SaFaL lead farmer Yunus Ali receives prestigious national agriculture award

50-year-old Yunus Ali, one of the leading farmers of Solidaridad’s Sustainable Agriculture, Food Security and Linkages (SaFaL) programme, received the prestigious Bangabandhu National Agriculture Award 2017 from Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on 16 July 2017. Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury presided over the function and Environment and Forest Minister Anwar Hossain was present as a special guest.

Yunus Ali accepts the honour presented by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

Yunus Ali, who hails from the village of Ramkrishnapur at Kolaroa in Satkhira, has been engaged in fruits and vegetables farming. By participating in a series of training organized by SaFaL, Ali succeeded in enriching his knowledge and skills on adaptive farming practices resilient to local eco-system.

According to Ali, the training he received as Lead Farmer has been invaluable and it covered wide ranging issues like production optimization, backward and forward market linkages, entrepreneurship, farm record keeping, post-harvest management, value addition, and supply chain development and so on. He shares this knowledge with his fellow farmers through regular technical sessions and this wider and extensive sharing has helped him brush up his own knowledge even further.

Yunus Ali proudly displays his farm managed with good agricultural practices

From my experience, I have come to realize that long-term benefits for the smallholder farmers could only be achieved through institutionalization and entrepreneurship development and that is where the real potential of programmes like SaFaL lies. – Mohammad Yunus Ali, winner of the Bangabandhu National Agriculture Award 2017

By successfully applying the technologies promoted by SaFaL, Ali succeeded in remarkably increasing his production. This season, he produced mango varieties (Himsagar and Langra) on 2.25 acres of land and made an unprecedented net income of more than BDT 200,000 Bangladeshi taka (about 2,000 euros). Ali attributed this success to the new technologies as well as better linkages with the national and export supply chains, developed by SaFaL.

Connecting local farmers with international markets

The SaFaL programme has been implemented in southwest Bangladesh by Solidaridad South & South-East Asia in partnership with Uttaran and Jagarani Chakkra Foundation. The programme has developed 500 lead farmers like Yunus Ali, who have become model farmers to transfer knowledge and technology to other fellow farmers for optimizing agricultural productivity.

Solidaridad has implemented the SaFaL programme (meaning fruitful, successful or productive in Bangla) since November 2012. So far, the project has helped 57,000 smallholder farming families to become successful agricultural entrepreneurs in aquaculture, horticulture and dairy production.

The programme took an integrated approach and connected several aspects that contribute to food and nutrition security such as:

  • Organizing the smallholders into 1,000 producer groups (collective action)
  • Helping them to grow diversified food crops (availability)
  • Teaching how to increase productivity through sustainable practices
  • Improving their income potential (affordability)
  • Connecting them to several local, national and international markets (accessibility)

The programme also connected with several Dutch businesses and knowledge institutes in alignment with the vision that markets are becoming legitimate channels for social change and would be key for making the transition from aid to trade.

Solid support for SaFaL

Earlier this year, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands announced it will contribute 14.8 million euros for the second phase of SaFaL for the period 2017-2021. SaFaL’s second phase is a logical continuation of Phase 1 and would directly benefit 0.5 million people or 100,000 farming households. The focus will remain on aquaculture, dairy and horticulture. Soybean would be a new commodity in Phase 2 that will support 25,000 families in the Noakhali and Lakshmipur districts.

SaFaL is expected to contribute towards Bangladesh’s Perspective Plan 2010-2021 for the following focus areas:

  • sustainable agriculture and green growth
  • higher levels of food production, crop zoning and land use planning
  • promotion of agricultural diversification, value chain development, and agricultural credit
  • mainstreaming women in agriculture

Learn more about Solidaridad programmes in South & South-East Asia.

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