Ongoing Projects

National Agricultural Technology Project (NATP)


National Agricultural Technology Project: Phase-1


Over the last nearly four decades, the agricultural technology system in Bangladesh has made significant contribution towards increasing cereal yields and in elevating total agricultural productivity. Rapid growth in food grain production, largely in the last decade, has led to almost food grain self-sufficiency at the national level. There exists however, huge shortfall in non-cereal crops, such as pulses, oilseeds, vegetables and fruits. The output level of pulses and oilseeds has either remained static or declined in absolute terms. On the other hand, nearly 1% of the cultivated land is going out of agriculture every year due to population growth, urbanization, housing, growth of industries and expansion of unplanned infrastructures leading to shrinkage in land resource base and consequently pushing agriculture into marginal and vulnerable areas. The agricultural technology system thus today is facing newly emerged challenges not only because of internal changes within the country but also changes in the global eco-political and trade environment. Generally speaking, the overall growth of agricultural production in Bangladesh in the recent past has slowed down as the consequence of many different reasons; like degradation of resources, ill-management of inputs, increased natural hazards, change in climate, decline in the real purchase power, input-output price and certain policy implications. All these will have long-term negative effect on the economy and livelihood of the people; which probably the country can't bear. A well thought and conspicuously designed intervention to meet the upcoming challenges is the need of the time.

Genesis of NATP:

The National Agricultural Technology Project (NATP) is a comprehensive project with focus on revitalizing the agricultural technology system and increasing agricultural productivity in Bangladesh. To reactivate agriculture, the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) is implementing the National Agricultural Technology Project (NATP) through a financial assistance (IDA Credit # 4386-BD) effective from 25 March 2008 from the World Bank and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) as co-financier. World Bank has agreed to support the long-term NATP development program over a period of 15 years in three phases. The total project cost of NATP: Phase-I is Tk. 62209 lakh; of which PA is Tk. 57391 lakh and GoB contribution Tk. 4818 lakh. The first phase of the NATP officially began in July 2007 and is scheduled to end in June 2012.

Prior to the commencement of the NATP: Phase-I on 1 July 2007, a national preparatory team worked since February 2006, under BARC's leadership with support from the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock (MoFL) and has successfully produced all background materials, prepared the development project proposals; which were approved by the GoB on 8 October 2007 and 1 March 2008(1st revision). Project expenditure for the preparatory work from the World Bank was Taka 211 lakh as loan assistance.

Objective:

The overall objective of the longer term NATP is to support GoB's strategy to improve national agricultural productivity and farm income, with particular focus on small and marginal farmers.  The development objective of the Phase-1 of the NATP is to improve effectiveness of the national agricultural technology system in Bangladesh. 

The project development objective will be achieved by increasing efficiency and effectiveness of agricultural research and extension systems, and by strengthening farmer-market linkages. More specifically, the national agricultural technology system would be enabled to support:

  • High priority, pluralistic, participatory and demand-led agricultural research;
  • Decentralized, participatory, demand-led and knowledge-based approach for agricultural extension;
  • Improved post-harvest technology and management practices for high value agriculture by promoting farmer-market linkages as part of the development of selected supply chains;
  • Agreed reforms for the agricultural research and extension systems, increased public funding for the systems and effective use of such resources;
  • Promotion of public-private partnership in research, extension and market linkages, as a part of the development of supply chains.

NATP Components:

The NATP comprises four components with the following budgetary allocation:

Agricultural Research Support: The primary objective of the research component is to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the national agricultural research system (NARS). The component would have national coverage. The project would finance activities related to (i) Sponsored Public Goods Research (SPGR) (ii) Competitive Grants Program (CGP) and (iii) Enhancement of Research Institutional Efficiency (ERIE) of the NARS. Major research part i.e activities under SPGR will be implemented by PIU-BARC. PIU-BARC administered medium and long-term (3-4 years) SPGR research support is being extended to all ARIs and public universities for generation of new, basic information required by the farming community. In addition, special studies on issues of emergence and high demand will also be funded under the program. The CGP part will be implemented by the Krishi Gobeshona Foundation (KGF); an independent body established with the approval of the government in August 2007 under Company Act-1994 to administer it. CGP is for funding of location specific, pre-identified, high priority, multi-disciplinary, short to medium term, problem-solving research and development.

Agricultural Extension Support: This component aims to establish a decentralized demand-led extension service, which is knowledge-based with greater accountability and responsiveness to farmers, with particular focus on small and marginal ones. The project is to cover about 25% of the districts/Upazilas of the country during Phase-1. The project would finance activities related to (i) mobilization of common-interest groups (CIGs); (ii) decentralization of extension service; and (iii) enhancing institutional efficiency of the national institutions involved in agricultural extension namely DAE, DoF, and DLS.

Development of Supply Chains: For increasing and diversifying sources of income for small and marginal farmers, development of supply chain of selected commodities would be supported under this project on a pilot basis.  The project would finance activities related to (i) strengthening farmer-market linkages; and (ii) enhancing institutional efficiency. The supply chain development component will be implemented by the Horticulture Export Development Foundation (Hortex) in partnership with GOs, NGOs and private sector.

Project Management and Coordination:

The project is being implemented jointly by the MoA and the MoFL with MoA as the lead ministry. The activities are being implemented by seven agencies under the MoA and MoFL. The Project Coordination Unit (PCU) created for the purpose is to coordinate and facilitate project implementation in collaboration with the respective Project Implementation Units (PIUs), KGF and Hortex Foundation.

Governance of NATP:

Project Steering Committee (PSC) headed alternatively by the Secretary, MoA and MoFL, will provide overall policy guidance to the project, while Project Management Committee (PMC) headed by the Additional Secretary (PPC), MoA with Joint Secretary, MoFL as the Co-Chair will look after activities and provide directions on technical aspects. Project Coordination Unit, MoA will have the overall responsibility of coordination and successful implementation of all NATP activities. As per approved project documents, besides PCU, four PIUs at BARC, DAE, DoF, DLS and KGF, Hortex are functional and they have the responsibility of executing planned activities within the set framework and institutional obligations as laid out in the project document.

 

PIU at BARC:

Until now, we have attempted to provide an overall idea on the NATP as a whole and now, we would like to concentrate and speak exclusively on the major agricultural research component that is to be handled by the PIU of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council. PIU-BARC as the implementing arm of the BARC is responsible for execution of the project activities and their success.

Although PIU-BARC, as planned starts functioning with effect from 1st July 2007, but the Director, PIU-BARC was appointed on 14 January 2008. The first GoB fund was received by PIU-BARC on 24 June 2008 and the RPA fund from the World Bank on 22 September 2008 only.

Major Responsibilities of PIU-BARC:

As laid out in the approved project document, the activities centers around the followings:

  • Organization, funding, coordination, monitoring and impact assessment of sponsored public goods research (SPGR).
  • Academic and professional development of the scientific personnel of the NARS through higher studies (both at home and abroad) and training on priority areas.
  • Professional development and rigorous application of ICT for information, education and commutation (IEC).
  • Skill development of the NARS personnel on fiduciary matters.
  • Collaboration and partnership on R&D with national and international research agencies, extension departments, academic institutions, NGOs and related others.
  • Continuous persuasion of GoB on enhancement of budgetary allocation in agricultural research from the current level 0.22% of AGDP to 0.30% by the end of 5 years of the NATP Phase-1.

Setting of Research Priority:  The first job is to decide on the priorities of research in agriculture from the big 'wish list' of research needs. In line with the government policy, documentations in the poverty reduction strategy, targets set in the millennium development goals, national priorities and institutional mandates of the NARS institutes and above all the reality and need of the end-users; BARC with the participation of all stakeholders and feedback from the extension workers and farmers, decides on the research agenda and work out the research priorities. Based on the nature of research, resource availability, capability of the proponent and facilities available at the ARIs and public universities, these are then weighted and earmarked as long term fundamental and problem-solving research under SPGR of PIU-BARC or for short term adaptive research for funding under CGP of the Krishi Gobeshona Foundation. Priority setting is a continuous process, in order to match with the recurrent reality and changed context of the farming community.

Implementation of SPGR:

Sponsored Public Goods Research (SPGR) :  Is the prime subcomponent of research-covering nearly 70% of the fund budgeted under PIU-BARC. The SPGR is specifically designed for generation of new technology/research output which can be disseminated at the users level and in particular rewarding for the small and marginal farmers. This particular activity is meant for basic research in the priority thematic areas intended to come up with new and missing information. Public funded national agricultural research institutions and universities alone or in collaboration within themselves or in collaboration with any other government, CGIAR institutions may compete for the SPGR fund. Through 2/3 proposal invitation calls during the NATP: Phase-1, funding of  at least 50 number of priority research projects will be implemented by the end of Phase-1; of which minimum 15% of the research will be targeted to generate technology to fulfill the need of the CIG farmers.

Institutional Development Initiative:

Enhancement of Research Institutional Efficiency (ERIE) : Major objective of the ERIE, a subcomponent of research is to improve the national agricultural technology  system by increasing efficiency and effectiveness of agricultural research.

Science is developing fast and agriculture is not an exception. To undertake research, necessary logistics is a pre-requisite. As such, creation of facility and an environment congenial for intellectual pursuits is an invariable requirement. In order to keep pace with the global advancement, the scientific community needs to be updated always with the modern know-how. Under the ERIE, efforts will be made to undertake the followings :

  • Amendment of the BARC Act 1996 and its approval by the Cabinet/Parliament;
  • Institutional reform, rationalization of services and introduction of unified service rule within NARS;
  • Introduction of block grant system and timely and required allocation of fund for research by BARC
  • Promotion of logistics and enhancement of research capability of the NARS scientists through higher degree research and continued skill development program;
  • Institutionalization of the research priority setting process, regular production of Master Plans by the ARIs (5 ARIs of MoA to start with and completed by Y5 of the NATP : Phase-1);
  • Strengthening of inter-agency coordination within NARS and related others, establishment of M&E Cells at BARC and the ARIs and enhance M&E capability;
  • Reactivate the MIS/ICT units at BARC, expand within the NARS and integrate with the M&E system;
  • Capacity development of the NARS on financial management and procurement.

Human Resource Development:

Human Resource and Skill Development : Includes post-graduate and post-doctoral research fellowships in priority fields of agriculture both within the country and abroad. In the Phase-1 of the NATP, 60 local and 30 foreign Ph.Ds are being offered to the NARS scientists- besides 10 number of post-doctoral fellowship. Training programs (local and foreign) include foundation trainings for the entry and mid-level scientists, on the job training for the professionals in areas where skill-gap has been identified and in areas of emerging needs. Notable to mention are, genetic engineering, biotechnology, agro-processing and food safety, precision agriculture and agricultural research management. Further, there is provision of participation of scientists and other professionals in different workshops, seminars and trainings abroad.

Clientele Services:

BARC has many different stakeholders. Among them, the NARS institutes, the extension agencies, academic institutions, NGOs, private organizations, the development partners and above all the research information users; in particular the small and marginal farmers are of prime consideration. PIU-BARC, has all these facts in mind and aggressively integrates since beginning all the stakeholders in their activities.

In line with the mission of BARC; which is to plan, design and implement demand-driven research for generation of need-oriented information/technology and arrange dissemination; PIU-BARC is fully committed and shouldering all these responsibilities. PIU-BARC believes in collaboration and partnerships and would relentlessly practice this rewarding concept in all their programs and activities. In the process of generation of research information and to reach out the outcome; GOs, NGOs and others- all who are interested will be involved.

PIU Staffing and Management:

Director is the Chief Executive Officer of the PIU-BARC. He is a full-timer deputed to PIU from the BARC as per agreement signed with the World Bank. He is supervised by the Member-Director (P&E), BARC and is administratively responsible to the Executive Chairman, BARC. For functional matters he is to keep close liaison with the World Bank, Project Director, PCU and with other components of NATP. For smooth execution of the activities he is supported by a number of local experts and their deputies, besides a few support staff. The PIU office location and necessary others are as under:

Project Implementation Unit (PIU)-BARC
NATP: Phase-1
Administrative  Building, West Block (2nd Floor)
BARC Complex, Farmgate, New Airport Road
Dhaka-1215, Bangladesh.
Phones: (880-2)- 9130702/8150571/ 8155780/ 8142500/8150548
Fax:  (880-2) -9131170
Web: www.barc.gov.bd

 

Approved budget of the PIU-BARC (as per RDPP)

Source

(Taka in lakh)

Amount

% of Total

World Bank/IFAD  (RPA)

17003

95.14

GoB (includes in kind)

   869

4.86

Total

17872

100

 

Cost Summary/Major Expenditures of PIU-BARC

Items

(Taka in lakh)

GoB

RPA

Total

SPGR

554.16

11763.00

12317.16

Training (National & International): Higher studies & skill Dev.

  22.43

2539.66

   2562.09

Consultancy Services

  13.93

1030.30

  1044.23

Capital Items

  49.58

527.00

   576.58

Workshop/Seminar/Meeting/Conference (ERIE)

   0.00

  504.00

   504.00

Miscellaneous & Other operational Cost

   10.26

489.04

    499.30

Contribution in kind

    190.00

    0.00

   190.00

Repair, Maintenance & Renovation

   13.64

150.00

   163.64

CDVAT

   15.00

0.00

  15.00

Total

    869.00

17003.00

17872.00