Training on forecast applications for local service providers were recently conducted in Kurigram and Gaibandha of Northern Bangladesh in order to improve anticipatory decision-making in the agriculture, livestock, and fisheries sectors and assist them in better preparedness for the next monsoon season.
The service providers include seed sellers, local vaccine providers, hatchery operators, and sub-assistant agriculture officers among others. In Bangladesh, these service providers work closely with the local communities, and typically, their services enable communities to anticipate, prepare for, and cope during extreme weather events such as floods and droughts.
These training sessions, led by national-level facilitators from Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI), Department of Fisheries (DoF), focused on the application of weather and flood forecasts in the respective sectors.
Building upon the training, two community-level demonstrations were carried out in Kurigram and Gaibandha, where farmers were introduced to climate-resilient farming approaches. The farmers were provided hands-on training on making silage, a convenient and efficient method used to preserve grass for their cattle for use during flooding.
In this method, the grasses are cut and fermented to retain the nutrients (such as sugars and proteins) as much as possible, to preserve pasture for cows and sheep, for times when natural pasture is not suitable or available for consumption during extreme weather events (such as floods or cold waves).
The local service providers and farmers both appreciated this initiative. They noted that the training was helpful for them to integrate climate-friendly approaches and to proactively manage their crops and livestock well ahead of extreme weather events. For the local service providers, it was a great opportunity to understand the forecast and its application in the respective sectors which can help them improve their business and customer service.
Similarly, farmers can also benefit from knowledge of forecast applications to minimize their livelihood risks by taking preventive and anticipatory measures. After the training, Md. Taufiqul from Saghata upazila of Gaibandha shared that the demonstration had been helpful in helping him understand what steps could be taken based on the weather forecast, particularly for his cattle.
“We have always suffered from cattle feed crises during the monsoon when the price often skyrockets. I had no idea that grass could be stored for a long time. But after the demonstration, I now know how to preserve the grasses before the monsoon season and ensure nutritious feed for my cattle.”, he added.
The training and the demonstrations are part of the Scaling up Flood Forecast-based Early Action and Learning (SUFAL-II) program led by CARE Bangladesh with Concern Worldwide with technical support from Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES). The training aims to support the second key objective of this project which is enhancing the capacity of communities and institutions to take timely, appropriate and inclusive early actions to anticipate floods.
SUFAL II program, funded by the EU Humanitarian Aid, is currently being implemented in four districts of Bangladesh: Kurigram, Gaibandha, Jamalpur, and Bogura. It collaborates with local disaster management committees, government agencies, and communities to strengthen capacity and support the implementation of community-focused, forecast-based activities to reduce the potential impacts of monsoon floods in Bangladesh's northwest.