A joint donor visit to Katalyst interventions in Greater Rangpur, Northern Bangladesh, attended by SDC and DFID, took place during 4-6 December 2011.
On the first day the team visited Mithapukur to meet with participants of the potato retailers’ and demo farmers’ training, set up by input companies as part of Katalyst’s intervention to improve proper usage of inputs and disease management within the potato sector. They then travelled on to Pirgacha upazila to meet with a poultry farmer group, upazila BMO members (traders’ associations), and government livestock officer. The group, members, and government officer discussed their experience of forming an Upazila Business Management Organisation (UZBMO), a Public Private Initiative model developed by Katalyst to link and thus provide complimentary information channels between rural farmer groups, traders’ associations, and upazila government offices.
On the second day the visitors went to see the improved jute retting intervention in Lalmonirhat, where they were shown the training materials for, as well as given a demonstration on, the improved jute ribbon retting technique promoted by Katalyst. They completed the second day with a visit to Badarganj, where they met with farmers, dealers, and retailers involved with the seed mini-packet intervention, which provides small and marginal farmers increased access to affordable quantities of high quality seed.
Finally they travelled back to Mithapukur to visit farmers and entrepreneurs involved in new forms of bamboo packaging, with the aim of reducing post-harvest losses. The team visited a farmer who now uses the baskets to transport goods to market. They also visited basket producers, where female members of the family were seen to have been directly involved in the basket making process.
The visit was attended by Dr. Derek Mueller (Head of Cooperation, SDC), Stefan Gamper (Assistant Coordinator, Employment & Income, SDC), Catherine Martin (Senior Private Sector Development Advisor, DFID), and Anirban Bhowmik (Programme Manager, Pro-Poor Growth Team, DFID).