On December 6, 2022, a Validation Workshop under the Climate Adaptation and Resilience (CARE) for South Asia project was organized by the Regional Integrated Multi-hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The workshop focused on validating the findings and recommendations of the User Needs Assessment (UNA) for the agriculture sector, to wit:
- There is a need for expanded technical capacity building efforts, at the district level, in the management and monitoring of available agro-meteorological equipment and instruments, such as agro-meteorological computer kiosks, and Automatic Rain Gauge (ARG), among others.
- Generation of district-level advisories must be automated (while retaining the option for officials to modify outputs based on varying on-ground conditions/observations, for example, local crop stage data/information;
- Based on the above, certain enhancements (e.g., push notifications, location-based alerts, weather forecasts tailored to upazila level) on the BAMIS mobile application, as well as the development of a centralized monitoring system for agro-meteorological computer kiosks in upazilas and a tracking app for these kiosks may be considered;
- Multiple channels for dissemination of advisories, feedback collection, and impact evaluation must be explored to reach a greater number of end-users. Lead farmers database must also be expanded and web-based;
- Lightning and thunderstorms continue to endanger farmers. Warnings against these threats must be issued at least 2-3 hours in advance, offering enough time to take cover. Additionally, investments must be made into the establishment of lightning protection devices in the low lands of Haor area, as well as plantations of tall tree varieties, such as coconut, betel, and palm;
- A 3-week Training of Trainers (ToT) should be arranged and comprised of at least 7 days of training on crop-weather relationship and critical stages of crops with weather parameters, 3-day introduction to agromet weather instruments and maintenance, 3-day discussion on pests-diseases relationship with weather parameters, 2-day training on agromet advisory generation and dissemination techniques for extension workers, and 3-day training on crop production through climate-smart agriculture technologies.
- Given the nascency of agromet advisory services in Bangladesh, efforts must be made to strengthen links and coordination, increase capacity, and broaden participation among all the involved stakeholders – from agriculture officials to farmers.
Dr. Md. Abdul Muyeed (CARE Component 1 Sectoral Expert for Agriculture and former Director-General of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE)), under the Ministry of Agriculture, led the presentation of insights from the UNA, while Mr. Raihanul Haque Khan (Country Coordinator- Bangladesh, CARE for South Asia – Component 1, RIMES) presented the intervention areas and priority activities proposed by RIMES for enhancing agrometeorological advisory services in Bangladesh based on its assessments and consultations with relevant national and sub-national institutions.
The validation workshop was a crucial step in finalizing CARE Component 1’s support to the Bangladesh Agro-Meteorological Information System (BAMIS). 30 representatives from agriculture stakeholder agencies, including the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE); Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI); Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI); Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD); Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB); as well as project implementation partners from the World Bank and members of the CARE Project Team in RIMES, participated in the event.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Md. Benojir Alam (Director-General, DAE) expressed concurrence with the findings, re-affirmed the agency’s commitment to the project, and emphasized the need to initiate and expand the scope of partnership among the stakeholders.