As Katalyst started its pioneering initiative with Grameenphone for establishing Community Information Centres (CICs), it identified the need to develop more relevant ICT based content for farmers. Although Katalyst worked with a private content provider to source content from government agencies, it became clear that, for the content market to thrive sustainably, a framework or guideline was required on how private and public sector agencies can collaborate for better dissemination of agriculture related information.
In 2009, Katalyst partnered with Agriculture Information Services (AIS), a government mandated body responsible for agriculture information dissemination, to help them develop a policy guideline that will provide direction to such potential collaborations among public and private sectors. Under this partnership, several discussion sessions have been held till date with academia, NGOs, private sector and public agencies.
On 11 January 2011, a consultation session was organized by AIS with support from Katalyst, on the telecom operators’ role in agriculture information dissemination. All six telecom operators in Bangladesh namely Airtel Bangladesh Ltd., Banglalink, Citycell, Grameenphone, Robi and Teletalk were present at the session and expressed their thoughts on the following three broad areas:
Mr. Quazi Akhtar Hossain (Administration & Input), Additional Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture, was the chief guest and Md. Habibur Rahman, Director General, Department of Agriculture Extension and Mr. Goetz Ebbecke, General Manager, Katalyst were the special guests. Md. Nazrul Islam, Director, Agriculture Information Service (AIS) Chaired the session.