Training farmers to boost production

TO boost agricultural production and increase the income of rural farmers, the government has taken an initiative to impart training to over 10 lakh farmers – both men and women – on integrated farm management across the country. It is aimed at activating existing farmers’ organizations and setting up more such organizations, besides creating employment through establishing over 20,000 farmers’ field level schools. It will also create links among different service providing agencies, market controllers and small investment firms to bring about a new mobilization to rural agriculture.
A news report published in a national daily on Saturday said that the Planning Commission has recently approved the project at a cost of Tk 432 crore to be completed by June 2018. We understand that agriculture plays a vital role in our economy by contributing nearly 20 per cent to the GDP. Besides, the government also receives the highest amount of revenue from the sector in terms of tax, VAT, and other tariffs directly or indirectly. So, there is no denying of the fact that the new initiative will benefit rural agriculture to a large extent. As we see, the country’s dependence on agriculture is rapidly declining while attention is shifting to other service sectors. In this situation training of small and marginal farmers will surely make them more productive in terms of farming out and marketing of their produce.
The report said the government will provide Tk 108 crore to the budget from its resources while Tk 324 crore will come as project aid from the Danish government. The Department of Agriculture Extension will implement the project at 373 upazilas in 61 districts, except the three districts of CHT region. The project will enhance the capacity of male and female family members of landless, small and marginal farmers. Under the scheme some 2,000 farmers’ trainers and 1,800 divisional trainers will be given training along with providing orientation to 1,500 divisional officials to carry out inspection and monitoring of activities of the farmers’ field level schools.
More divisional officials will also get trainers’ training on operating businesses related to agricultural produce through farmers’ organisations. The performance of the project will be evaluated in different phases as the project document said. The project activities will be shared with stakeholders through publishing booklets and broadcasting and through telecasting successful technologies in the mass media.
As we see that the government move to impart training to farmers will invariably improve their production capability and marketing skills and it is a praiseworthy project. But the problem is related to proper implementation of the project and utilization of the funds without any misuse and misappropriation. Most rural based projects, as experience shows, end up in political exploitation by local ruling party members and therefore inefficiently utilize their funds.