOs) to ensure more precise implementation of the program.

The AAPI project has applied the group approach for the sustainability and expansion of UDP technology. Even small farmers, when organized into the groups, can develop a commercial outlook and begin to understand the benefits of professionalization. The DAE has already established a large number of groups in Bangladesh. These include Integrated Pest Management (IPM)/Integrated Crop Management (ICM) clubs, Farmer Field Schools (FFS), Common Interest Groups (CIGs), Village Based Organizations (VBOs) and irrigation scheme groups. There are over 25,000 groups in the country with as many as 1.4 million members; among them, about 30 percent are women. Each and every group has one group leader.

*** The Group Approach to Extension of UDP Technology Sustainable adoption of new technology is the principal challenge for extension agencies as well as change agents. As such, special approaches are required to arouse farmers’ desire for change and to give them the self-confidence that the adoption or utilization of a new technology is the correct decision. An extension approach is an organized and coherent combination of strategies and methods to make rural extension effective in a given area. One approach may work in a particular area, but may not be effective in a different area. Many extension systems and approaches have been adopted in the past. The farmers’ group approach is the latest approach being used in Bangladesh. It is considered to have great potential for implementation nationwide. The main rationale behind the group approach is the establishment of a simple and farmer-oriented participatory extension mechanism that will enable the limited number of government personnel and technicians to reach a large number of farmers through groups to facilitate the targeted livelihood changes.

AAPI Field Day at an IPM Club member’s plot.

The AAPI project utilizes these various types of groups for the dissemination of UDP technology in rice and vegetable production. Groups are also encouraged to buy a urea briquetting machine and produce Guti urea for their members as a business. The AAPI FMOs work side-by-side with the SubAssistant Agriculture Officers (SAAOs) of DAE when working with these groups. They always work with existing groups, identify the leaders and work through the leaders; they engage with the progressive farmers in the group, who will draw the full membership to adopt UDP technology. They also link the group with the urea briquette shops.

Farmers of an ICM Club. 7


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Through the group, AAPI can easily run farmer training, conduct motivational meetings, establish demonstrations and trials, organize open sky shows, establish linkages with Guti urea suppliers, and conduct motivational field visits. Monitoring and evaluation is also made easier, as the group can provide verifiable data on its members’ performance.

AAPI Events in January 2013 In the month of January 2013, AAPI is concentrating its activities for Boro paddy. In this month, the following activities will be carried out.  Analysis of Aman 2012 data from block survey and crop cuts.  703 batches of training for Boro rice farmers  2 batches of training for briquette producers  1 small business management training  2 local mechanic training  239 field demo establish  23 field trial establish  272 motivational meetings with old farmers  15 motivational meeting and campaign with stakeholder  19 promotional shows  18 extension staff meeting

The CIG of Muktagacha.


*** Activity Achievements November 22 to December 26, 2012

From November 22 to December 26, 2012, AAPI successfully completed activities as shown in the following Table. Indicator Boro season UDP coverage of Boro Farmer training Extension staff meeting Orientation Training Field demonstration (Total) Trials (Total) Motivational field trips Stakeholder workshops Sale of briquette machines Briquette owner training


Ha Batches No. No. No. No. Batches Batches No. Batches

Season Target

Achievement in December 2012

Season Total

% of Target

759,466 2,823 39 19 356 25 42 34 82 22

1,985 918 11 5 12 13 3 1

1,985 1,500 30 19 54 9 35 29 70 8

0% 53% 77% 100% 15% 36% 83% 85% 85% 36%

422 36 50 870

303 17 33 657

546 28 64 867

129% 78% 128% 100%

Aman crop cut Rice demonstration harvest Rice trials cut Field days Crop cut in farmers field

No. No. No. No. *** 8

AAPI News Bulletin , Vol 22, December 2012  

aapi, bangladesh, ifdc

AAPI News Bulletin , Vol 22, December 2012  

aapi, bangladesh, ifdc