BRAC AFSP is working through research for development (AR4D), technology validations, and agricultural credit and marketing services.
SeeSeeAgriculture and Food Security Program (AFSP)
The main strength of the program is partnership with the Government, International
Agriculture Research Centers IARCs, Private Companies and NGOs. AFSP began its activities in Bangladesh, and is now expanding into other partnering countries, because of a strong belief in the philosophy, “every country should have its own food and nutrition security” (Fig. 6.1). As of this writing, apart from Bangladesh, the organization has already initiated activities in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Pakistan, Haiti and Afghanistan,
Sustainable development is a key issue for any institution, as well as for a country. BRAC has established partnerships with different stakeholders to ensure the following:
Implementing different projects
Collaborating with partners
Ensuring more coverage both in country and out of country
Consideration of cost effectiveness and sustainability.
Partnerships with numerous local NGOs and INGOs gives BRAC an opportunity to operate cost effectively. About 120,000 employees of BRAC, for instance, can join with millions of employees of other NGOs to expand its program at reduced cost and without incurring any reduction in quality. More recently, an MoU (see next paragraph) has been signed between BRAC and African Rice, which allows BRAC to get seeds for varieties of stress-tolerant rice and an advanced breeding line for testing validation at the seed farm run by BRAC Liberia. African Rice provides BRAC Liberia with a rice variety that is tolerant of iron. Similarly, NaCRRI of Uganda provides vines of bio-fortified Orange Flesh Sweet Potato (OFSP), which contains high beta carotene, a precursor of vitamin “A”, for seed multiplication and dissemination to small farmers through the BRAC technology delivery model. The
Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI)
SeeSeeBangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI)
has developed stress-tolerant (flash flood, submergence, drought, salinity) rice varieties that have been disseminated to farmers through BRAC Bangladesh.
BRAC, through direct delivery, seeks partnership with donors belonging to international communities. Donors usually respond to calls for proposals. Then, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or Letter of Agreement (LoA) is signed among partners through discussion of achieving a common goal. For instance, BRAC has an MoU with CIMMYT/Africa Rice/AVRDC. This organization also has some local partners, such as local NGOs, private sectors (PS), and corporate partners, to act as sharing parents of hybrid maize/rice/vegetables for validation and development at the BRAC seed farm.
Farmers' needs, preference, market value, nutritional value, food security and BRAC strategies are the main issues in prioritizing which crops need to be improved.
In Bangladesh, BRAC initiated a facility called Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D
SeeSeeAgricultural Research for Development (AR4D)
, with two research centres, one for rice and vegetables in Gazipur and one for maize in Sherpur, Bogra. Other initiatives include a one-plant tissue culture lab for potato, banana, and ornamental plants, one soil testing lab, nine seed production farms, two seed processing centres for rice, vegetables and maize, and eight seed storage facilities with a capacity of 2400 MT. BRAC’s experience expanded overseas to countries which include Uganda, Liberia, Sierra Leone and South Sudan, establishing seed production farms and collective demonstration farms (CDF). Moreover, BRAC has established a one-plant tissue culture lab and a seed processing centre on a farm in Nakaseke, BRAC Uganda. BRAC has created linkages with different National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS)
SeeSeeNational Agricultural Research Systems (NARS)
and Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
SeeSeeConsultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
organisations, and made partnership collaborations for R4D, technology validation and dissemination and agricultural credit and marketing. Such linkages have been established with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI, Philippines), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CYMMIT, Mexico), the International Potato Center (CIP), the Asian Vegetables Research and Development Center (AVRDC, Taiwan), AfricaRice, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the National Crop Resources and Research Institutes (NaCRRI) in Uganda, the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) in Liberia, the Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI) in Sierra Leone etc. BRAC's Agriculture program is also working with a number of multinational seed companies, having established agreements for sharing technology and marketing agro-products. At present, partnerships with multinational seed companies include: the Yuan Long Ping High Tech Agriculture Co. Ltd. (China), the Pacific Seed Company (Australia), the Mahyco Seed Company (India), the Druk Seed Company (Bhutan), and the Seminis Vegetable Seed Company (India) Ltd. (India).
BRAC Agricultural Credit activities
intervene through customized credit with improved agricultural technology and knowledge support. As a result, it is strongly collaborating with the public sector and donor bodies. BRAC began seed production in 1996 with the assistance of the Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC), under a project of the Ministry of Agriculture for rice, maize, potato, and vegetables carried out at its own farms in different Agro Ecological Zones (AEZ), and also through contact with farmers and markets through dealers.
While BRAC expands to other countries, it studies different scenarios which are prevalent in different countries on agricultural practice, seed systems, crop varieties, input situations, technology dissemination, extension services, agricultural tools, capacity building training for farmers, post-harvest loss, storing facilities, commodity marketing, private and public sector engagement in agriculture, etc. It also takes lessons concerning the major constraints for technology adoption which are listed below: low productivity, lack of stress-tolerant varieties (maize, rice, vegetables, cassava), seed admixture, soil acidity (upland), iron toxicity (lowland), imbalanced fertilizers and poor fertilizer management, water logging (maize), drought (rain fed rice), knowledge gaps (lack of modern cultivation practices, diseases, pests) and credit for inputs. The BRAC international agricultural program has also identified certain issues, for example, seed quality, seed storage at branch levels, preservation of vaccines due to poor electricity supply and inadequate transportation facilities, storage, low quality chicks, feed, and climate change, especially drought, excess rain which causes flash floods, soil erosion, water logging, poor growth of maize and vegetables, lack of communication, poor infrastructure, isolated transport facilities and inadequate market analysis, market system development and linkage with markets.
Based on these experiences, BRAC has been implementing relevant projects in those partnering countries to improve the above-mentioned agricultural constraints through the
GPFA (Global Poverty Fund Association Project
SeeSeeGlobal Poverty Fund Association Project (GPFA)
funded by DFID) in Tanzania, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the JSDF (Japan Social Development Fund Project) through the World Bank in Uganda, LEAD (Livelihood Enhancement through Agricultural Development, funded by the UK Goverment) in Tanzania, the Agriculture & Livestock Extension Program funded by the Omidyar Foundation, the Agriculture & Livestock Extension Program funded by the Mastercard Foundation, the Livestock Project funded by EC in Liberia, the Demonstration Farm projects funded by OXFAM Novib and TUP (Targeting the Ultra Poor) in South Sudan, and Seed Production funded by AGRA in Liberia and Sierra Leone, among others. BRAC International has been improving agricultural situations through these programmes in such areas as availability of quality seed for farmers through the establishment of BRAC seed farms and seed processing centres, establishing tissue culture labs, seed distribution, identifying suitable crops and varieties, other input supports, organizing capacity building training for farmers, distributing agricultural tools, management practice, best suitable cropping patterns, technology dissemination through demonstration, meetings, farmer field days (FFD), providing extension services, post-harvest management training and linking farmers with markets.