The economy of Bangladesh is predominantly agrarian with the agriculture sector accounting for about 35% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Although the country has rich soil and well suited for farming, it remains highly vulnerable due to devastating flood, cyclones and droughts. 80% of its population (roughly 15 million households) lives in rural areas, and 75% depends on agriculture for their source of revenue. Higher agricultural productivity is essential for growth and poverty reduction in such an over populated which comprises destabilized and underprivileged people and communities. Alternatively, social forestry can be identified as a tool for bringing about ecological and socio economic improvements as well as alleviating poverty in Bangladesh. Ecological changes refer to a greater number of trees, more production of bio-mass and it’s beneficial to ecological effects. To facilitate farmers to overcome the obstacles in the agriculture field through promoting crop diversification, improving nutritional status and enabling them to become financially self-reliance and to bring a favorable ecological balance in the environment, BEES introduced the Agriculture development program in 1975.
Background and Purpose
After the independence, BEES started agriculture program with the objective of making farmers economically self-reliant in agriculture and to get rid of economic barrenness and later included community forestry program.
The prime objective of the program is to increase crop production and to develop and preserve the environment. By socio-economic changes, BEES ensures improvements in the living standard through the availability of agricultural crops and trees resources both for consumption & commercial sale and creates employment as well.
These objectives are achieved through providing training, transferring technology, arranging inputs, conducting demonstration, motivating, raising awareness, nursery raising and plantation, providing technical assistance, supervising and monitoring field activities etc.
Agriculture and Social Forestry Program
The agriculture and social forestry program is one of the oldest initiatives of BEES. It was started to implement after the food crisis in 1975. Since then, BEES has adopted intensive agricultural program and promotional activities to bring changes in farming practices as well as eating habits. Through research and development, BEES engaged communities in need based activities. The engagement also includes training for farmers’ and encouraging proper utilization of natural resources. This has contributed to a better environment.
The objectives of the program are:
BEES uses its demand driven approach which is coupled with effective implementation strategies allowing BEES to constantly re-design its program to be more integrated and extensive. Under this program, support for crop production, modern agro-technology transfer, homestead gardening and distribution of seedlings& saplings and financial support as loans are being ensured.
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