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The use of video in agricultural extension in Bangladesh

Access Agriculture round table discussion

A lively roundtable discussion on ‘The use of video in agricultural extension,’ by thought leaders and influencers in Bangladesh, representing government authorities, agricultural extension, research and development organisations as well as media agencies, marked the recent launch of the Bangla website of Access Agriculture in Dhaka. Access Agriculture is a global service provider that supports South–South learning for farmers and rural businesses through quality videos in international and local languages.

The high-profile event was jointly organised by Samakal (a national Bangla daily), the Campaign for Bangladesh Popular Education (CAMPE) and Access Agriculture on 27 February 2020. It was chaired by Ms Rasheda K Chowdhury, Executive Director of CAMPE and member of Access Agriculture Governing Board, and anchored by Mr Mustafiz Shafi, Acting Editor of Samakal.

Presenting a brief overview of Access Agriculture, its services and achievements, Ahmad Salahuddin, Access Agriculture Regional Representative for South Asia, described the concepts and ideas around its farmer friendly video-led extension approach that combines scientific and indigenous knowledge.

Dr Salahuddin informed the participants that the Access Agriculture website hosts more than 200 quality farmer-training videos in over 80 languages on agroecology and rural entrepreneurship, including nearly 100 videos in Bangla language and that this number is continuously increasing. The Bangla version can potentially benefit over 300 million Bangla-speaking farmers and rural businesses.

“We are proud that Access Agriculture started its global journey from Bangladesh and that it has now released the Bangla version of its website,” stated Ms Chowdhury. “It is high time we disseminate on a massive scale Access Agriculture videos to our farmers through all possible media, such as TV, radio, community radio, and through extension services, as part of our strategy for modernising agriculture in Bangladesh.”

The roundtable featured participants from the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) and Agriculture Information Service (AIS); Mr Nazrul Islam Khan, Curator of Bangabandhu Memorial Museum; Mr Shayamal Kanti Ghose, former Agriculture Secretary; Mr Nazrul Islam and Dr Zahangir Alam, former AIS directors; Mr Ashit Singha, Head of Program, CCDB; Mr Rezaul Karim Siddique from BTV; Mr Reaz Ahmad from Dhaka Tribune; Mr Emdad Ali from ATN Bangla TV; Mr M D Shahadat Hossain from BRAC Agriculture Program; Mr Faruk-Ul-Islam, Head of Business Development, Practical Action Bangladesh and Dr Md Shahinul Islam, project director DAE, among others.

The event provided an important platform for the participants to discuss and share their insights on the importance of digital technology and Access Agriculture videos for agricultural education and extension. They agreed that there was a need for extension services to increase the use of video-mediated learning in reaching out to millions of farmers and commended Access Agriculture for its Bangla website, which is the first of its kind in Bangladesh as its quality farmer-training videos cover a wide range of subjects.

They made several constructive recommendations to further improve the relevance of Access Agriculture in Bangladesh, such as the need to:

  • Translate more videos into Bangla, develop new videos to help farmers find market information, cope with climate change effects and reduce postharvest losses
  • Involve actively with the Ministry of Agriculture and link up with farmer’s associations and women digital centres for greater impact
  • Accelerate the launch of the proposed Access Agriculture App as this will make it easy for farmers to download and share videos.
  • Document success stories from farmers to inspire others

Thanking the participants, Dr Salahuddin said, “We are pleased that the launch of the Access Agriculture Bangla website sparked such a high-quality and insightful discussion on an important issue.” He responded to all the points raised by the participants and assured them that their valuable inputs would be considered and implemented.  He also expressed his deep appreciation to CAMPE and Samakal for joining hands with Access Agriculture for this high-profile roundtable.

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