23 Outreach and Outcomes of Commercialisation Interventions
Impacts of the commercialisation interventions[edit | edit source]
The information presented in this section on outcomes and outreach of Blue Gold interventions on commercialization has been taken from various documents that documented the economic changes and significant income increases brought about by changes in cropping patterns. In particular the findings of BGP’s Technical Report 26 on Improving Productivity – Outcomes of Blue Gold Interventions (of November 2019) are discussed. This report presents the findings of a survey in 2019 gathering data from all WMGs within the 22 BGP polders, comparing the situation before Blue Gold with the situation in 2019. The information on cropping intensity from TR26 is supplemented with similar data derived from satellite images (the Satelligence Report – Earth Observation for Monitoring and Evaluation of Blue Gold Interventions of July 2019), which compared baseline data from 2011-2015 (pre-BGP) with 2017/2018 data.
This section occasionally also refers to Technical Report 25 (TR25), which presented Blue Gold outcome data similar to TR26, but collected in 2018 and among a selection of BGP polders and WMGs.
Changes in land use[edit | edit source]
The WMG survey results of Technical Report 26 (TR26) show that since the start of BGP changes in land use were significant. The report distinguishes 3 categories of land use: paddy (rice), other or non-rice crops, and fish/shrimp ghers (ponds). This schematic presentation shows the cropping seasons (kharif-1, kharif-2 and rabi) and the rice crops (aus, aman and boro) within the Bengali and the Gregorian calendars.
In Khulna, where BGP worked in 11 polders, the biggest change has been the increase in the area under fish ghers, with about 5% in the rabi season (up to 16% of the available land), and about 10% in both kharif-1 and kharif-2 (up to 43 and 40% of the land, respectively). There was also a net increase in the area of paddy because of the significant expansion of boro rice from 28 to 47% of the land, despite a decrease in aman paddy from 57 to 48%. The land used for other crops did not change much. The available land that remained fallow decreased in all seasons, with the biggest reduction in rabi (from 35 to 16%).
In Satkhira, where BGP worked in one polder (polder 2), the increase in area under fish ghers was even bigger and the area has doubled. Both in kharif-1 and kharif-2 the area used for ghers increased from about 25% to over 50%. In Satkhira the area under boro paddy also increased, i.e. from 75% to 85%. Changes in the area under other crops were minor. The land that stayed fallow reduced in all seasons, with the biggest reduction in kharif-1 (from 68 to 34%).
In Patuakhali, where BGP worked in 10 polders, fish ghers are virtually absent. There was a little net increase in the area of paddy, with a small reduction in aus paddy land in kharif-1, which was compensated with a similar increase in aman paddy in kharif-2. The most significant change in Patuakhali was the increase in area of non-rice crops in the rabi season (from 53 to 85% of the available land), which resulted in a great reduction of fallow land in this season (from 46 to 12%). In kharif-1 there was some increase in fallow land (from 75 to 81%); in kharif-2 some reduction, with less than 1% remaining fallow.
Combining all seasons in the three zones, there have been (net) increases in in the total areas with paddy, non-rice crops and fish ghers as per 2019; but the increase in area under fish ghers was greater than the combined increase in paddy and non-rice crops. It can therefore be concluded that on average the expansion of fish ghers did not mean a reduction in cropped areas. However, in 23% of the WMGs in Khulna and Satkhira (excluding polder 28/2) the increase in the area of fish ghers led to a reduction of the cropped area. This suggests that some switching is taking place from crops to fish.
The Satelligence report of 2019, comparing baseline data of 2011-2015 with data of 2017/2018, had similar findings on changes in land use, such as the reduction in fallow land.
Changes in crop types[edit | edit source]
In all zones there has been a move to more productive types of paddy as demonstrated by the 2019 WMG survey findings. In both Khulna and Satkhira most of the boro is now of the more productive hybrid type, which has replaced much of the HYV boro; in Patuakhali very little boro is grown. The only areas with a significant proportion of aus paddy, grown in kharif-1, are in Patuakhali, where there has been a sharp switch from local varieties to HYV. Aman is grown in all three zones and there was a clear trend towards HYV, although local aman is still grown in Khulna in Patuakhali despite a substantial reduction: from 72% to 47% of all aman in Khulna and from 84 to 44% of all aman in Patukhali. In Satkhira already two thirds of all aman was HYV before the start of BGP.
Although the changes in total area of non-rice crops were not big in two of the three zones (Patuakhali being the exception), there were considerable changes in crop types. In Khulna there was a sharp drop in sesame and also in mung bean (though not so much was grown there), against an increase in more profitable vegetables and watermelon, whereby the cultivation of the latter was concentrated in a few polders. In Satkhira non-rice crops were only grown on a small area, which were mainly vegetables (which slightly increased) and jute (slightly declined).
The non-rice crops are most important in the rabi season in Patuakhali, where their total area has increased from just over half of cultivable land to 85% in this season. Prior to BGP, the main non-rice crop used to be keshari, a local pulse crop, which had almost disappeared by 2019. It has been replaced by the more profitable mung bean, which now accounts for 70% of the area of non-rice crops. Relatively small but increasing areas of groundnut, watermelon and chilli were also grown, whereas areas under sesame and sweet potato declined. As compared to the 2018 survey (TR25), the area under mung bean declined somewhat in 2019, whereas the area under watermelon and groundnut increased.
Increase in cropping intensity[edit | edit source]
Cropping intensity refers to the number of crops from a same area during all seasons of one agricultural year. Within Blue Gold the land used for ghers is also included in the determination of cropping intensity. In Blue Gold polders two crops are possible per year; in some parts of the polders even three crops per year are possible where the situation allows this, e.g. on higher lands and/or near a good source for irrigation water (canals).
The findings from the 2019 WMG survey (TR26) demonstrate that on average the overall cropping intensity in the Blue Gold polders increased by 41% from 187% before BGP to 228% in 2019, but with differences over the three zones. Increases in cropping intensity were reported by 80% of the 511 WMGs and for all polders, apart from polder 28/2, where the cropping intensity fell with 34% due to land being absorbed by urban expansion of Khulna city. On average WMGs with a greater improvement in water management problem scores (i.e. a greater reduction of their problems) also have a larger increase in cropping intensity and a bigger increase in area under high yielding and high value crops. However, there is considerable variability in this correlation, so the relationship is not strong.
In Khulna the average cropping intensity has increased with 38% from 199% before BGP to 237% in 2019 (TR26). This means a further increase in cropping intensity as compared with the 2018 data (in TR25), which were collected in five of the ten Khulna polders, when the average cropping intensity in 2018 was established at 215%. In the 2019 survey 8% of the Khulna WNGs reported a fall in cropping intensity as compared to before BGP, against 14% in 2018. The Satelligence data for the Khulna polders also showed a substantial increase in average cropping intensity (i.e. crops and ghers) of 57% between baseline and 2017/2018 data, though from a lower baseline value, i.e. from 138 to 195%.
The 2019 survey (TR26) showed a considerable larger increase in cropping intensity in Satkhira with 76%, largely due to the expansion of fish ghers in polder 2. The pilot survey of 2018 (TR25) showed a more modest increase of 31% but this was based on only 6 WMGs in the central part of the polder (beel area), which were not representative for polder 2 as a whole. Data from Satelligence, covering the entire polder 2, showed a higher increase in cropping intensity than the data of the 2018 survey, i.e. of 50%, and from a lower pre-project value (130%) to a slightly higher end value in 2017 (180%). It should be noted that at the time that the Satellingence end value data were collected (2017/2018) and the TR25 data (2018), the drainage improvements in Satkhira were not yet completed.
The 2019 survey results (as in TR26) demonstrate that in the 10 BGP polders in Patuakhali the average cropping intensity increased with 31% from 173 to 205%. This end value is somewhat lower than the findings of the 2018 WMG survey (which did not cover all polders) and which showed an overall increase in cropping intensity of 34% from 181% to 214%. The Satelligence data for the Patuakhali polders showed a considerable higher increase of 71%, but from a much lower baseline value (136%) to a similar end value of 207%.
Comparing the cropping intensity data from the two WMG surveys with the data in the Satelligence report, see also table 23.1, it can be concluded that the end values in 2017/2018 of cropping intensity found in the Satellingence report are quite close to the end values of the 2018 WMG survey, especially for Satkhira and Patuakhali. The 2019 WMG survey demonstrated an increase in average cropping intensities in all zones from 2018 to 2019.
The Satellingence study also used comparison or control polders (i.e. non-Blue Gold polders). On average a similar increase in cropping intensity was found for non-BGP polders as compared to the average for the BGP polders, however, with lower values both for the baseline and for the 2017/2018 data.
Crop Yield Increase[edit | edit source]
There has been a substantial increase in the productivity of paddy as per 2019 data from TR26. Apart from a switch to more productive HYV and hybrid varieties, average yields of each type of paddy increased by between 10% to 25% per unit of land. Differences in yield levels between zones are usually small, with boro yields being slightly higher in Satkhira and HYV aman yields higher in Patuakhali. In general, a higher proportion of the WMGs reported increases in yields of boro and aman in Patuakhali than in the other two zones.
However, the picture regarding the 2019 yields of non-rice crops was more mixed, with significant falls in yields of some of the key crops, including mung bean and sesame, whereas the 2018 survey had reported significant yield increases for most non-rice crops. Farmers interviewed as part of the 2019 survey said that the unpredictable weather conditions during the growing season (excessive drought, unexpected and heavy rainfall) adversely affected non-irrigated rabi crops. This seems a valid explanation because the 2018 WMG survey (TR25) found a significant increase in mung bean yields as compared to the pre-project situation, i.e. 34% in Khulna and 39% in Patuakhali. This confirms that measuring outcomes of agricultural development based at one point of time after interventions can give a distorted picture of the achievements if the weather conditions were rather exceptional at that time. However, the overall picture was mixed as some non-rice crops demonstrated a good increase in yields as per 2019, in particular sunflower (with 130% increase) and chilli (42%).
The production of fish ghers, as reported in TR26, showed a significant increase of about 40% per unit of land in the kharif seasons, the seasons with the largest area under aquaculture.
Feedback from FGDs with farmers on outcomes of BGP interventions[edit | edit source]
In the Khulna zone better water management, resulting in improved irrigation water supply, allowed increased cultivation of boro paddy in the rabi season. This replaced sesame, which was previously grown as a main crop in the rabi season, but was risky due to erratic rains prior to harvest damaging the sesame crop and reducing its yields.
In the Patuakhali zone farmers reported that better water management brought more land under cultivation in rabi season, and allowed the adoption of HYVs in the aman and aus seasons. Better drainage allowed the expansion of rabi crops; the increased supply of fresh water in khals allowed the irrigation of watermelon and boro paddy in some locations.
The 2019 WMG survey (TR26) identified which improved methods and technologies for crop production, introduced and disseminated through the Farmer Fields Schools, were best adopted. These were line sowing of paddy, improved paddy seedbed management, the use of improved seeds and varieties, and perching branches for birds, all mentioned in at least 21 of the 24 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) held. Use of light trap, proper seed preservation and balanced fertilizer were mentioned as adopted technologies in half or more of the FGDs.
Adoption rates of improved fish production technologies were generally higher than for most crop production technologies, with the use of improved fingerlings / spawn, balanced feed for fish and liming of fish ponds as the most commonly adopted technologies.
In the 2019 survey farmers were also asked for their most pressing problems, which turned out to be dominated by economic issues such as falling prices of farm products and increased costs of labour and farm inputs. In 2018 farmers had been benefiting from a spike in paddy prices following poor harvest in the preceding year. This encouraged increased paddy production, and the market seemed to become oversupplied; as a consequence farmers interviewed in 2019 no longer thought that paddy was such a profitable crop.
A main production-related problem was identified as pests and diseases, as well as increased damage by rats. Over half of the FGDs also reported that drought had been a problem. But few FGDs reported salinity, water logging and/or excess rainfall as problems, even though there was also reporting that unexpected rains in winter had damaged rabi crops.
Increase in farm income[edit | edit source]
The increased area of crops, improved cropping patterns and increased yields contributed to an increase in farm incomes. In TR26 this has been calculated based on budgets for the main crops in each zone, also estimating the net income ‘before BGP’. The results of these calculations showed that the total net farm income has almost doubled with an increase of 89%. More comes from aquaculture than from crops – and aquaculture contributes over half the increase in farm income. However, in relative terms the increase has been higher for paddy and for other crops. The relative increase has also been higher in Patuakhali zone (with 165% increase), and lowest in Khulna (77% increase); in Satkhira the farm income increase was calculated as 117%.
The overall increase in net farm income was compared with the total BGP costs, including TA, per polder to assess the payback period. For almost all Khulna polders the payback period was less than two years, and for many even less than one year. For polder 2 in Satkhira the payback period was calculated as less than two years. For Patuakhali, however, the payback periods per polder were in excess of 5 years, with the exception of 3 polders that had a payback period of 1 – 3 years.
Other benefits and impacts[edit | edit source]
Increased paddy production has greatly reduced or even eliminated food insecurity for households with access to land, while the cultivation of high value crops, especially rabi crops, provide more cash income. Although there is a general trend for more households to have non-farm incomes, agriculture remains the major source of income in most villages. Improvements in agriculture even meant a stronger focus of farmers on agricultural production. Apart from households deriving income from field crops, an increasing number of landless households benefited from increased income from agricultural wage labour, as the demand for such wage labour considerably increased.
Apart from spending more on food, additional farm income usually is spent on children’s education and improved housing and sanitation, but also invested in farming, which includes land leases, purchase of livestock and investments in high value crops requiring more costly inputs. People are also saving more.
Household outreach of commercialisation interventions[edit | edit source]
Blue Gold’s initial Household Survey (Baseline study of 2014) across eight polders indicated that between 45% and 65% of the households had access to land and relied on farming for their livelihoods. As a rough estimate, Blue Gold considered 55% of the households in its 22 polders (with 185,000 households in total), corresponding to just over 100.000 households, as households owning or leasing land and therefore directly benefiting from water management interventions through better opportunities for field crop production.
Table 23.2 provides an overview of Blue Gold’s cropping system interventions and their outreach. A distinction is made between the 1358 FFS type interventions (984 crop FFS, 142 CAWM FFS and 232 MFS), the 67 large and 628 small demonstrations, and the various Horizontal Learning events including FFS and Demonstration Farmer Field Days (FFD), Melas (farmer fairs) and Exchange visits.
|Key activity||#||# participants / activity||Total # of participants||# households directly reached[Notes 2]||Total # attendants Horizontal Learning[Notes 3]||# households indirectly reached and affected[Notes 4]|
|Crop FFS FFD||964||100||96432||24108|
|CAWM exchange visits||1563||1563|
|CII demo HL events||34||100||3350||1005|
|Small demo HL events||628||20||12560||9420|
|Total hh = 78257||27691||50566|
With respect to outreach, BGP distinguished between:
- The number of households directly reached. These are the households of whom at least one member participated in an FFS (either crop FFS, CAWM FFS or MFS) or was actively involved as a demonstration farmer, either in Cropping Intensity Initiatives (CII) or in smaller demonstrations. Usually 25 households were represented per FFS. After applying a correction for duplication / multiple participation (i.e. when two members of one household participated in any FFS or a same farmer participated in two activities) on the total number of direct participants in FFS and demonstrations, it was estimated that 27,691 households were directly reached by BGP interventions on commercialization of agriculture, and are applying at least part of the learnings.
- The number of households indirectly reached through horizontal learning. These are the households of whom at least one member took up improved practices for commercialization through participating in Farmer Field Days, exchange visits, attending demonstration events and/or learning from neighbours who had been FFS participants. It is estimated that 50,566 households were indirectly but effectively reached. This number was determined by applying a correction factor on the total number of persons who attended Horizontal Learning events; the correction factor depending on the nature and the participants of the HL event. This correction is both for multiple participation and for the fact that a considerable number of participants in Farmer Field Days, Melas and demonstration attended out of curiosity, without being able to apply the learnings.
The combined outreach, in terms of households reached for commercialization of agriculture, directly through program interventions and indirectly through Horizontal Learning events, is thus estimated at 78,257 or nearly 80.000 households, while the potential was established as 100.000 households. In fact, Blue Gold reached 42% of all households in its polders, which compares well with the estimated 55% of the households with access to land. Thus about 76% of the households with access to land and therefore likely to benefit from WRM interventions, were actually reached and affected based on the calculations and assumptions presented in Table 23.2.
Cost of commercialisation interventions[edit | edit source]
The approximate cost of the commercialisation program Euro 1,410,000 is detailed in Table 23.3 below. It covers the actual cost of the individual program interventions, along with the Horizontal Learning activities and capacity building of field staff, resource providers and private sector actors. The Technical Assistance cost to manage the program is not included.
The cost of the range of FFS based interventions was around 43 Euro per household directly reached. Considering the additional households reached through Horizontal Learning, the average costs dropped to 17 Euro per household. In contrast, the less resource intensive Cropping Intensity Initiatives (CII) demonstrations cost more or less a quarter of the FFS costs per household directly reached (11 Euro) and only 3 Euro per household indirectly reached or affected. A comparison of their effectiveness with the more resource intensive FFS based interventions is difficult. The large-scale, yearlong CII demonstrations focus on a group of farmers within a sub-catchment. A limited number of sessions and workshops were built around the demonstrations, while leaving sufficient room for the expanded content of agricultural extension in the coastal zone, as set out in chapter 19. BGP believes that the effectiveness of the CII approach is likely to be similar to the more resource intensive FFS based interventions, while obviously a lot more resource efficient, in terms of direct costs and staff input.
|Key Activity||#||Unit cost BDT||Unit cost €||Total cost BDT||Total cost €||Cost per reached HH BDT||Cost per reached HH €||Cost reached & affected HH BDT||Cost reached & affected HH €|
|Crop FFS||984||82,600||€860||81,278,400||€ 846,650||4,130||€ 43||1,669||€ 17|
|CAWM||142||82,600||€860||11,729,200||€ 122,179||3,304||€ 34||1,944||€ 20|
|CAWM HL & exchange visits||13||20,000||€ 208||260,000||€ 2,708|
|MFS||232||28,473||€ 297||6,605,722||€ 68,810||3,037||€ 32||1,898||€ 20|
|CII demonstrations||67||2,147/acre||426,145||€ 4,439||1,060||€ 11||303||€ 3|
|CII demo HL events||34|
|Small demos||600||inclus materials||8,160,000||€ 85,000||4,331||€ 45||722||€ 8|
|Small demo HL events||600|
|Training 150 SAAO, 25 DT, 150 FTs||21,437,400||€223,306|
|Training 91 SAAO, 700 RF, 125 IP||4,354,500||€45,359|
|Total inclus training||135,431,367||€1,410,743||€ 51||€ 18|
These commercialisation intervention costs alone do not form an appropriate basis for an outcome based cost/benefit assessment. As argued extensively, Blue Gold outcomes in terms of production increase, are the result of the integration of water infrastructure, water management and agricultural commercialisation interventions.
What these costs do provide is an idea of this type of intervention costs per farmer and/or per household directly and indirectly reached. This can be of use for future programming whereby consideration should be given to the extent that BGP’s lessons learned on agricultural extension (see chapter 22) are adopted, particularly those relating to increasing the efficiency of the extension approach. It is felt that, with the adoption of these lessons learnt, intervention costs per farmer could be reduced substantially.
Outcomes of Commercialisation interventions[edit | edit source]
Commercialisation interventions combined and aligned with the interventions to improve water resources management contributed to the core of Blue Gold outcomes. These outcomes were described in quantitative terms of productivity shifts across the polders on the basis of the WMG surveys, see also Section B.
This section presents the direct qualitative outcomes of the commercialisation interventions in relation to extension delivery, farmer market orientation and market systems development. In addition, impacts in terms of polder economic growth are identified.
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- New extension curricula take a cropping system perspective, consider water management conditions and include market orientation topics.
- Cost-effective extension methods, based on demonstrations and Horizontal Learning, are more often undertaken by lead farmers and private extension agents.
- Added impetus to extension sessions by the involvement of Resource Farmers, local entrepreneurs as input suppliers and traders, farmer role models, and private sector companies.
- Increased outreach and accessibility of agricultural extension field officers by contacting groups through their Resource Farmers.
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- A growing number of farmers, men and women, consider farming as a business and use simplified gross margins, weigh up risks, and involve their spouses in joint decision making.
- Expanded networks for goods, services and information support broadening production options.
- Mobile phones became a virtual access to markets, especially enhancing market linkage opportunities for women farmers.
- Increased farmer bargaining power through producer groups reduces costs and increases revenues. See also Annex 23.1.
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- Positive and timely response by other market actors to new demands for goods, services and labour, resulting from alternative and/or more intensified cropping systems.
- More accessible and trustworthy input and service providers, growing trade volumes and revenues by offering quality products and services.
- Reduced transaction costs to both parties, evolving from collective actions.
- Upgraded and new market linkages, of higher levels of mutual understanding and trust, constitute systemic changes. Such market linkages make present innovations sustainable and will facilitate future adaptations to changing conditions.
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- Growth of agricultural production through increases in yields, cropping intensity and diversification.
- For households without access to land for field crops, but with some homestead land, the improvement of homestead production through homestead FFS (see chapter 25) often also meant a critical improvement, as food production increased as well as income from surplus sales.
- Along with farm production, incomes and labour requirements have increased. In turn, the increased labour demand increased wage incomes for landless households. And increased incomes from agriculture boost the demand for goods and services, increasing trader volumes, which results in more jobs and higher non-farm incomes.
- Labour remuneration and land leases have increased with higher land productivity. In some polders the wage gap between men and women labourers decreased.
- Not all farmers adopted (yet) the improved practices with higher productivity and profitability; rather, they continued to cultivate traditional crops or varieties with less investment and less income.
- Cost benefit analyses show that overall returns to cropping system improvements justify large-scale infrastructure investments, and clearly justify spending on maintenance as a production cost that results in more than enough income from selling the resulting additional produce.
Miscellaneous References[edit | edit source]
- Blue Gold Program Technical Report 03: Benchmark Report on Mung Bean MFS. September 2015.
- Blue Gold Program Technical Report 06: Sajna (Moringa Oleifera) Cuttings. 23 December 2015.
- Blue Gold Program Technical Report 08: Nursery Management in Khulna and Patuakhali. 6 January 2016.
- Blue Gold Program Technical Report 09: Trial Ponds of Fish FFS 2015. March 2016.
- Blue Gold Program Technical Report 13: Watermelon Production and Fish Culture in Mini Ponds in Polder 22. October 2016.
- Blue Gold Program Technical Report 14: Trial Ponds of Fish FFS 2016. April 2017.
- Information Needs of Smallholder Sesame Farmers in Bangladesh. Erasmus University Rotterdam and Blue Gold Program. 20 March 2016.
- Impact Assessment Report on Fisheries Development Activities under Blue Gold Program. Final Report by Monwar Hossain, independent consultant. March 2020.
- Impact Assessment Report on Fisheries Development Activities under Blue Gold Program. Presentation by Monwar Hossain, independent consultant. March 2020.
- Blue Gold Innovation Fund (BGIF) 05: Opportunities for development of the Moringa sector in Bangladesh. CDI Wageningen for the Blue Gold Program. July 2015.
- Blue Gold Innovation Fund (BGIF) 15: Increasing Quality of Mung Bean Production of Small Farmers. Just Farming Bangladesh Limited for the Blue Gold Program. 23 October 2017.
- Blue Gold Innovation Fund (BGIF) 24: Moringa Business Plan. Moringa Private Limited for the Blue Gold Program. 11 February 2018.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Note that in the 2018 survey, as reported upon in TR25, not all Blue Gold polders or all WMGs were covered
- Adjustments made for multiple participation
- Horizontal Learning include learning from neighbours, from Farmer Field Days (FFD), Melas, exchange visits and demonstrations
- Based on assumptions for the proportion of HL attendants likely to apply the improved technologies, depending on the nature of the HL event
See more[edit | edit source]
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