Experts suggest equipping farmers with the next generation of advanced technologies

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Experts and stakeholders emphasized empowering and preparing the next generation of farmers with political support and equipping them with advanced technologies for the development of the agricultural sector.

They also suggested major interventions in the sector, including climate adoption, public-private partnership coordination and collaboration, farmer-friendly policy and strategy, closing academic and industry gaps, empowering women, extensive research, a value chain and a non-disruptive supply chain.

They offered the call and suggestions during a webinar titled “From Food Security to Digitization: Progress and Future of Agriculture in Bangladesh” on Tuesday.

Innovision Consulting Private Limited and Farming Future Bangladesh jointly organized the agriculture webinar as part of the Bangladesh Miracle Event – Series 02.

The Bangladesh Miracle is an integrated campaign to promote Bangladesh’s development success and its underlying foundations to global policymakers, investors, development partners and academia.

CEO of Farming Future Bangladesh, Md Arif Hossain delivered a keynote speech at the event while Strategic Advisor of Innovision Consulting Private Limited, Misha Mahjabeen moderated it.

Dr Nazrul Islam, Visiting Professor, Department of Economics, North-South University (NSU; Zaki Zaman, Country Representative, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); Nadira Khanam, Gender Equity Specialist, Cowater International – Pro Nurse Project; Subrata Kumar, Founder and CEO of Bhalo Social Enterprises and Tajwar Awal, Director of Lal Teer Seed attended the ceremony as speakers.

The webinar highlighted and discussed possible pathways for the development of the agriculture sector based on Bangladesh’s successes and challenges in agriculture over the past decades,

Highlighting consumer concerns about food and supply chain safety, Arif Hossain in the keynote called for working on import dependency for many products.

Arif Hossain also suggested that regulators make decisions based on scientific evidence.

UNIDO Country Representative Zaki Zaman described the market structure in Bangladesh as unstructured and volatile.

According to him, farmers in Bangladesh are producing without knowing the demand due to inadequate information services and supply of unsafe food is becoming a problem these days.

“Digitalisation provides better access to international markets with the right products, reduced crop damage, distribution and price tracking, among other things. It also improves productivity and leads to better transparency,” he added.

Qualifying that sustainability is important for food security, Dr. Nazrul Islam said that the food system has different dimensions while coordination is needed between the different dimensions of the food system.

Strategic village community enterprises or similar bodies are the main coordinating bodies to support the supply chain to keep the village economy functioning, he said.

“These organizations should be facilitated by local governments, health, research, extension and financial organizations,” he said.

Nadira Khanam said that even though women are participating in the labor force, there is a huge wage between male and female farmers which should be removed through interventions.

“More than 60% of women work in unpaid jobs in agriculture,” she said.

“Women farmers should have equal access to facilities, training or services as men. Women also don’t have equal access to digital hubs,” Nadira said.

Subrata Kumar pointed out that farmers do not have the opportunity to get a good idea of ​​the market because they have to depend on middlemen to market their crops.

He also suggested encouraging students or graduates of agricultural studies so that they can engage in the sector.

Tajwar Awal highlighted efforts to enable farmers to produce high-yielding varieties using less land. He also said that disseminating knowledge on crop rotation would help build the capacity of farmers.

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