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Quarterly Newsletter, Issue 19, September 2014

Quarterly e-Newsletter Issue 19 September 2014
Our Future Work
Portrait of the quarter- Md Rezaul Haq

Rezaul spraying pesticide safe and judiciously

Reducing pesticide cost by adopting the safe and judicious use of pesticides

“Spraying pesticides correctly has reduced my exposure to chemicals and improved my health” said Md Rezaul. At the start of 2013, vegetable farmer Rezaul Haq participated in a training course, the Safe and Judicious Use of Pesticides, upon the recommendation of his fertiliser dealer Rana Biswas, and his area’s Sub-Assistant Agriculture Officer (SAAO) Abdul Hamid. The training, which was conducted by the Bangladesh Crop Protection Association in Chuadanga Sadar, Chuadanga in conjunction with Katalyst and co-facilitator GMark Consulting, was very helpful for Rezaul. He learnt about the correct way to use pesticide, like using a spraying machine and spraying the pesticide in the direction of the wind to avoid direct physical contact.

Other good pesticide spraying practices promoted at the training included wearing protective goggles to cover the eyes, a cap to shield the head, a mask that protects the nose and mouth, gloves to conceal the hands and a long-sleeved shirt and trousers to cover the arms and legs. At the end of the training Rezaul received a mask, cap, goggles, bag and poster detailing the correct way to use pesticide.

Participants were also advised to wash their hands with soap and water immediately after using pesticide, change their clothes, rinse the equipment after every use and store it where children cannot reach it.

Rezaul followed the trainer’s advice and burned the bags that held the pesticide containers, and chose a secluded spot near his field to bury the used containers in the ground.

According to Rezaul, using the spraying machine means there is less waste and his pesticide costs have therefore gone down. Before the training he sprayed pesticide five times a month; this has gone down to three, leading to cost savings of about BDT2,000 (USD26) in three months. Rezaul’s health has also improved and he does not fall ill as frequently as before, which he now realises was caused by his incorrect use of pesticide.
Rezaul says he was “given useful information at the training” and is thus happy to share information about the safe and judicious use of pesticide with his neighbouring farmers. He has already inspired three of them to buy their own spraying machine, while four others borrow his.

 Last Quarter

Mr. Ed Hawkesworth is interviewing the prawn farmers

UKaid Visits Jessore to see Katalys’t female prawn farmers’ activities

Mr. Ed Hawkesworth, Country Communications Manager from the UK Government (Department for International Development), visited Katalyst’s activities in Jessore on 16 September 2014. He was accompanied by Faroha Suhrawardy, Senior Press Officer and Farnaz Hossain, Communications Officer of British High Commission and and Katalyst staff working in the Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE)sector and Capitalisation, Communications & External Relations.

Mr. Ed Hawkesworth visited the prawn contract farming intervention which focuses on the female farmers who look after the prawn farms by actively participating in sample collection, feeding the prawns and weeding of the pond banks.

In Monirampur, Jessore, Mr. Ed Hawkesworth first met with Tapan Kumar, a prawn depot owner who briefed him about the importance of access to information, quality inputs, technical services and financial support to increase the productivity of the prawn farms. Tapan also shared that he participated in a training programme on improved cultivation technique, which was facilitated by Katalyst, through Winrock International. This helped him to become a contractor and double his annual turnover, as more farmers come to him for contract farming.

Later, Mr. Ed also visited the prawn cultivation area and spoke to a group of female prawn farmers. He was pleased to learn their activities and said, ‘It was great to see how Katalyst is making a real difference to people’s lives on the ground, with help from the UK Government. Meeting the group of feamle prawn farmers was really inspirational and it was fascinating to find out how Katalyst’s intervention had given them status and brought economic opportunities to the whole community’.

Campaigns

  • Bangladesh Crop Protection Association (BCPA) along with Katalyst will conduct a campaign on safe and judicious use of pesticide to create awareness among the farmers during October and November.
  • Katalyst will organise campaigns to promote agricultural programmes broadcast by four selected television channels at selected haats across Bogra, Mymensingh, Jessore, Barisal and Rangpur regions in October and November 2014 to encourage viewership among farming communities.
  • Katalyst will organise campaigns to promote the precision marketing of the Jigyasha agri-helpline with Banglalink and selected input companies (Ispahani and Petrochem) between October and December. The campaigns will be held across Rangpur, Comilla, Chittagong and Jessore. Farmers will be given demonstrations and information on how the agri-helpline can benefit them at harvest day events organised by the input companies, and at arranged farmer meetings.

Trainings 

  • Katalyst and the Bangladesh Crop Protection Association (BCPA) will facilitate training sessions for the farmers, trainers, retailers, fertiliser spray men, member company field staff and female counterparts to promote the safe and judicious use of pesticide in different regions of the country.
  • Katalyst will facilitate the training of call centre agents on Ispahani’s product information newly integrated in the content management software of Banglalink Krishi Jigyasha 7676 in October 2014.
  • Katalyst will assist Lal Teer Seed Limited and Metal Agro Limited to facilitate their respective training sessions for distribution channel members (local seed sellers, traders, MSVs and input sellers) from October 2014. The purpose of this training is to strengthen the knowledge of the concerned bodies about the seed distribution channels.
  • Katalyst along with SEBA Limited and Ispahani will organise training for dealers and retailers of IPM products to train them in the usage of these products and strengthen the distribution channel.
  • In November, Katalyst will organise refresher training for the TV agro programme teams and news teams of four selected TV channels which broadcast agro programmes. This will help to strengthen the learning from the previous training conducted in June 2014 by an international consultant.
  • Katalyst will assist Ispahani and GME Agro Limited on their respective SAAO training which will increase the knowledge of SAAO on bio pesticide, so that they can provide the farmers with appropriate information on the usage of bio products.
  • Katalyst and GME Agro Limited will facilitate dealers and retailers training on effective use of pheromone lure at part of alternative pest control. The training sessions will also train them up with information, education and hands-on experience on bio-technology.
  • Katalyst will facilitate training for market developers employees of input companies Petrochem and Ispahani on the of Banglalink Krishi Jigyasha 7676 in October.

Workshops 

  • Katalyst will conduct a workshop in December to present the outcome of the study on mobile financial services (MFS) to leading MFS industry players. The aim is to design a solution benefiting male and female farmers in their agro business.
  • Katalyst will conduct a workshop to create linkage between sponsors and four selected television channels broadcasting agro programmes to sensitize them on the potential of sponsoring the agro programmes on television to effectively reach rural markets.
  • In November, Katalyst will organise a workshop with television channel owners and policy makers to initiate a top-down approach to strengthen and introduce agricultural programmes and news.
  • Katalyst and DU will organise a lecture in October to highlight the importance of agricultural journalism with the aim of stimulating interest among journalism students and faculties in an agricultural journalism course currently being developed.
  • During November and December, Katalyst and Sirius Marketing Limited will conduct two separate conferences with multinational and agro input companies. Here, they will present the features and benefits of the improved television rating point’s research product and to identify the need of the market, to make necessary changes in the research product presentation.

Meetings and events 

  • Petrochem will facilitate several lead farmer meetings with the assistance of Katalyst from October. The purpose of these meetings is to inform and encourage the farmers to use the MMS service (an initiative of Katalyst and Petrochem) to find crop solutions.
  • Katalyst and Lal Teer Seed Limited will hold community meetings, farmers’ field day and pot song events with homestead and commercial farmers to create awareness about the usage of quality seed in char areas.
  • GME Agro Limited with the assistance of Katalyst will conduct a farmer’s field day and a small farmers meeting to promote biotech products among farmers.
Our Achievement
Katalyst seed mini-pack intervention won Development Assistance Committee (DAC) prize Innovation is one of the driving forces in development. But innovation alone is not enough. In order to make a real difference in addressing and solving urgent developmental challenges, scaling up is essential. This has been recognised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s prestigious Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Prize for taking development innovation to scale. Out of more than 40 entries, Katalyst’s seed mini-pack initiative has been chosen as this year’s winner. The high-profile jury, consisting of individuals with recognised leadership skills and experience in either innovation or development policy and operations, was convinced by Katalyst’s approach of facilitating systemic change that leads to scale and positive impact for poor farmers in Bangladesh.

The OECD’s DAC is a forum of the world’s major donor countries. It has played a major role in forging international development commitments including the Millenium Development Goals and the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. The DAC Prize is an initiative designed to help scalable, innovative solutions to gain broader traction in the development community and to encourage donors and other development stakeholders to increase their support. The ceremony for the 2014 DAC Prize will be held at the OECD headquarters in Paris during the DAC Senior Level Meeting on 7 October, 2014.

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