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Report on Maize Value Chain

Northern Char Context

Commissioned by

Oxfam Bangladesh Country Office House 4, Road 3, Block I, Banani Dhaka 1213, Bangladesh

Conducted by

GMark Consulting Limited Suite 604, House 145, Road 03, Block A, Niketan, Gulshan 1 Dhaka 1212 | Bangladesh

June 2013


Bangladesh is one of the worlds poorest countries and the population is predominantly rural, with about 85 per cent of its 140 million people living in rural areas. Rural people depend mainly on the land for their livelihoods, which is both fertile and extremely vulnerable and large areas are at risk because of frequent floods, river erosion, salinity and cyclones. It is estimated that rural poverty rates now stands at around 40 per cent, and more than 25 per cent of rural households live in extreme poverty. With this existing situation, chronically poor people, especially women suffer persistent food insecurity, own no cultivable land or assets, are often illiterate and may also suffer serious illnesses or disabilities. Traditionally, men consider heads of households, in charge of crop production, rearing animals, and ultimately responsible for selling their produce at market. Men control profits and responsible for buying the familys food. Women stay at home, their agricultural and caring work is largely invisible, and they do not have the opportunity or support to realize their aspirations. Women have little access to education especially in poor families and are given a subsidiary status as economic dependents. Women are among the poorest of the rural poor, especially when they are the heads of their households, such as widows or wives of men who migrate in search of employment. They suffer discrimination because of their gender, they have scarce income-earning opportunities and their nutritional intake is often inadequate. In this context of poverty, the only option which is also a viable means to enhance the sustainable livelihoods of the rural communities is by addressing the needs of the most vulnerable among themwomen and men who are excluded from development assistance programmes for a number of social, cultural and other reasons. The economic empowerment programme would promote a core section of the vulnerable rural population to develop as economic agents of change and they could thereafter become role models for replicating similar experiences with others. Oxfam commissioned a study on maize value chain in the northern char areas of Bangladesh to identify the root causes of constraints and opportunities and also assess the potential environmental and policy impacts of the value chain. I believe this study report would help GO, NGOs and private sectors to design the potential interventions to promote women economic leadership and improve the livelihoods of poor women and men in the char areas. This study has been carried by GMark Consulting Limited. I would like to give my thanks to GMark Consulting Ltd to conduct this study and assist in preparing publication. I would like to give my sincere thanks and gratitude to all Oxfam colleagues and partner staffs, producers, CBO leaders, market actors, government officials, NGOs and others who gave valuable time and provided insight information into the respective areas.

Md. Norul Amin Economic and Private Sector Coordinator OXFAM

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Acknowledgement GMark would like to take the privilege to thank all the staff and members of Oxfam, SEED Rangpur, Polli-Shree Dinajpur, SKS Gaibandha, and Gonochetona Jamalpur who participated and facilitated this study under the project, Resilience through Economic Empowerment, Climate Adaptation, Leadership and Learning (REECALL). The team also acknowledges the support and cooperation of the Government Officials, representatives of other NGOs, and various value chain actors - from the farmers, input sellers, local service providers, traders, to the Union Parisad (Union Council) officials, and all other individuals, and thanks them for the valuable time and insight they provided in illuminating their respective perspectives and roles in maize sub-sector. Special mentions of gratitude goes out to Mr. Md. Norul Amin (Economic and Private Sector Coordinator, of Oxfam GB, Bangladesh Programme), Mr Bankim Chandro, (Project Coordinator, of SEED, Rangpur), Mr Shafiul Islam (Project Coordinator of Polli-Shree Dinajpur), Mr. Osman Goni (Project Coordinator, of REECALL project, SKS Gaibandha), Mr. Shamal Roy, (Project Coordinator of REECALL project, Gonochetona, Jamalpur), and all the field staff and members of the producer groups who provided crucial administrative and logistical support at every stage of administering the study in the field. The study was commissioned by Oxfam GB, Bangladesh, who helped the Study Group conduct various exercises and subsequently provided the required information and recommendations. The team consists of: Mr. Saifuddin Khaled (Team Leader), Professor Masuda M. Rashid Chowdhury (Gender Specialist), Dr. Md. Monjurul Alam (Technical and Policy Expert), Mr. Abu Darda (Value Chain Specialist), Md. Touhidur Rahman (Reporting and Data Analysis), Mr. Molla Abdullah Al Mehdi (Data Analysis), and, last but not the least, a cordial team of research assistants.

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Bigha A conventional measure of land followed in Bangladesh, usually comprising of 33 decimals. Chars - In the dynamics of erosion and accretion in the rivers of Bangladesh, the sandbars emerging as islands within the river channel, or as attached land to the riverbanks, often create new opportunities to establish settlements and pursue agricultural activities on them. Once vegetated, such lands are commonly called Chars. Chatal A set up with open place and chimney to boil and dry crops and cereals like rice, wheat, maize etc. Contract Farming - Contract farming is the system of sourcing quality input for processing or sales through contracting farmers by providing them technical assistance and guidance. Ear of Maize The cob of maize with hundreds of maize kernels Ex Post Facto Research An alternative jargon for descriptive research used in area of social science and business studies, which involves fact findings through surveys and descriptive analysis of data, without engaging into rigorous scientific scrutiny. Fallow Land An area of land left unseeded and uncultivated for a particular period of time or season. Gendered and Adapted Market Map A unique data tool for data summarization and presentation, used by Oxfam, where different dynamics and issues of core value chain, service market and (dis)enabling environment such policy, climate & topology etc. are depicted based on a set of guidelines. Haat/Bazar Day A pre-decided conventional arrangement, where a wide range of public gathering and trading takes place on a specific day or period of time by for a particular area/community. Hectare Measurement for areas equal to 2.47 acres or 0.01 square kilometers. Hybrid seeds - Hybrid seeds are produced by artificial cross-pollination of improved varieties. Hybrids usually provide better yield, improved color, and are of more disease resistant. Hybrid is considered as one of the main contributing factors to increase the yield of crops. The improved characteristics of hybrid seeds cannot be reproduced through natural pollination. So, new seed must be purchased for each planting. Integrated Maize Promotion Project (IMPP) A project Seed Industry Promotion Unit (SIPU) of Crop Diversification Programme (CDP) of the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) that was engaged in promoting hybrid maize production in Bangladesh in the then Rajshahi and Khulna divisions. Intercropping Intercropping is the simultaneous cultivation of two or more crops on the same field.

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Kharif Season Summer or wet or rainy season, conventionally spread over the period of mid-April to mid-October Opportunity Cost Economic value of the best alternative given up to choose an option, i.e., the loss of potential gain that happens due to choose a different alternative. Opportunity Cost Approach A method of pricing or evaluating using the concept of opportunity cost. Price of Maize A range of price denoting the General / Macro / National price level prevailing in the country at any particular point of time.[Unless said otherwise, this term in this report does not depict those pricing which are determined temporarily through informal bargaining at market place and/or are confined among some random actors in any random areas. Micronutrients - There are about eight nutrients that are essential for plant growth and health. These are manganese, boron, copper, iron, chlorine, cobalt, molybdenum, and zinc. Some consider sulfur also as macronutrient. Farmers use these nutrients according their deficiency in soils to achieve more yields. Maund A typical measurement for weight equivalent to 40 kilograms (Standard used here, 1 Maund=40kg). Mixed Cropping Contrasting with relay cropping, mixed cropping is a cultivating technique which allows growing one more plant in the same land, reducing space unused. Rabi Season Winter/dry season, typically spanned along mid-October through mid-April Relay Cropping Contrasting with mixed cropping, relay cropping is a practice of growing more than one plant in the same land, while one plant is seeded just before harvesting the other, reducing fallow period. Scaling A technique used to summarize qualitative data by coding them with cardinal or ordinal numeric. Stratified Sampling A sample design where population is not homogeneous and hence is dissected or stratified among a number of overlapping subsets, each called a stratum, from which the samples are selected. Sub-sector It is the sub-division of an economic sector of a country. In this report, Maize sub-sector is the sub-division or under the agriculture sector of Bangladesh. Sub-Sector Map - The sub-sector map is a graphical presentation of the value chain actors and other players. Value Chain - The Value chain refers to all the activities and services that bring a product (or a service) from conception to end use in a particular industry from input supply to production, processing, wholesale and finally, retail. It is called so because value is being added to the product or service at each step.

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BADC - Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation BBS Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics BRAC Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee CBO Community Based Organizations CDP Crop Diversification Programme CIMMYT International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre DAE Department of Agricultural Extension DRR Disaster Risk Reduction FGD Focus Group Discussion FY- Fiscal Year GAMM Gendered and Adapted Market Map GI Group Interview HHA Household Analysis IFDC International Fertilizer Development Centre IGA Income Generating Activities II Individual Interview IMPP Integrated Maize Promotion Project KII Key Informant LSP Local Service Provider MFI Micro-Finance Institution MoA Ministry of Agriculture (in Bangladesh) MT Metric Ton NGO Non-government Organization QPM Quality-Protein Maize SAAO Sub Assistant Agriculture Officer SIPU Seed Industry Promotion Unit SQKM (sq km) Square Kilometer

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Acknowledgement ................................................................................................................................ ii Definitions ............................................................................................................................................. iii Acronyms ............................................................................................................................................... v List of Contents .................................................................................................................................... vi List of Table and Charts ..................................................................................................................... ix Executive Summary ............................................................................................................................ xi 1 Chapter One: Introduction........................................................................................................... 1 1.1 Background ............................................................................................................................. 2 The Assignment ............................................................................................................... 2 Objectives of the Study: .................................................................................................. 2 Scope of the Study .......................................................................................................... 3

1.1.1 1.1.2 1.1.3 1.2

Methods and Methodology .................................................................................................... 3 Study Area and Population ............................................................................................. 3 Sample Designing ............................................................................................................ 4 Tools & Materials ............................................................................................................ 5 Study Method: Data Collection and Analysis .................................................................. 5

1.2.1 1.2.2 1.2.3 1.2.4 1.3 2

Challenges and Limitations ..................................................................................................... 6

Chapter Two: Maize Sector Overview ...................................................................................... 8 2.1 2.2 2.3 Historical Evolution of Maize Cultivation in Bangladesh ........................................................ 9 Variety of Maize Cultivated in Bangladesh ........................................................................... 10 Maize Market (Demand-Supply) in Bangladesh ................................................................... 11 National Demand-Supply Scenario for Maize Seed ...................................................... 11 National Demand-Supply Scenario for Maize ............................................................... 12

2.3.1 2.3.2 2.4 3

Public and Private Sector Initiatives for Sector Growth........................................................ 14

Chapter Three: Defining Chars and Its Dynamics in Northern Context ............................. 15 3.1 Agro Climatic Features .......................................................................................................... 16 Defining Geographical Positioning ................................................................................ 16 Topology........................................................................................................................ 17 Demography .................................................................................................................. 17 Meteorology.................................................................................................................. 17

3.1.1 3.1.2 3.1.3 3.1.4 3.2

Socio-Economic Features ...................................................................................................... 18 Natural and Institutional Infrastructure........................................................................ 18


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3.2.2 3.2.3 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 4

Social Norms and Practices ........................................................................................... 18 Income and Literacy ...................................................................................................... 19

Income Generating Activities (IGAs) for the Chars (under Study) ........................................ 20 Maize-based Cropping System in Chars ................................................................................ 21 Production of Maize in Chars ................................................................................................ 22 Demand-Supply Situation for Inputs and Equipment ........................................................... 24 Maize Based Value Added Products in Chars ....................................................................... 25

Chapter Four: GAMM Analysis of Maize Value Chain ......................................................... 27 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Actors Involved in the Core Value Chain............................................................................... 28 CBOs Dynamics ..................................................................................................................... 31 Functions and Factors of the Core Maize Value Chain ......................................................... 35 Functioning of the Core Maize Value Chain.......................................................................... 35 Pre-Farming Level: ........................................................................................................ 35 Farming and Post-harvest Level .................................................................................... 40 Man-days and Gender-wise Roles in Maize Cultivation ............................................... 41

4.4.1 4.4.2 4.4.3 4.5 4.6

Issues and Factors of Related Service Market ...................................................................... 45 Services, Actors and Issues of Related Service Market ......................................................... 45 Technology and Equipment Oriented ........................................................................... 45 Components of Finance and Insurance ........................................................................ 47 Labor and Transport Services........................................................................................ 49 Skills, Capacity and Empowerment Oriented................................................................ 52

4.6.1 4.6.2 4.6.3 4.6.4 4.7 4.8

Issues and Factors of Related (Dis) Enabling Environment ................................................... 55 (Dis) Enabling Environment................................................................................................... 56 Land and Property Rights .............................................................................................. 56 Natural Environment and Resources ............................................................................ 56 Climate .......................................................................................................................... 57 Disaster Management ................................................................................................... 61 Socio-economic Profile ................................................................................................. 61 Infrastructure ................................................................................................................ 61

4.8.1 4.8.2 4.8.3 4.8.4 4.8.5 4.8.6 4.9

Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) of Maize Production ................................................................. 63 Pricing Mechanisms and Profitability of Farmers ......................................................... 63 Costs of Production calculated for Maize ..................................................................... 64 Average Maize Production ............................................................................................ 65 Profit of Maize farming (for farmers)............................................................................ 65

4.9.1 4.9.2 4.9.3 4.9.4

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4.9.5 4.10 5

Comparative CBA of Maize with Some Alternative Crops ............................................ 66

Respective Value Addition in Core Value Chain.................................................................... 66

Chapter Five: Policy Scenario under Maize Value Chain .................................................... 68 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 National Agricultural Policy (NAP, 2012 draft version) ......................................................... 69 National Seed Policy (NSP, 2003) .......................................................................................... 70 National Agricultural Extension Policy (NAEP, 2012 draft version) ...................................... 72 National Integrated Pest Management Policy (NIPMP, 2002).............................................. 73

Chapter Six: Women, Household & Maize Sector ................................................................ 74 6.1 Women, household and maize ............................................................................................. 75 Activities Performed ..................................................................................................... 75 Ownership of Assets and Access to Services ................................................................ 77 Social Acceptance, Taboos and Restrictions ................................................................. 78 IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL DISASTERS ........................................... 79

6.1.1 6.1.2 6.1.3 6.1.4 7 8

Chapter Seven: Constraints...................................................................................................... 81 Chapter Eight: Value Addition Opportunities ......................................................................... 90 8.1 Technological Options for Improved Maize Production Management ................................ 91

Chapter Nine: Recommendation.............................................................................................. 95

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LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Study Area and Number of Maize Producers ............................................................................ 4 Table 2: Sampling Frame for Maize Value Chain Analysis ...................................................................... 4 Table 3: Study Tools for data collection.................................................................................................. 5 Table 4: Fact-sheet of Maize in Bangladesh ......................................................................................... 10 Table 5: Data sheet of Maize Variety in Bangladesh ............................................................................ 10 Table 6: Maize seed requirement in Bangladesh and respective sourcing status ................................ 12 Table 7: National Demand and Supply of Maize ................................................................................... 13 Table 8: Demographic Composition for Northern Chars ...................................................................... 17 Table 9: Maize based cropping patterns prevailing in Chars ................................................................ 22 Table 10: Area Trend for Maize Cultivation in study areas................................................................... 23 Table 11: Production trends of maize in study areas ........................................................................... 23 Table 17: Annual market demand-supply scenario for drawn from the study .................................... 24 Table 13: Factors related to core maize value chain ............................................................................ 35 Table 14: Cost of Inputs per Bigha per Crop Season............................................................................. 37 Table 15: Price list of fertilizers ............................................................................................................. 37 Table 16: Common practice of fertilizer application in study areas ..................................................... 38 Table 17: Job distribution on gender ground and associated man-days .............................................. 42 Table 18: Factors affecting service market ........................................................................................... 45 Table 19: Availability of Chatal and Equipments .................................................................................. 45 Table 20: Costs (or rents) of Equipment Services ................................................................................. 46 Table 21: Presence of Financial Transaction/Intermediaries ............................................................... 47 Table 22: Loan types, institutions and associated terms ...................................................................... 48 Table 23: Needs of loans and farmers' accessibility ............................................................................. 48 Table 24: Wage Rate per manday (typically 8 hours) ........................................................................... 49 Table 25: Key findings on transportation service ................................................................................. 50 Table 26: Factors affecting (Dis) Enabling Environment ....................................................................... 55 Table 27: Prevalence of natural disasters, its impact and coping strategies of the Char dwellers (Char Kholabari, under Gaibandha) ................................................................................................................ 59 Table 28: Cost of Laborers per Bigha per Crop Season ......................................................................... 64 Table 29: Maize production in study areas ........................................................................................... 65 Table 30: Cost Benefit calculation of maize .......................................................................................... 65
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Table 31: Comparison of CBA of Maize with other crops ..................................................................... 66 Table 32: Value Addition in the Core Value Chain ................................................................................ 66 Table 33: Illustrated example of poor cultivation technique ............................................................... 85 Table 34: Comparative cost of bed and conventional planting of maize ............................................. 92 Table 35: Financial analysis of the STR dryer ........................................................................................ 94 Table 36: intervention priority for maize value chain......................................................................... 106


Figure 1: Distribution of Charlands in Northern and non-Norther Bangladesh................................... 16 Figure 2: Monthly Household Income of Char People .......................................................................... 19 Figure 3: Maize production rate per bigha in the study areas.............................................................. 24 Figure 4: Channel of Inputs and Input Actors in Maize Value Chain .................................................... 28 Figure 5: Farmers distribution based on their land holdings ............................................................... 29 Figure 6: Distribution channel for seeds ............................................................................................... 36 Figure 7: Distribution channel of fertilizers .......................................................................................... 38 Figure 8: Distribution channel of pesticides in Maize farming ............................................................. 39 Figure 9: Monthly Household Income of Study Areas .......................................................................... 61


Picture 1: Maize Field in Char ................................................................................................................. 9 Picture 2: CBO office and Food Bank at Kaunia, Rangpur ..................................................................... 32 Picture 3: Women harvesting and shelling maize................................................................................. 41 Picture 4: Chatal/Maize Drying Place.................................................................................................... 47 Picture 5: Drought situation make the Chars looking like desert mile after mile................................. 60 Picture 6: Road condition connecting mainland and charland ............................................................. 62 Picture 7: Post harvesting practice at household level ......................................................................... 87 Picture 9: STR dryer for maize............................................................................................................... 93 Picture 8: Bed Planer for maize............................................................................................................. 93 Picture 10: Seed Cost Chart of BADC .................................................................................................... 98

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Maize is the third most important cereal crop in Bangladesh, after rice and wheat. It is a major cash crop, and is one of the major sources of employment of Char dwellers, especially for smallholders and women. In the Char areas, amongst its use in numerous other areas, maize is most commonly used in the poultry and fish feeds industries, for baking and other foods for human consumption. The nutritional value of maize, its economic importance and its incredibly diverse uses is significant of the immense and transferrable virtues of the crop, important not only in Bangladesh, but across every region of the world. According to an average from the last five years, Bangladesh produces about 1.2 million metric tons of maize annually. This reportedly supplies about 84% of the countrys total demand. The data also demonstrates a notable trend of increasing annual domestic production in maize. The Oxfam GB, Bangladesh program works with, and for the betterment of, extremely vulnerable groups, especially destitute smallholders and women. Through its comprehensive maize-based income generating activities (IGAs), the organizations development schemes contribute to improving the status of these focus groups, and enhance womens empowerment in the project areas. From March to May of 2013, the Maize Value Chain Study was carried out by GMark Consulting Ltd. in the Northern Char areas of Bangladesh, to capture the significance of the maize value chain in the area. This study was commissioned by Oxfam GB, Bangladesh. The study addresses the issues and dynamics of the socio-economic, natural and infrastructural factors that particularly affect the vulnerable groups the smallholders and women - within Char inhabitants. This report is based on the explorations, observations and analyses drawn from studies conducted in the Chars of Pirgacha and Kaunia upazillas (subdistricts) of Rangpur District, Fulchori Upazilla under Gaibandha District, Dimla Upazilla under Nilphamari District and Dewangonj Upazilla under Jamalpur District. This study estimates that, on average, the combined maize production of the aforementioned five upazillas together is around 23,280 MT of maize kernels per year. This constitutes almost 2% of the countrys annual domestic production. However, these figures vary widely across years. As illuminated by the study, more so than the topological suitability of a crop, the expected monetary return based on previous year(s) experiences seems to be the crucial driving factor for Char people to adopt and adapt a particular cropping pattern or choose the crops to be cultivated. In some Chars like Shibdeb Char under Rangpur District, only a few farmers are found to be engaged in maize cultivation this year, and others have switched over to alternative crops, even if their maize production was at its peak in the last year. These alternative adoptions are happening because most of the farmers are switching to other crops (wheat for example) due to drastic price fall in maize market last year. Women play a vital role in maize cultivation. They are mostly engaged in plucking ears (cobs) of maize from the plant and in shelling maize kernels from the cobs, amongst many other activities in the process. This study identifies the levels of womens active involvement in the different activities related to maize farming. Women contribute to approximately 80%

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of maize plucking, 20% of irrigation, 90% of shelling maize kernels, and 80% of drying and cleansing activities, in addition to being sporadically involved in other activities. The major buyers of maize from the Char areas are poultry and fish feed processors and bakeries. There are numerous market actors involved in the value chain in-between maize farmers and industrial processors. Forias (middle-men), small traders, wholesalers and contractors are the common intermediaries in this process, each performing a distinct role and value addition across the chain. The maize value chain is additionally subject to a plethora of interrelated factors: the impacts of climate and calamity; the state of the existing natural resources, conditions, and infrastructure; the amicability of social and government institutions and adherent policies; the effectiveness of traditional norms and practices, amongst other relevant concerns that shape the flow of the aggregate value chain. In most cases such factors are unfortunately found to have adverse affects on growth in this subsector, and also compound to negate progress on womens empowerment. The Char people are frequently subject to floods, river erosion, and droughts, with excessive rain followed by flooding being a year round phenomenon. These people of misfortune are often fated with irreparable destruction to their crops, livestock, assets, homes, and disruptions in attainment and access to education and other services due to these rains, which in turn confine them in a vicious circle of poverty. The Char inhabitants are also paradoxically cursed by incidences of prolonged droughts. Surrounded by rivers, people living in Chars commonly use water transportation to reach the mainland. As such, periods of drought not only impede their farming, but also necessitate additional costs of transportation in both their daily lives and business lives. All these constraints resultant of an interplay of no-or-low infrastructure, natural calamities and combined with restrictive social norms, work to hinder womens participation and empowerment, vis--vis increasing informal workloads by multifold and amongst many other correlated factors, intensifying the negation on their freedom of choice or voice. This report aims to outline the constraints and opportunities that are predominant in the maize value chain sector in Char areas; the sections following provide recommendations of potential interventions that can be undertaken to sustainably improve the statuses of the Char inhabitants. As such, the policy prescriptions or interventions offered in this report are accompanied by definitions of the needs and consequences of the respective actions.

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1.1 Background
The Oxfam GB, Bangladesh Programme has been implementing the Resilience through Economic Empowerment, Climate Adaptation, Leadership and Learning (REECALL) project in the disaster prone Northern Char, North-eastern Haor, and Southern Coastal communities. REECALL promotes increasing community resilience against climate change and natural disasters to prevent and combats risks associated with them, through economic empowerment and securing sustainable livelihoods for women and men. As a part of strengthening the maize value chain in the Char areas, Oxfam commissioned this study in the districts of Rangpur, Gaibandha, Nilphamari and Jamalpur, which constitute the Northern Char areas of Bangladesh. The Maize Value Chain study addresses the issues and dynamics of challenges in maize production, and the maize-related value chain and markets in these regions, with a particular focus on how these aspects are affected by climate change and socio-economic factors, and how these in turn impact women and other most vulnerable groups within Char inhabitants. Recognized for its expertise in value chain studies and experience in working with Oxfam GB, Bangladesh, GMark Consulting Limited was awarded the contract to conduct the value chain study and share its findings through a national dissemination workshop. 1.1.1 The Assignment This study was a part of a combined assignment, titled Study on Duck and Maize Value Chain in Bangladesh which comprised of assessments of the duck value chain study in the Southern coastal areas and North-eastern Haor areas, and the maize value chain study in the Northern Char areas. This report details the findings and analyses captured in the maize value chain study in the four Northern Char districts of Bangladesh. 1.1.2 Objectives of the Study: The specific objectives of this assignment are to: 1. Explore the nature of production and the terms and conditions of employment along the maize value chain. 2. Identify constraints and opportunities in the maize sub-sector in Northern Char areas to improve market access of maize producers, to raise productivity and wages, and to foster pro-poor growth in the maize value chain. 3. Focus on institutional arrangements that link maize related producers, processors, marketers and distributors and identify the power differentials among actors that may influence outcomes along the chain. 4. Conduct socio-economic and household analysis at producers (or farmers) level.
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5. Conduct gender analysis through determining the different positions of men and women across the chain and addressing empowerment issues reflected in the production and marketing. 6. Capture an overview of existing laws, policies and institutional frameworks related to maize value chains addressed in this study and provide analyses of their respective effectiveness. 7. Highlight specific policies and gaps in the Oxfam GB, Bangladesh, and Oxfam GB, Hong Kong programmes as to ensure the development of maize value chain in Bangladesh. 8. Provide recommendations and prescriptions on policy interventions in Northern Char areas to achieve desired policy goals and to develop maize sector in the country. 9. Analyze the impact of climate change throughout the maize value chain. 10. Identify specific interventions that can help achieve systemic changes across the chain. 11. Organize the key findings of the study and disseminate them in a national level workshop attended by policy makers, NGOs professionals and private sector representatives. 1.1.3 Scope of the Study The study de facto focuses on maize value chains in some particular Char areas of Bangladesh that are included in the target areas of Oxfam GB, Bangladeshs REECALL projects and its four implementing partner NGOs. As such, the report does not necessarily reflect the overall maize value chain scenario in Bangladesh, and emphasizes the relevant information that has the potential to impact Oxfams target groups.

1.2 Methods and Methodology

1.2.1 Study Area and Population The aim of Oxfam GB, Bangladeshs REECALL project is to develop the maize value chain, with a particular focus on enhancing womens empowerment, in four Northern districts of Bangladesh. The target groups of these projects are the maize farmers in the respective Char areas. To note, maize is not the primary crop that is farmed in these areas, and farming is not the only income generating activity the Char inhabitants adopt as livelihoods (other IGAs are detailed in later chapters). Most of the farmers included in the beneficiary groups are economically marginalized, and live beneath poverty line. Some of the other farmers notably very few in numbersare well off, and have hold of have access to a good deal of land and property. As such, the Maize Value Chain Study covered the specific districts where Oxfam and its implementing partners initiated its maize-oriented activities. Roughly a total of 1,773 maize farmers under community based organizations (CBOs) are included in these study areas; to note, all these farmers do not necessarily cultivate maize every year. The following table provides a breakdown of the number of maize farmers according to area basis.
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Table 1: Study Area and Number of Maize Producers

Oxfams Implementing Partnering Organizations SEED SKS Pollishree Gonochetona Total




Total Maize Producer (under CBO) 228 996 254 295 1773

Producer Group

Rangpur Gaibandha Nilphamari Jamalpur 4

Pirgacha Fulchari Dimla Dewanganj 4

Sawla Fulchari Khogakhoribar i Dewangonj 4

3 15 7 6 31


Sample Designing The sample population was constituted of a range of actors directly or indirectly related to the maize value chain, including farmers, traders, service providers, government officials, and so forth. The sample was designed following a stratified sampling rationale, to accommodate for the complexity and diversity of actors and individuals surveyed; accordingly, the population is first divided into a number of overlapping subpopulations (or strata), and then respondents are picked from each stratum based on their availability and accessibility. Particularly, those included in the surveys are categorized under: input sellers (ISs), maize farmers, local service providers (LSP), labors, traders, and key informants (KIs). LSPs refer to shellers, irrigators etc.; government officials, NGO personnel, social activists, and local learned individuals have been considered as KIs. Additionally, officials from Department of Agricultural Extensions (DAE), District Relief and Rehabilitation Officer (DRRO), local reputed NGOs and input selling companies interviewed were also considered as KIs.
Table 2: Sampling Frame for Maize Value Chain Analysis Districts Rangpur Gaibandha Nilphamari Jamalpur Total Sub-district Pirgacha Fulchari Dimla Dewanganj 4 Union Sawla Fulchari Khogakhoribari Dewangonj 4 Input Sellers 3 6 3 2 14 Maize Farmers II 4 10 5 5 24 GI 1 2 1 1 5 HHA 1 3 1 1 6 LSP 3 5 4 4 16 Labor 2 4 1 2 9 Trader 4 9 6 5 25 KI 3 7 5 3 18 Total 21 46 26 24 117

As opposed to keeping the absolute size of the sub-samples proportional to the size of each stratum in the overall population, as per the directives of a typical stratified sampling analysis, for this study, the size of sample is intentionally kept disproportionate to the corresponding volume of population of each area and of each type of actors.

Figure may contain overlaps

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Tools & Materials Questionnaires were used as the main study tool to gather the data from most of the respondents. Three different questionnaires were distributed to farmers to attain data pertinent to three dimensions: i) from the individual perspective (through Individual Interviews II), ii) from group perspective (Group Interview GI) and, iii) finally from household perspective (Household Analysis HHA). In addition, separate questionnaires for input sellers (ISs), labours, traders, local service providers (LSPs), key informants (KIs) etc. were developed to capture an understanding of the overall market scenario and identify any other related issues that may play an important role in maize value chain process. Finally, a comprehensive observatory toolbox was developed to conduct a rapid care analysis to acutely capture the context of women in the maize value chain.
Table 3: Study Tools for data collection Source of Data Individual Interview (II) Group Interview (GI) Household Analysis (HHA) Key Informant Interview (KII) Local Service Providers (LSPs) Input Sellers/Labors Women-specific Rapid Care Analysis Study Tool Questionnaire

Observatory toolbox


Study Method: Data Collection and Analysis The report is articulated ex post facto based on the quantitative and qualitative data collected in the study. Mainly primary, and to some extent, secondary methods were used for data collection. The primary data was collected through surveying the aforesaid sample groups using the tools developed for this study. Survey methods included techniques of interviews, focused-group discussions (FGDs) and finally, observations. The majority of the respondents of the surveys were chosen from core Char lands; additionally, some were from the nearby mainland in order to account for their perspectives, and facilitate for a basis of comparison through diversified data. The secondary data was sourced from publications and journals of various national organizations, such as the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), economics journals and published documents, to capture a more comprehensive understanding of the overall national scenario. The quantitative data was tabulated and analyzed using basic MS Excel formulae and programming. The qualitative data was subject to scaling where required. In line with Oxfam GBs methodology, its unique Gendered and Adapted Market Mapping (GAMM) data presentation scheme has been used, incorporating a series of subsector mapping for purposes of analyses. Assessing and Mapping Core Value Chain: GAMM starts with sketching the core value chain (in this case, for maize) and includes respective value additions and issues observed at each level. The different types and number of actors are identified first, based on their respective roles relative

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to the product along the value chain. Once identified, these actors are placed along the chain according to the sequence of the flow of the products (maize). The dynamics and issues associated with every type of actor are then articulated. Assessing & Mapping Service Market: Along any product value chain, a network of actors, termed the service market, supports the core actors of the chain. The types of services and their providers vary across areas, products and time. As such, service market mapping incorporates a wide range of components related to this aspect, starting from embedded services, free based services, their payments, to service delivery mechanisms, and flow of benefits, amongst all other related factors. This study attempts to provide the constraints and opportunities found along the flow of services as based on the data collected. Assessing and Mapping (Dis) Enabling Environment: Issues such as government rules and policies, social norms and practices, infrastructure, topology, natural ambience and other underlying factors typically are not emphasized in core value chain frameworks. Despite their profound influence on the core value chain, these aspects are conventionally considered as extraneous factors, and their primacy of being significant determinants in the power dynamics and structures of product markets are dismissed as secondary. These phenomena are labeled as (Dis) Enabling Environments. To counter such oversight, the following report incorporates the issues and facets of (Dis) Enabling Environments relevant to the study area.

1.3 Challenges and Limitations

First of all, this particular survey was conducted during a time of mounting civil unrests and political belligerency plaguing the country, with back-to-back hartals (strikes) and processions disrupting all facets of daily life. As such, the accessibility to and availability of respondents, and the regular interruptions of the study resultant of disruptions in transportation and communication, were major intrinsic challenges for the conduct of the survey and attainment of the results. Despite its successful completion, the accuracy of information collected is tainted by possibilities and instances of erroneous data streaming from a lack of cross-verification or datavalidation, owing to time limitations. Secondly, due to inconsistencies or lack of the respondents written records or logs, in many cases, respondents tended to provide arbitrary answers particularly to historical questions (like previous years income, price of maize over seasons, production volumes) or generalized questions (such as, which activities of maize cultivation are done by whom). In order to mitigate these inconsistencies, some series of clarifying questions were initiated to cross check vague responses, and some answers recorded may at times reflect generalizations or subjective judgment of the interviewers. Finally, over the duration of the group interview sessions, the attendance of the participants withered due to obligations on their farms, or other duties of their daily
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lives and livelihoods, and some ended up leaving the sessions or opting out over its course. As such, parts of the data gathered for this study may not be directly relevant to all respondents. However, to counter these inconsistencies as much as possible, the data has been cross-checked and validated via telephone interviews with respondents that dropped out.

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2.1 Historical Evolution of Maize Cultivation in Bangladesh
The Portuguese pioneers first to introduce maize (Zea mays L.) to the Indian subcontinent in the sixteenth century (Hellin and Erenstein, 2008). Centuries later, around mid-1900s, research and development (R&D) on maize emerged in Bangladesh (which was then considered to be East Pakistan, before the 1971 Liberation War). In the early 1950s, the Economic Botany (Fibres) Division, under the Directorate of Agriculture (DOA) of East Pakistan, introduced a variety of popcorn and sweet corns, imported from the United States of America, with the intention of developing hybrid maize in the country. In the 1960s, maize research lost its priority and began to be perceived as a minor cereal crop, with the introduction of modern rice and high-yield wheat varieties resultant of the Green Revolution technology promotion of the times. Consequently, the continuity of the germplasm was abated over the course of time. There were, however, following studies conducted at the Government Dairy Farm in Savar, new composite maize variety fodder was introduced, and coined Savar-1, Savar-2 and JC-1. The germplasm of these fodder-types were since then maintained, but the characteristic unpopularity of maize persisted. By the early 1980s, disproportionately little land was cultivated for maize in Bangladesh. In 1980 to 1981, only 2024 hectares of total cultivated Picture 1: Maize Field in Char land was planted with maize, with a total annual production of 1000 metric tons; this averaged a yield of 0.50 ton/ha (Hasan et al., 2008). However, with the rapid expansion of the countrys poultry industry in 1990s and 2000s, the demand for maize grain as poultry feed increased manifolds. Initially, this demand was serviced by maize grain imported from Thailand, USA and other countries. Gradually, with the concerted efforts of different public, private, national and international organizations, maize started gaining popularity as a lucrative cash crop. Farmers, especially, of northern and north-western parts of the country started capitalizing on this opportunity. Farmers increasingly started adopting maize cultivation, for its monetary benefits - it offered a higher and stable yield rate with fair market prices, resulting in better profitability compared to two other competitive crops Boro rice and wheat ( in the Rabi season). Additionally, maize also served as food, feed and fuel in the rural area.
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Table 4: Fact-sheet of Maize in Bangladesh

Particulars Total land under this sector2 Production volume3 Value added to GDP Farm income7 No. of labours8 No. of farmers9

Units Acres Metric Tonne BDT million BDT per acre Person Person

2007-08 552,955 1,346,471 16,5074 10,870 138,238 552,955

2008-09 317,253 729,770 9,5755 8,901 79,313 317,253

2009-10 375,628 887,433 15,4246 11,696 93,907 375,628

However, as demonstrated in Table 4, the growth of the maize subsector in Bangladesh experienced a downturn in last decade, despite its significant yield rate (around 60 Maunds per acre). This was due to the sudden dive in the poultry industry plagued by avian influenza (AI) endemic; this resulted in a drastic fall in the demand for poultry feeds since late 2000s, and in turn severely impacting the maize sector livelihoods. Today, maize farming in Bangladesh is still being widely adopted but is subject to embedded inefficiencies. If afforded the adequate attention, local production could meet up 84%10 of the countrys national demand. This report identifies the maize sector as one with great potentials for expansion.

2.2 Variety of Maize Cultivated in Bangladesh

This study presents the many and varied varieties of maize cultivated in Bangladesh, and their widely diversified yield rate and prices. A significant proportion of the maize varieties are hybrids. The highest yielding brands are Indian Monsanto varieties, which are also amongst the most costly ones.
Table 5: Data sheet of Maize Variety in Bangladesh

SL No 1 2 3 4
2 3 4 5 6 7 8


Yield/Hector (MT) 9-11 8-10 7-8 7-8

Marketed by


900 M Gold 900 M 827 K 717 K

Auto Equipment Auto Equipment Auto Equipment Auto Equipment

Monsanto-India Monsanto-India Monsanto, Dekalb-India Monsanto, Dekalb-India

Price per Kg (BDT) 270 240 180 175

Market Share (%) 15-18%

Major and Minor Crop Statistics, BBS 2008-09 Major and Minor Crop Statistics, BBS 2008-09 From DAM website, price of maize in 2007 in Bogra was BDT 12.39/kg From DAM website, price of maize in 2008 in Bogra was BDT 12.26 /kg From DAM website, price of maize in 2008 in Bogra was BDT 13.12/kg

From Rajshahi Cropping Pattern Study, maize profit per acre per farmer is 10,000tk Land x 60 mandays 240,

9 Land 1 acre/farm (Average farm size) Gmarks Maize Value Chain Study, 2013

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Pacific 11



6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Pacific 60 Pacific 984 Uttaran NK 40 NK 46 Pioneer 3056 Super 42 Kanok Hira 405 Semco 100 Others

6-8 7-8.5 6-7 8-8.5 7-8 7-8 7-8 5-6 6-7 6-7 5-6

BRAC BRAC BRAC Syngenta Syngenta Petro Chemicals Golden Agro Alpha International Supreme Seeds Semco Various Companies

Pacific-Thailand (Presently produced locally) Pacific-Thailand Pacific-Thailand Produced locally Syngenta-Thailand Syngenta-Thailand Pioneer-India Super Agri GeneticIndia Visco Seed CompanyIndia Fortune Seed Ltd-India Seeds General Company-China Locally packed



160 220 225 220 220 230 200 150 150 130 120 15-20%

13-16% 20-25%

Source: Maize Value Chain Analysis 2013 Northern Char Context, GMark Consulting Limited.

In most cases, seeds were found to be imported rather than locally or domestically produced. The top importers of maize seeds are: Auto Equipment, Syngenta, Supreme etc. Additionally, organizations are also engaged in marketing the seeds. Pacific 11 and Pacific 60 varieties are marketed by BRAC which is produced locally from imported parent line. Many local companies were found to collect seeds from multinationals, or produce them locally and market them to rural people. Details of the actors, chain and quality of maize seeds are discussed in the following section, and later in the Value Chain chapter.

2.3 Maize Market (Demand-Supply) in Bangladesh

2.3.1 National Demand-Supply Scenario for Maize Seed The growth of the maize sector is a fairly recent phenomenon in Bangladeshi agriculture. Maize farming has been gradually gaining momentum over the past few decades. In the 2007-08 fiscal year (FY), the sector reached its peak, with a national demand for maize seed at 6876 MT (as compared to 538 MT in the 2001-02 FY). During that year, maize cultivation accounted for 0.38 million hectares of land (see Table 6). However, reflecting the major crash in the poultry industry in the following year resultant of the avian flu epidemic, the, demand for maize also shrunk significantly. This, in turn, drastically decreased the demand for seed by farmers. This catastrophe negated the new found growth of the maize subsector, and dragged it back to chronic underperformance, to the effect that in the 2010-11 FY, the national demand was even lower than 2006 levels.
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However, as the statistics illuminate, the national demand for seed has always been higher than its domestic supply. And such increasing and higher demand is being mostly met through imports followed by local production of hybrid seed by the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) and the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC). The study unearthed an interesting practice amongst a few farmers, which does not seem technically feasibile according to agroscience conventions. The team found that in certain cases, farmers sourced 10% of their seed demands from the seeds they had preserved from their previous years production. Additionally, some degree of informal trade in border areas are also reported, which is used to meet a partial seed demand. Analysing the data available for the last decade (Table 6), it was found that on an average, over 80% of the domestic seed demand is satiated through imports. Among all varieties, Indian Monsanto seeds claim highest demand by farmers. An acute shortage of Monsanto seed was reported in the year before the study was initiated (2012). Importers actually got only 40% of the amount they demanded from its parent company, due to the increased worldwide and especially increased Indian domestic demands of the Monsanto seeds.
Table 6: Maize seed requirement in Bangladesh and respective sourcing status11 Year Area (hectare) Total seed requirement (MT) Domestically Supplied Seed produced by BADC (MT) F* 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 29900 46000 80000 104180 137177 208845 382000 174000 202000 538.20 828.00 1440.00 1875.24 2469.19 3759.21 6876.00 3132.00 3636.00 4.00 4.89 12.50 12.25 TLS** 161.0 162.0 155.0 221.0 214.0 155.0 53.0 40.17 131.0 Seed produced by BRAC (MT) 357 324 402 600 868 1050 900 816 600 Total import

Amount (MT) 236.07 196.28 386.15 2113.47 3885.00 3134.81 4507.65 5400.86 3115.39

% 44% 24% 27% 113% 157% 83% 66% 172% 86%

*F= Foundation Seed, **TLS= Truthfully Labeled Seed


National Demand-Supply Scenario for Maize The demand for maize in Bangladesh is primarily from the commercial feed processing industry. This industry is the driving force of the maize sector, using 80%12 of its aggregate maize production (excluding imports). Statistically, the poultry sector (a significant representative of feed industry) is growing at an average rate of 23% per year13. This sector is projected to have a positive correlation in growth relative to the increasing per capita consumption of chicken and eggs. Moreover, there is a high demand for maize from cattle, fish and from sectors like food processing and medicine in the country.

11 DAE 2010, BADC and BRAC 12 Source: KI


Source: WPSA report 2007, commercial broiler growth

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Rabi (referring to the second half of October to the first half of April) is typically the season for maize farming. Some summer varieties of maize, however, are cultivated in the Kharif season (particularly Kharif 1, starting from the second half of April to the first half of July) as well. The domestic supply of maize reaches its peak during March through April, when the Rabi maize is harvested. A part of the crops harvested in Rabi also goes into short term storage. This is done to offset the limited production capacity of Kharif maize that constitutes only 10% of the countrys total production and can only meet a diminutive portion of the volume demanded for that season. With the exception of April through July, Bangladesh imports maize round the year.
Table 7: National Demand and Supply of Maize Year National Demand Domestic Production Area(ha) 2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012 1,200,000 1,150,000 1,307,000 1,472,000 1,900,000 382,000 174,000 202,000 220,000 250,000 Production (MT) 1,346,670 900,000 887,391 1,200,000 1,760,000 % 112% 78% 68% 82% 93%

Imports(MT) Amount 146,670 250,000 419,609 % 12% 22% 32%

Maize is cultivated in almost all the districts of Bangladesh except in Narail District (DAE, 2010). Much like in the case for seeds, the gap in the maize market is filled by imports. Thus price prevails at import parity where world corn price dominates in the domestic market as well. Bangladesh usually imports from regional and neighboring countries, like India and Myanmar who have surplus maize production. During the FY 2007-08, the national demand for maize was around 1.2 million MT, which was well met by the countrys production of 1.35 million tons (Table 7). Except for that period, Bangladesh has fallen short of meeting its national demand for every other year. Such shortfalls in production are typically offset by imports, and this has been the characteristic solution for all the years of domestic supply deficits. For the financial years of 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12, the country had to import almost 0.15, 0.25, 0.42, 0.45 and 0.14 MT maize kernels, respectively. The market distortion created by the disruption of demand due to the poultry industry crash as detailed earlier is projected to continue past the current year; this implies a grim outlook for the sector, especially when considering that even potential domestic maize production levels of 1.5 million tons in 2011-12 would not rectify the situation. The most sustainable and effective avenues for reducing import dependency and strengthening the maize sector are through increasing maize production during both the Rabi (spring) and Kharif (summer) seasons, and ensuring sufficient storage facilities. These components have recently been given the due considerations as essential for the development of the maize sector.

Source: DAE 2010; BBS 2012; Private Company Interviews

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2.4 Public and Private Sector Initiatives for Sector Growth

In Bangladesh, maize production gained momentum from the 1990s. Prior to that, open pollinated varieties of maize were generally cultivated in the Chittagong Hill Tract areas as a component crop of Jhum, or, shifting cultivation, practiced by the tribal people. After the establishment of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) in 1976, the potentials of developing the maize sector were emphasized, and maize was recognized as a high yielding cereal crop. In 1986, BARI released its first high-yielding open pollinated maize varieties, which was subsequently followed by seven other open pollinated maize varieties. As detailed earlier, the rapid expansion of the poultry and culture fisheries industries during the 1990s significantly drove up demands for maize grain as poultry and fish feed; these were met with maize imports from the US, Thailand and other countries. Recognizing the growing demand for maize grain in Bangladesh, a few organizations, namely the Kushtia Seed Store, the ICI Seed International, and the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC), funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), started to import small quantity of hybrid varieties of maize, mainly Pacific-11, from Thailand. The significance of Pacific-11 was that it yielded 2-3 times higher than composite maize varieties. Observing the benefits of these ground breaking high yield varieties, NGOs like BRAC, and seed companies like Monsanto, Syngenta Bangladesh Limited, Supreme Seed Company, ACI Ltd., started importing and marketing hybrid maize seed in Bangladesh as well. An Integrated Maize Promotion Project (IMPP), under the Bangladesh Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), started promoting hybrid maize production in Rajshahi and Khulna Divisions. Four NGOs - BRAC, Grameen Krishi Foundation (GKF), Ganges Development Programme and PROSHIKA - established 600 demonstration plots under the captioned projects. Until 1997, BRAC continued to import hybrid maize seed from the Thai Pacific Seed Company to distribute to its beneficiaries. By then BRAC had developed its capacity for locally producing maize seed of hybrid varieties; in between 1997 and 1998, BRAC produced 130 tons of seeds (Islam, 2009). Following suit, BARI started developing hybrid varieties of maize, and in 2001, released its first hybrid variety. Since then, 11 hybrid varieties of maize were released by BARI including Bhutta-5, quality-protein maize (QPM) variety. Gradually, different organizations like the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), and companies like Doel Agro Ltd, and Grameen Krishi Foundation, started taking initiative in the development of the maize sector. Additionally, international donors and their implementing partners also increased their activities in the sector.

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3.1 Agro Climatic Features



Defining Geographical Positioning In the dynamics of erosion and accretion in the rivers of Bangladesh, the sandbars emerging as islands within the river channel, or as attached land to the riverbanks, often create new opportunities to establish settlements and pursue agricultural activities on them. Once vegetated, such lands are commonly called Chars. Located primarily in the riverbeds of Jamuna, Korotoa, Tista and Padma, Chars are typically characteristic of the fifteen Northern districts of Bangladesh, including Kurigram, Gaibandha, Nilphamari, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Lalmonirhat, Jamalpur etc. In this report, all these aforementioned districts are referred to as Northern Areas, unless otherwise specified. This survey is limited to only five Chars under four districts (Table 2 in chapter 1), and they are referred to as Study Areas (or Surveyed/Sampled Areas) for the purposes of this report. Also, to note, this report differentiates between the terms core Char land and Char areas in that, the former refers to only the Char part excluding the mainland, while the latter includes both of them.

Char areas across Bangladesh

Total Char Area in North Total char area in other than North

750 ; 33% 1,500 ; 67%

Figure 1: Distribution of Charlands in Northern and non-Norther Bangladesh


According to studies, approximately 2,250 km2 of the total land in Bangladesh is defined as Char; this reported land area is subject to continuous change relative to the accretion and or erosion dynamics in river waters. The Northern regions of the country accommodate almost 67% of total Charlands, amounting to 1500 km2 (BBS, 2012); this number is similarly not stagnant, since these areas expand or shrink down continuously.


Source: BBS, 2012

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Topology Char land is formed of unstable sandy soil, characterized by a continuous accretion and erosion process. These lands are constituted of three different soil types: clayloam, sandy-loam and loam, with a statistically significant 75% of the Char lands being sandy-loam type. The lands can also be divided according to their height: low land, medium elevated land, and highlands. Chars can be categorized in two types: mainland Chars (attached to mainland) and island Chars (totally isolated). Sometimes the island and attached Chars appear to be less productive than adjacent mainland areas. The major reasons for this are the relatively less favorable soil conditions in some of the Chars (EGIS, 2000)16. In addition Char lands require relatively more irrigation, which imposes an additional cost burden for Char farmers. Some Chars offer good prospective lands for sand mining; these areas could be exploited to supply the increasing demand for sand as a construction material, without jeopardizing bio-ecological diversity.


Demography Around 1.5 million people reside in the Char areas. On the mainland, the population density is calculated to be around 1000 persons per square kilometer17, while the density of the Charlands is much lower. To note, a more accurate picture of population density for these areas is attained when captured for a point at time rather than for a period of time, as both the land size and number of Char dwellers are continuously changing due to land erosion, new accretion and migration flows. The population growth rate for these communities is roughly 2%, when accounting for in-Char birth rate, death rate and in-migration.
Table 8: Demographic Composition for Northern Chars

The demographic composition, as illustrated in Table 8, reveals the high concentrations of young populations in these areas. 39% of the composition is represented by those in the 0-14 age group, while a significant 38% of the population is constituted by 25 54 year olds (Table 8). The male-female ratio is estimated to be 40:60 for these particular communities, with similar trends seen for Char children.
Age Group 0 14 years old 15 24 years old 25 54 years old 55 64 years old 65 years and plus Percentile Population 39% 15% 38% 6% 2%


Meteorology Life and livelihood in Chars is drastically different from that on the mainland. Adverse weather patterns and natural calamities profoundly influence how the Char folk live, at times fating them to cycles of vulnerability and poverty. Due to its geographical positioning, Chars have always been catastrophe-prone areas subject to frequent

16 17 18

EGIS (2000). Riverine Chars in Bangladesh The University Press Limited. Source: Maize Value Chain Analysis 2013 Northern Char Context, GMark Consulting Limited

Source: CLP report, Rural Development and Cooperative Division under the Government of Bangladesh, 2012

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climatic shocks (floods, drought, cyclones and the like). The global climate change phenomenon has intensified the issues further in these areas. Impact of climate change has been detailed described in (dis) enabling environment chapter.

3.2 Socio-Economic Features

3.2.1 Natural and Institutional Infrastructure Chars are characterized by no or poor infrastructure, and have poor and slow transportation systems or networks, making communication and accessibility across these sandy stretches incredibly difficult. The primary method of commuting to the mainland is by boat, and this is only feasible during the rainy season. In the dry season, the only option for the bulk of these people is to walk across these treacherous stretches too far off mainland, regardless the distance or time involved. Those who can afford to, use animal or push carts, but these transport modes are in short supply and not always readily available at most places. Some initiatives were taken to construct a minimum standard of infrastructure in Char lands, and roads and pavements were continually being reconstructed year-round. However, these interventions were temporary at best, and were not adequate to withstand even seasonal natural disasters. Electricity and gas are a far reality for the Char people. Some households that are in close vicinity to the mainland may have limited access to electric connections. However, these do not avail steady or safe supplies because the electric lines connecting them from profiteering mainland residences or businesses are illegally obtained without government approval. For the vast majority of the Char folk, buying or hiring rechargeable batteries is the only power source available to run basic electronics appliances like mobile phone, radio etc, in their households. The primary sources of fuel in these areas are firewood and cow-dung. Tele-communication is normally confined to mainland areas due to no or low network coverage in core Char lands. Some well-off dwellers of Char lands own personal land lines or cell phones; however, the majority has to rely on local service providers or request their neighbors in times of need. Established financial, higher educational and health institutions are also concentrated on the mainland, with no, if not limited provisions available in Char lands. Such institutions are mainly located in mainland market places. These are some accounts of basic medical supplies available in the core Char lands, but these are inadequate when accounted for the sheer population numbers and more complicated medical situations. 3.2.2 Social Norms and Practices The social beliefs, values and practices in Chars mirror those of the nearby mainland. Most of the households are male headed, and a few encourage female participation in powerful positions. Even fewer to none recognize the volume of tasks performed by all Char women- starting from household chores, providing food, to
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child rearing, and basically looking after all members of the family, . Men are the conventional wage-earners. They have the ultimate access to markets, resultant of social preferences and conventional practices that favour males, and other correlated factors of distance and affordability of transports. However, in households where the men are absent, women take the lead. The level of womens involvement in agriculture depends on the type of crops, the season and on the area in question as well. In most cases, women are more involved in post-harvesting activities rather than in the processes before harvest. Decision making within family matters are participatory, but with men domination as usual. 3.2.3 Income and Literacy Char people are amongst the poorest and most destitute communities in Bangladesh. As observed during the study, at least 60% of Char people are living beneath subsistence levels. These populations also account for the landless. This study found the average monthly household income for Char people to be around BDT 4,580 for those who own below 100 decimals of land, and BDT 16,650 for those possessing 100 decimals of land or more. An important issue to note here is that higher incomes (actually, less worse income) do not necessarily translate into those households being rich or economically solvent, as every year, a huge portion of that income needs to be spent for recouping from the damage dealt by natural disasters.

Monthly household Income in BDT

20000 15000 10000 5000 0 <100 decimal >100 dec 4580 16650

Figure 2: Monthly Household Income of Char People

The literacy rate for Char people is found to be above 90% in the study areas! This incredulous statistic is actually a distortion resultant of the definition of literacy adopted in Bangladesh. Anyone who can sign his or her name and/or signature regardless the errors made in its attempts is considered to be literate. However, as the study revealed, only a maximum of 30% of adults in Study Char areas had attended schools, at least up to primary level. On the other hand, literacy rate, in terms of institutionalized education, is above 70% for children. Reasons behind such breakthrough numbers include the government free-cost education policy and the general rise in awareness for some among parents.
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3.3 Income Generating Activities (IGAs) for the Chars (under Study)
The nature of income generating activities in mainland compared to the Charlands is different in the context of social choice and alternatives pertinent to each area. Like the rural mainland people, Char people are also involved in agriculture based activities. However, the latter has fewer options of crops to choose from, and often needs to go through seasonal in-migration in search of jobs or any other source of income, given that a significant portion of the land remains submerged every year. At least for a quarter of the year, Char people, particularly men, are forced to leave their homesteads and move temporarily to the mainland, or further, to distant districts to in search for better wages. Cultivation Farming is the main type of IGA prevalent in Chars. Most of the households, regardless of their income status, in the Charlands of Rangpur, Gaibandha and Jamalpur are dependent on agricultural activities (GMark Study, 2013; Abdur Rob et. al., 2005). Almost everyone in Chars, regardless of their income status, is engaged in the cultivation of different crops and vegetables. Such a vast majority is involved in farming because it is considered lucrative for a limited time in the Charlands for the yields of high-valued crops that can be harvested before the floods begin. In addition, due to the lack of other viable long-term livelihood alternatives, farming provides relatively the most sustenance, given the climatic and social contexts. However, farmers are constrained to cultivating only particular kinds of crops that are suited to the Charland environment. Crops like paddy, maize, wheat, potato, chili, and various vegetables etc. are commonly farmed. Local BORO rice is mainly grown in the lowland areas, adjacent to water bodies. The medium and highland areas are better suited to grow maize, wheat, sugarcane, millet, sweet potato, groundnut, chili, khesheri, and legumes are grown. Fisheries For the purposes of this report, fisheries include both natural and commercial fishing; the former refers to fishing from natural or open water bodies, and the latter from designated lakes spawned with fish for specifically commercial capacities. Being surrounded by water during the wet seasons, Char folk can benefit from fishing from these natural water sources, or farming fish for commercial reasons. To note, some fish primarily for household consumption, and not always for selling their products in markets. This opportunity, however, is strictly subject to the availability of water and/or accessibility to flowing rivers. Drought is a major restrictive factor that impedes this avenue of sustenance in certain seasons or areas. Fishing is an important but not dominant economic activity in the Char lands. Paradoxically, unlike their other avenues of subsistence, fishing activity and opportunities thrive in high-flood years.. Moreover, during the monsoon season institutions governing access to these fishing waters tend to be relatively relaxed, thereby allowing for more fishers to work in these areas. However, during peak floods, strong river currents may prevent high fishing activities.
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Livestock Rearing livestock in the Charlands is traditionally one of the major productive activities. It is used for household consumption purposes (considered a cost saving rather income generating activity), or for commercial purposes. Poultry and bovine are the common livestock types reared. Mostly chicken, cattle, goat, duck and sheep are found in Char households. A study indicated that goats are relatively more important for poorer households; 25% of these status households own goats and 22% share in goats (Thompson, 2000)19. Livestock ownership may vary considerably between areas and over time due to their increased vulnerability to floods, theft and common ailments. These problems are more significant in Char areas than in mainland because of the differences in housing capacity, security and impacts of natural disasters. Day labourer Day labouring activities are another source of income for Char people; a multitude of factors underlie the adoption of this livelihood source. People seeking day labour grow in numbers during the flood season, when other income sources within Charlands are in short supply. They move to mainland and cities for the season to find jobs that pay by the day. However, farmers who are considered extreme poor and marginal, who do note own farmlands or do not have the financial float for sharecropping, serve as labourers throughout the year. Common forms of day labourer activities include: tilling the farmlands or digging the grounds, pulling rickshaws or animal carts, and other such activities involving arduous manual labour. Typically, day labouring is a male-dominated activity as it often requires incredible physical strength, or travelling or moving away from homesteads to distant places, or other culturally sensitive factors that are ill-suited for women. These labourers work on pre-set wage rates, set according to the type of activities, seasonal demand, work areas and to some extent, labour-negotiation. Wage rates notably vary on the grounds of gender. This issue of wag-rate disparity is detailed in the Value Chain chapter.

3.4 Maize-based Cropping System in Chars

Cropping systems in Bangladesh are predominantly rice based due to the compatibility of the crop with topological and natural factors of the region, and other bio-physical as well as socio-economic facets. Cropping patterns around the Boro and Aman rice variety are most popularly followed. Farmers arrange the cultivation of their crops according to these patterns, based on their respective necessity and demands, and the experience, skills and knowledge level of the farmer, in addition to other factors like technical feasibility. As noted earlier, of all maize varieties, hybrid maize is more popularly cultivated to supply the poultry and fisheries industries. Economically, hybrid maize is far more

Thompson, P. M. (2000). Bangladesh Charlands a review of assets and change, DFID.

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profitable than Boro rice and other competitive crops, as illuminated by the findings observed in our study. Maize cropping is expected to expand at around 15% per year, driven by a booming poultry industry despite the temporary setbacks from avian flu. From 2000 onwards, maize has increasingly been considered as a lucrative cash crop with expanding market demand (Ali et al., 2008). As found in our study, Char farmers follow wide variants of cropping patterns across areas and time, given the high incidence of natural calamities and the different necessities that arise. .Traditionally, a cropping pattern dichotomizes a year into three seasons: Rabi (mid-October mid-April), Kharif 1 (mid-April mid-July), and Kharif 2 (mid-July mid-October). Maize is normally cultivated during Rabi season, and to a much lesser extent, some summer varieties are cultivated during Kharif 1. Boro rice, jute and maize in Char areas.
Table 9: Maize based cropping patterns prevailing in Chars Alternatives of Cropping Patterns in Chars (Rabi Kharif 1 Kharif 2) Maize/Chili Jute Fallow Maize Jute Seed Bed (Rice) Chili/Maize Jute Aman Rice Chili/Maize/Groundnut Jute Seed Bed Maize Vegetables Aman Maize/Chili Vegetables Aman Onions Wheat/Maize Jute Chili Jute Fallow Fallow Maize Fallow Maize Fallow Fallow Maize Wheat/Jute Fallow Maize Jute Rice
Source: Maize Value Chain Analysis 2013 Northern Char Context, GMark Consulting Limited.

some vegetables are the common substitutes to

Unlike farmers from other parts of the country, Char farmers cannot cultivate round the year for floods that inundate thir lands almost half the year. Therefore, some of them are engaged in relay cropping and/or mixed cropping. In most cases, maize farming is followed by cultivating jute/wheat in Kharif-1 season, and keeping a fallow in Kharif-2. According to the 2008 study carried out by Ali et al. (2008) on Northern cropping pattern in Bangladesh, they found that in Bogra, Rangpur (Mithapukur Upazilla), Rangpur (Pirganj Upazilla), Rangpur (Sadar Upazilla) and Kushtia (Sadar Upazilla) there are 20, 8, 5, 4 and 6 maize based cropping patterns respectively. In our study, T. aman rice, vegetables, potato, T. aus rice, onion, garlic, jute, are the competitive alternating crops of the patterns in the Northern Chars.

3.5 Production of Maize in Chars

In Bangladesh, maize is produced in Rabi and early Kharif. During the Rabi season, both the total cultivated area and production of maize in the increase, given that it is the longest season, and farmers are engaged for a prolonged time in maize farming. Much lower maize-involvement is observed during Kharif-1 season because of the risk of flash floods in early monsoon, or risks of hailstorms and excessive rains, in addition to lack of proper irrigation facilities. Lands are completely submerged by Kharif 2, and as such, are left in fallow during the season with no production of maize.

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Table 10: Area Trend for Maize Cultivation in study areas

Years District: Rangpur Pirgacha 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 93.72 168.69 230.03 242.91 269.90 Kaunia 337.38 506.07 920.13 1026.81 1147.10

Area(ha) Nilphamari Dimla 149.95 266.35 506.07 632.59 648.81 Gaibandha Fulchori 187.43 337.38 766.78 984.03 1038.99 Jamalpur Dewangonj 91.71 281.15 843.45 1226.84 1349.53

Total (ha)

860.19 1559.64 3266.46 4113.18 4454.33

Source: Maize Value Chain Analysis 2013 Northern Char Context, GMark Consulting Limited.

Table 10 provides approximate calculations for five-year data of areas under maize cultivation based on the data gathered through interviewing farmers and key informants (KI) from CP Bangladesh Co. Ltd, Petrochem Bangladesh Ltd, and Eon Agro Industries Ltd. Over the five year period, a trend of gradually increasing land involvement for maize farming is observed. The perception revealed in key informant and group interviews is that despite more land being devoted to maize, maize land acreage increase rate is still not satisfactory. They stated that if even one-fourth of those Char areas could be brought under maize cultivation, through promotional activities, the present local need for maize by feed processing industries, as well as for other uses, could be easily met. Respondent perceptions also triggered the understanding that although the absolute figure of farmlands under maize cultivation is steadily increasing, the trend is not proportionate to the expansion of Charlands and other crops. However, as Table 11 demonstrates, maize production is undoubtedly raising over time, at least in the study areas.
Table 11: Production trends of maize in study areas

Years District: Rangpur Pirgacha 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12

Area-wise total Production (MT) Nilphamari Dimla Gaibandha Fulchori Jamalpur Dewangonj Kaunia

Year Total (MT)

600 1,100 1,900 2,200 2,500

2,700 4,500 7,500 8,100 8,700

1,200 2,200 3,700 5,300 5,900

1,300 2,400 5,600 7,800 8,500

600 2,600 7,000 10,000 12,500

6,400 12,800 25,700 33,400 38,100

Source: Maize Value Chain Analysis 2013 Northern Char Context, GMark Consulting Limited.

During the FY 2007-08, the total volume of maize production for the five upazillas in the four Northern districts, was roughly 6,400 metric tons with around 860 hectares of land being farmed. In the course of five years, by the FY 2011-12, this production had
__________________________________________________________________________________________________ Maize Value Chain Analysis 2013 Northern Char Context 23

increased by 495%, and areas by 418%. The average growth rate of maize production for these upazillas, based on the above data, is calculated to be 62%.

Maize Production Rate

27.00 26.00 25.00 24.00 23.00 22.00 21.00 20.00 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 Mound/bigha
Figure 3: Maize production rate per bigha in the study areas

26.00 24.95 23.91 22.61 24.68



The recurring trend observed in this study reveals that the maize production rate per unit of land in these upazillas is also increasing over time. This efficiency is expected to be because of increased skilled acquired by the farmers, their awareness on and accessibility to quality seeds, controlled pest management, improved technology and other improved access to agriculture extension knowledge.

3.6 Demand-Supply Situation for Inputs and Equipment

For the particular areas under the study, the supply of inputs was reported as being adequate, with rare periods of shortages, and virtually no severe crisis was mentioned. However, it was noted that the supply of Urea at times falls short of its demand. In addition, the quality seeds of some particular brands were reported to be not always available. For instance, an acute shortage of Indian Monsanto seed, claimed to be one of the highest demanded quality seed, was reported for last year. The importer only got 40% of the amount they had demanded from its parent company because of its increased demand across the globe, and especially for the demand increased demand in Indias itself.
Table 12: Annual market demand-supply scenario for drawn from the study

Input Items Seeds Fertilizers Pesticides


Annual Demand (KG) 71,501 3,633,333 7,967

Annual Supply (KG) 67,399 3,480,000 7,634

Surplus / Deficit Amount (KG) -4,102 -153,333 -333 % 94% 96% 96%


Although pesticide is often traded in various forms like in bottle, in liquid, powder etc., for simplicity we have here used KG as its measuring unit.

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People in the study areas have a gross demand for seeds at around 71,501 kg per annum (or for two seasons: Rabi and Kharif 1); approximately 94% of this demand is met. It should be noted that the demand recorded is an underestimation of the actual market demand, given that some farmers satisfy a partial portion of their demands by using seeds stored from previous years. The annual market demand for all types of fertilizers and nutrients in the study areas is estimated to be 3.6 million kg; of this, approximately 96% is met. Once again, this amount also underrates the actual demand volume, as a portion of the demand is met by compost from households or from other free or low-cost sources. The demand for pesticides is a much more complicated calculation, as the unit of measurement for pesticides is different: some are in kilograms; some are in litres, whereas some can be even in mandays (particularly when a sprayer is hired with the cost of pesticide built-in to the wage rate). Another reason that makes the calculation difficult to ascertain is that different pesticides require different doses, based on their effectiveness; therefore, the volume demanded for the same type of pesticide may vary based on the quality of the brand. For simplicity purposes we have measured this demand keeping kilogram as the unit of measurement. Like in the case of fertilizers, the demand for pesticides is satiated by around 96% leaving about 333 kg of demand unmet.

3.7 Maize Based Value Added Products in Chars

Household Consumptions A maximum of 1% of maize produced in Char areas, collected from farmlands or market, is directly consumed by households,. Maize is most commonly consumed as food by boiling the cob (ear) in salt water or by baking it on coal, or even cooking shelled kernels like dal(lentil) or rice. Popcorn from maize is not noticed in Char areas, even if this is very much popular in urban areas. Feed for Livestock More than 80% of maize produced in the Chars goes to poultry and fish feed processors, mainly for poultry or cattle, and fish. The emergence of the poultry industry necessitated an increase in demands for maize to produce fodders. The advent of the avian flu in the poultry sector in the latter half of the 2010s drove down demands for maize in the poultry sector, devastating maize farmers. However, the demands are seen to be reviving fast. Food ingredient (supplement of wheat) To some extent, the use of maize as a supplement to wheat is increasing. Maize is used in wheat flour mix (around 15-20%) in local markets; the incentive for this mixing is done to keep to cost low (as maize is cheaper to wheat). Chanachur and bread producers also mix powdered maize with flour used for their products. In cosmopolitan areas, the use of maize as mix substitutes in other foods is also increasing.
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Fuel Besides, food, feed, fodder and other industrial uses, the crop residue has added another dimension of mitigating the acute rural fuel crisis. The popularity of maize as fuel is rising even though the maize plant is not directly marketed as a source of fuel. From one bigha (33 decimals) of land of maize, the crop residue can produce cooking fuel for three months for a family of five members, according to the findings of the DAE Survey in 2009 and 2010 conducted in Rajshahi and Kishoreganj.

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__________________________________________________________________________________________________ Maize Value Chain Analysis 2013 Northern Char Context 27


4.1 Actors Involved in the Core Value Chain
Input Sellers In maize subsector, the typical bundle of inputs refers to: seeds, fertilizers cum nutrients, pesticides or medicines. Vendors of such inputs are of many and varied types and appear at different stages of the value chain, based on their relation to the maize-process. The primary input sellers are the companies that manufacture or import the various inputs mentioned before. These products are then disseminated by them to their respective distributors, who are considered the actors at the second stage in maize value chain. The distributors in turn sell their products to different locallevel retailers and at times directly to farmers as well.
On an average, 5, 3 and 15 for seed, fertilizer and pesticide respectively

Manufacturers / Importers

(the average for second stage actors are included with the numbers presented for first tstage actors)

Dealers / Distributors

Company Agent / Sales Executive

Average no of local retailers is 18 (including all types of inputs)

Local Retailers

Local Retailers

Local Retailers

Figure 4: Channel of Inputs and Input Actors in Maize Value Chain

Local-level input retailers are the third (and most likely the ultimate) type of input sellers who are directly linked with farmers. In most cases, such retailers handle inputs of all kinds like seeds, pesticides, micro-nutrients and fertilizers. All of these local level input vendors, like seed or pesticide retailers, operate similarly in their businesses; however, only in the case of fertilizer dealers, the retailers need to be licensed and enlisted under government agency, and thus only the government authorized vendors can trade fertilizers (with a few exceptions). Most retailers are located on the mainland, but some vendors are also found selling a variety of product lines including input items in core Charlands. Local-level input sellers generally hold a permanent business outlet or shop in local market places on the mainland; these are also a few travelling vendors who set up mobile stalls and conduct their business only on haat days. In most cases, the same vendor carries a range of inputs from seeds to fertilizers and medicines. Across the study area, around 18 local-level input retailers with permanent business shops were found, not accounting for the travelling and temporary ones. The first and second stage actors (i.e. manufacturers, importers, dealers, distributors and company agents) are often representatives of the same organization, and may play multiple roles from both top stages of the value chain. As such, the average numbers of these actors noted in this
__________________________________________________________________________________________________ Maize Value Chain Analysis 2013 Northern Char Context 28

report account for both stages together, finding, respectively, 5, 3 and 15, for seed, fertilizer and pesticide related actors in the study area,. Farmers The repots aims to focus on farmers who are engaged in farming and cultivating maize in captioned Char areas. However, it needs to be acknowledged that maize is neither the sole crop they farm, nor is farming the only income generating activity they are engaged in. These farmers are mostly smallholders, either landless or owners of small areas of land. There are also some farmers who own lands, and are also counted among the rich. In our study, we have defined the farmers under three broad categories based on their land holding sizes. The first type constitutes of those who either own no land at all, or landholdings below 2 bigha. called landless famers. The second includes poor farmers defined to have holdings of land in between 2 - 5 bigha. Rich farmers are the last category, defined as farmers who own more than 5 bigha of land. Two important issues need to be acknowledged: one bigha represents around 33 decimals of land, covering both crop field and residence area. secondly, although a bigha represents a fairly large area, a few bighas of land in Char area does not equate to economic solvency due to their vulnerability and lack of cultivability for round the year. The study approximates that around 12,342 farmers are engaged in maize cultivation in the study area. Of the total approximation, around 6,033 farmers are landless, 4867 are poor, and the rest fall under rich category. Figure 5 shows the percentile distribution of famers based on their land holdings.


Landless 49% Small Farmer Medium and Large Farmer


Figure 5: Farmers distribution based on their land holdings

However, to note, the size of land possessed by farmers may not be a good indicator of their solvency or life standard. We posit the following as reasons attributed for such distortion: (i) despite owning a certain recorded amount of land, much of it is eroded or washed away or inundated for the majority of the year due to the river dynamics or excessive rains characteristic of the regions; (ii) with the functionality and utilization of the land impeded for a significant portion of the year, the landholders are not able to farm their lands, (iii) even if the land is cultivated successfully, the attainment of crops, their transport to markets, and profits from sales are not ensured.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________ Maize Value Chain Analysis 2013 Northern Char Context 29

Forias Forias are traditional small-scale floating traders who act as profiteering middlemen between the small farmers and the trade markets. They buy directly from the growers and sell to other traders or to local markets. They collect various crop and farm products directly from the farmers by approaching them door-to-door in their communities. They buy the farmers for the lowest negotiated prices possible, and smaller farmers with limited market networks comply having no other viable buyers for their products. On an average, there are 31 forias located per study area. Price negotiation process is detailed in the section following, under Pricing Mechanism and Profitability of farmers. Small Traders Small traders are, to some extent, similar to forias, except that the former does not accrue their purchases via door-to-door processes. These traders station themselves at local market places (with or without permanent business outlets established) and buy different products including maize from forias or even directly from farmers who come to the markets to sell their produce. About 10 small traders are operating per area in the study region. Contractors Contractors follow a different approach to farmers; they get into contract (often neither written nor formal) with farmers and bind them to cultivate products and then sell the produce solely to them after harvesting. In this regard, contractors provide farmers with some basic and essential supports like fund, technological knowledge and some other forms of support. Contractors then sell their products to mainly large-scale processors or feed millers or sometimes even to the wholesalers. Contractors generally extend their operations over a wide business territory, with businesses in multiple market places, and sometimes in multiple districts. Monopolizing on their extensive business areas, they exist in particular positions in the chain. Only 3 (three) contractors were located in the four districts under the study area. Wholesalers Wholesalers are the predominant large-scale traders in the value chain. They mainly collect products from small traders, and sometimes from forias or contractors. Citing patterns in the Fulchori Upazilla of Gaibandha District, the study found that external wholesalers (i.e. actors from outside existing business territory) at times come to the local Fulchori bazar to buy maize in bulk. In these cases, they have access to the wider market through local traders or contractors. On an average, around 7 wholesalers are found in every district under the study areas. Wholesalers normally have an established business network with owners of cargo transport vehicles (like chatals and trucks), or own these themselves.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________ Maize Value Chain Analysis 2013 Northern Char Context 30

Industrial Processors / Firms (Feed Mills) Industrial Processors are amongst the largest types of business actors. They process agro-products into different intermediate and/or final goods. Even if some industrial processors exist as medium scale operations, they still are the ultimate actors in the core value of maize. There are, on average, six Industrials per district under the study. In our case, industrial processors refer to mainly poultry and fish feed millers, and bakeries, who use maize as an input to process and produce different food items for human consumption or animal fodder. Community Based Organizations (CBOs) The REECALL project operates by developing Community Based Organizations (CBO) to engage target households in livelihood initiatives. CBOs drive the resilience of communities. CBOs provide the communities with information, skill training, and confidence building, contributing to the following breakthroughs: The communities are capable to anticipate the risk associated with climate changes and disaster, and to respond accordingly Households are able to engage in alternative livelihood activities adaptive to climate variability. Producer groups emerged from targeted communities develop wider market linkage and able to gain fair price for their products. CBO representatives are able to negotiate with service providers to improve producers accessibility to their entitlements. Communities are aware about disaster risk reduction (DRR), disaster preparedness and are able to manage and to adapt with climate variability. Womens leadership is enhanced, and their positions strengthens withinin their own families, communities and the public sector, while inciting recognition of their decision making powers Incidence of violence against women is reduced, and women emerge as leaders to engage in livelihood options and can represent their households and communities.

4.2 CBOs Dynamics

CBO Structure CBOs combine most (not all) of the households together in one group. Differing by area, CBOs encompass around 100 to 500 households (in local term 100 500 Khana) per area. These organizations incorporate different groups, like producers of maize, chili, and other products, local service providers, and the likes, so that each group functions better with different networks and perspectives included. Around 1773 maize farmers were found within different CBOs in the study areas. CBO activities under REECALL
__________________________________________________________________________________________________ Maize Value Chain Analysis 2013 Northern Char Context 31

The groups in the surveyed areas are found doing the following activities: a) Facilitating and attending monthly meetings: Group members arrange and attend regular monthly meetings to share and discuss their experiences and bring up current economic, social and livelihood problems pertinent to each, and search for viable solutions in a group setting.

Picture 2: CBO office and Food Bank at Kaunia, Rangpur

b) Collective purchases: The producer groups in Kaunia Upazilla, under Rangpur District, and in Dimla Upazilla, under Nilphamari District are active in collective seed purchasing. The purpose is to receive high quality maize seeds at low costs. Moreover, community purchases enable higher collective bargaining power for individual farmers translating into better prices received via bulk seed purchases made from from the input suppliers. c) Collective sales: CBO groups in Rangpur and Nilphamari are also involved in community selling of maize to the local forias and traders. Collective sales of maize facilitates for the maize farmers to receive higher prices as product transport costs are slashed since the forias and traders come to their end to purchase the products, thus eliminating , travel costs to markets. d) Support for knowledge dissemination: Groups receive technical support via information dissemination on proper maize cultivation techniques and postharvest management processes, market advice on maize selling, and rights advocacy to receive extension services from the government. This activity has been found prominent in the group named Sukher Thikana in Dimpla upazilla at Nilphamari district. e) Planning for crop production: The majority of the groups are found to be active in planning for crop production processes for individual member farmers. They figure out the climatic, market and crop field conditions of the farmers and then prepare crop production plans based on their findings. The activity also includes the selection of farmers and who will produce what type of crops in the coming season.
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f) Food bank: A group in Kaunia Upazilla, in Rangpur, Tabu Haiboth Kha Maize Producer Group, has a food bank component to their activities. Families in Char areas are regularly inflicted with droughts or floods, so it becomes really important to find ways of making sure families have access to food all year round. This is ensured through the food bank mechanism. The group introduced a RICE FOOD BANK that has a reserve capacity of 20 maunds of rice to mitigate a food crisis situation, locally referred to as monga. g) Seed bank: The above mentioned group in Kaunia upazilla is also found maintaining a community seed bank as a savings account. Maize, kalizira, jute and tisi seeds are deposited into a secure storage (locally preserved) with provisions of future withdrawals on a needs basis. h) Group Savings: Several CBOs in the study areas have initiated group savings mechanism. Maize producer groups, however, are still in their early stages, and these savings programs have not yet taken off. Group Leadership Each group leader is chosen by the members through a participatory process, with support from respective project field personnel. The leadership position is rotated yearly. Representatives for other positions Secretary, Cashier, and Executive Members - in these groups are also elected on a participatory basis. Some of group leaders are male and some are female on an average, the ratio holds 20% and 80% respectively. The leaders are responsible for arranging monthly meetings, effective planning, activity designing, linkage, resolving group member conflicts, and other such issues. Group leaders also delegate responsibilities to the other members of the group, in order to ensure enhanced performance and functionality of the organization. In case of decision-making, all decisions are taken through participatory processes, where both the group leaders and members are engaged equally. Fund uses of CBOs Many of the CBOs utilize a big share of their finance to invest in inputs businesses. The others use it mainly in credit service schemes for its members of CBOs and producer groups. SWOT of CBOs Strengths Producer groups are linked with CBOs that ease transferring of knowledge Some CBOs have government approved registrations to operate Management committees are highly active in carrying out their responsibilities and group mobilization There are no conflicting interests between leaders and members 90% of the assessed CBOs keep records of member accounts (although there remain inconsistencies due to disorganization)

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Many groups do not have a minimum fund to operate business Limited physical assets like no proper or established meeting houses negate functionality of organizations There remains lack of feasible annual work plan and income generation initiatives plan Group activities not effective in all areas of operation Huge numbers of Char farmers (producers and suppliers) work closely with CBOs, which provides them with more access to input channels and mechanisms to produce higher outputs Membership presents a scope to link smallholders and other small-scale farmers with national level markets or corporate buyers Membership enhances potential human resources skills and opportunities to utilize the full capacity of members in their respective business Fund raising options availed through savings and share selling mechanisms allow member farmers to start-up businesses on their own capital Members have no linkage with formal financial institutions for business loans Many members lack adequate understanding about market demand, supply, buyers preference, standard demands and others dynamics Lack of experiences working with target traders and lacking appropriate skills to negotiate business deals independently



__________________________________________________________________________________________________ Maize Value Chain Analysis 2013 Northern Char Context 34

4.3 Functions and Factors of the Core Maize Value Chain

Table 13: Factors related to core maize value chain

Functions within Channel Inputs (Seeds)

Positive Factors Seeds are available in Char areas, also in core Char land. A wide range of quality seeds is available Fertilizers are distributed through authorized or licensed dealers. Supply of fertilizers to farmers are not facing crisis. Pesticides are available at mainland market place at the retail shops

Negative Factors Some farmers are found using own preserved seeds from previous years production, which is not recommended by technical professional Farmers are widely dissatisfied with the low quality of fertilizers. Fertilizers are not available in core Char lands. Farmers do not have adequate knowledge about pests and pesticides, and are subject to being cheated by providers Farmers are not happy or confident with the quality of pesticides available. Farmers lack access to modern technology and equipment, in addition to inadequate service from both private and public sectors.

Inputs (Fertilizers)

Inputs (Pesticides)


The experiencing and skill levels of farmers are increasing significantly

4.4 Functioning of the Core Maize Value Chain

4.4.1 Pre-Farming Level: Seeds Beej,or, seeds, are acquired by farmers through two avenues: (i) from farmers own seed preservation from the previous years production; and/or (ii) from local seed retailers. The stored maize seeds come either from the farmers own stores of their previous years production, or are collected from their neighbors similar preserved stores. Seeds are generally preserved in multi poly-bags, doubled up one inside another, and kept for a period of eight to nine months; the seeds are rechecked monthly by farmers for quality assurance. Although these stored methods are not conventionally considered effective or technically feasible, 30% of farmers from sample groups use maize seeds from their own preserved stores. This practice is prevalent in the Shibdeb Char under Pirgacha Upazilla of Rangpur District, and for the Kholabari Char under the Fulgachi Upazilla of Gaibandha District. To note, farmers are not dependent on solely using stored seeds, rather, they mix bought packaged seeds for use.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________ Maize Value Chain Analysis 2013 Northern Char Context 35

10% seed goes directly to farmers Seed Company (source of 90% seed needs)


Retailer (90%)


Preserved Seeds (10% of seed needs)

Figure 6: Distribution channel for seeds

The majority of the seeds used by farmers are bought from different local or national companies, root-level seed retailers, and other local trader networks earlier mentioned. In this regard, 90% cases of the study area farmers bought from local seed retailers, whereas the rest 10% was directly sourced from company distributors. Local seed retailers collect their products either from large dealers or from company representatives. Typically, seed retailers are found in market places on the mainland. In Gabgachi and Kholabari (under the Gaibandha District), however, some seed retailers are found on the core Char land. In the study areas, seeds from companies like CP, BRAC, National, Auto, Hakim, Arena, Semco, ACI, BADC and other related corporations are widely found in the maize seed trade. Companies like Auto Equipment, Petrochem Limited, Syngenta etc. import seeds from different countries, mainly from Thailand and India. Maize yield rates, like any other cereal crop, depend on the quality and appropriateness of inputs like seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and farming techniques, and ultimately, the intrinsic fertility of the land. The quality of seeds depends on a complex interplay of factors - the germination rate, resilience against adverse climates and pests. Farmers can perform a basic quality-check of the seeds at home using the traditional water-wet germination test; however, very few farmers practice this process. A major reason why farmers do not conduct quality- checks is because they generally buy seeds on the word of its reputation; they are informed by recommendations from seed retailers, co-farmers, GO-NGO officials and most significantly, the prior personal experiences with the particular brands by the farmers themselves. Additionally, the respective demands, as well as asking prices for particular brands or varieties are good indications of the quality of the seed. The price of seeds ranges from BDT160 to BDT270 per kilogram depending on the variety, quality and company branding. Farmers prefer the varieties of 900M Gold, 900 M, NK-40, 818 and 838 for higher yields. Although experts suggest that only 2 kg of quality seeds per bigha is the most effective and best practice, the farmers in the study areas were found to apply y 2-3 kg seeds per bigha, on average.
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Table 14: Cost of Inputs per Bigha per Crop Season Particulars Seeds Fertilizers Urea TSP MOP DAP Zipsum Pesticides Total KG KG Unit Average Price per Unit 21 BDT 215 BDT 20 BDT 22 BDT 15 BDT 26 BDT 6 Lump-sum Average Requirement per Bigha (33 Decimals) 22 2.5 KG 60 KG 30 KG 20 KG 20 KG 20 KG Lump-sum Total Cost of Input per Bigha (33 Decimals) BDT 537 BDT 1200 BDT 660 BDT 300 BDT 520 BDT 120 BDT 253 BDT 3,590


Source: Maize Value Chain Analysis 2013 Northern Char Context, GMark Consulting Limited.

Fertilizers Shaar, or fertilizers, such as Urea, TSP, Zinc, MOP, DAP and Zipsum, are the most commonly known and used varieties by farmer groups. Urea, in particular, is the most used (in many cases, the only used) fertilizer for the maize subsector. As per national policy, the government dispenses Urea solely to its enlisted and certified agencies or dealers at the local and regional level. In the study areas, this procedure was found to be maintained. Any other fertilizer varieties are open for trade by any person or institution licensed to deal in micro-nutrients. Some farmers apply cow or other animal dung and compost as fertilizers in their fields. No formal evidence for pricing for compost was found in the course of the study. However, spoken accounts from farmers revealed that compost is not normally traded, but dumped, and farmers have to incur a minimum cost for transport, while fetching it from distant locations to the farmlands. Prices of fertilizers differ significantly over different time intervals, but are more or less static across the same areas. Based on information gathered during the study period, the following list of prices has been generated:
Table 15: Price list of fertilizers

Types of Fertilizers Urea T.S.P MOP DAP Zipsum

Price (BDT per KG) 20 22 15 26 6

Source: Maize Value Chain Analysis 2013 Northern Char Context, GMark Consulting Limited.

Across all study areas, the farmers were widely dissatisfied with the quality of fertilizers available. An observation from the study was that most of the farmers, and also a few traders, were doubtful regarding the quality of fertilizers they would
21 22

Average of seed prices at BDT 160 to BDT 270 Average of 2-3 KG found during study

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continue to have access to. The faltering quality is resultant of the lack of any quality check procedures at the retailer level, or any conventional techniques at the farmer level; the absence of government monitoring and regulation mechanisms in this area remains a key cause of such terrible quality. Some retailers, however, have maintained that expired and damaged products are often returned to the company or respective authorities. The amount and frequencies of use of fertilizers were found to be varied across areas depending on land fertility, seed variety and to some extent, farmers affordability. Urea is applied three times during the whole maize cultivation process, as compared to once for all other fertilizers which are only used during land preparation before sowing. According to conventional best practice recommended, for maize cultivation, 1 kg of Urea and TSP should be used per decimal of land; and 600 grams of MOP, DAP and Zipsum should be used per decimal of land. The following table summarizes the common practices as stated by farmers during the study:
Table 16: Common practice of fertilizer application in study areas

Types of Fertilizers Urea T.S.P MOP DAP Zipsum

Usage ( in 33 decimal) 50 kg in 3 times 30 kg in 1 time 20 kg in 1 time 20 kg in 1 time 20 kg in 1 time

The study found that fertilizers were available in most market places on the mainland, and there was no supply shortage observed; some, however, did refer to a supply crisis earlier in the decade, but this did not persist. Fertilizer retailers are notably not found in core Char land. The fertilizer chain is as follows: fertilizer companies supply the dealer at district levels; local retailers then collect the fertilizer from the dealers, and supply it to the farmers. As the following figure depicts, 90% of the fertilizer passes to farmers through retailers, and the other 10% is sold to farmers directly by the respective dealers.

Fertilizer Company


Retailer (90%)


10% of total fertilizer

Figure 7: Distribution channel of fertilizers

Pesticides and Crop Protection Pesticide is another important form of input for maize production. 85% of pesticides are sold to farmers by local level retailers. These retailers are supplied by companies producing and/or trading such pesticides and medicines. The pesticide companies generally dispense their products directly to local pesticide retailers through sales representatives or dealers outlets. The remaining 15% of the pesticides are sold
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directly to the farmers by agents and distributors themselves. The flow is illustrated in the figure below. Manufacturing and importing companies like ACI and Square are the most common names in the pesticide business. Syngenta, Auto Crop Care, SAMCO, National Agricare, Reneta, Emacon, BASF, and Marshal are smaller companies that market to Char areas. The local pesticide retailers either have permanent business establishments at market places, or are travelling traders, who conduct their business throughout the week or in some cases, only on haat days. To note, much like the fertilizer retailers, pesticide retailers were also found to be concentrated in the mainland market places, and no established shops were found in core Char lands. 15% of total pesticides

Pesticides Company

Agent/ Distributer

Retailer (85%)


Figure 8: Distribution channel of pesticides in Maize farming

Like in the case of fertilizers, the quality of pesticides is also an issue of concern of farmers in the study areas. Most farmers do not possess adequate knowledge on causes and effects of pests and pesticides. They tend to depend on the recommendations and information provided by pesticide vendors, government agriculture officials, NGO personnel and co-farmers. If any different or new variety of pest-problems arises, farmers consult the pesticide retailers (or Sub Assistant Agricultural Officer), describing the problem and they in turn assign generic or anonymous brand plant-medicines, which may or may not be the correct ones for the situation. Additionally, since most farmers are illiterate, they are unable of checking the instructions or expiry dates tagged on the pesticides. Farmers thus have no other choice but to rely on vendors responses or available medicines, which are not necessarily the appropriate diagnosis. During the study, a significant observation was that farmers were visibly unhappy and doubtful about the whole pesticide situation. On the other hand, pesticide vendors maintained that their products are always of quality at the time of selling. Pesticides are conventionally recommended to be applied once per crop harvest. In the study areas, it was found that farmers sometimes used pesticides in two phases: once before sowing, to purify the soil (mainly Furadan pesticide), and the other in a month after sowing (varieties vary, but main noted was Basudin). Furadan is typically applied manually, while the latter varieties are done by sprayer machines. Those who do not have a sprayer machine normally borrow it from neighbors, or alternatively hire a professional sprayer at the cost of usual wage rate. The price range of pesticides depends on the respective varieties, product brands, and quantities. This study, as such, provides a simplified average, accounting for the most common varieties and application practices, of BDT 478 that it costs a farmer to apply pesticides to the crops, including labor costs for its application.
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Farming and Post-harvest Level The post-harvest processes for maize are similar to other crops in rural areas. Farming activities in Char areas, involve more manual labour, and less technology. The whole process of maize cultivation constitutes a range of distinct and continuous pattern of tasks, from land preparation to selling maize. They are detailed according to their chronological sequence:

1. Land Preparation Land preparation covers tilling, initial weeding, levelling, ploughing, applying the first dose of fertilizers, and applying the first phase of pesticides, amongst any other related work of this kind. Tilling and ploughing are usually done three times before sowing either by automated tiller machines, or by animal drawn ploughs. Only a few large farmers own automated tiller machines, and they need to incur the additional cost for fuel; others hire these machines if they are available, which costs them an average of BDT 900 per bigha for tilling 3 times. Similarly, farmers who own animals use them to till their own lands and others hire the animal-ploughs from neighbours. Fertilizers are applied during this stage of land preparation; usually a mixture of Urea, TSP, MOP, DAP and Zipsum is used. During this phase, a few farmers from the study areas applied pesticides (Furadan) to eliminate malicious soil-bacteria. Details of fertilizers and pest controls are outlined in preceding section under inputs of prefarming level. Women participate during this stage furrowing and/or weeding. The estimated rate of womens participation is illustrated in Table 15 in the following sub-section. 2. Sowing Sowing is done after furrowing land in rows or lines. Women are primarily responsible for sowing. Maize is typically planted with distance of 6-8 inches in between plants, and 18-20 inches in between rows. 3. Watering/Irrigation The levels of irrigation is subject to the types of land, rain patterns, and to some extent, seed varieties prevalent in particular areas. Typically, the need for irrigation is higher in Char lands due to its sandy nature. In the survey, study areas were found to be irrigated 6-9 times, thus averaging 7 times per crop season. Typically, the land was irrigated once before sowing, and after that, at least six other times on a needs-basis. For irrigating their lands, some farmers need to hire providers of this service, given that most smallholders are unable to afford a shallow pump for irrigation. As the survey revealed, these farmers can sometimes negotiate the service charge, paying only for the fuel. 4. Re-fertilizing As mentioned earlier, fertilizers are often applied in three phases: i) during the land preparation stage when a mixture of different micro-nutrients is first applied; phases ii) and iii) are after the land is sowed, when only Urea is applied. 5. Pest Controlling After sowing, a wide range of medicines (the most common was Basudin) is sprayed on the crops to reduce insects. This is done typically once per crop season of maize, unless drastic diseases or pest situation arises.

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6. Land Re-cleansing In mid-crop season, another cleansing phase is undertaken, when spoiled furrow are rebuilt, some maize-plants are trimmed if required and weeding is done again. 7. Harvesting Harvesting is done primarily by women. This involves plucking ripe maize shoots from plants. 8. Transporting the crops home The harvest is generally transported back to the homesteads by the men. Women are not responsible for transporting the crops unless the farmland is very close to the house. 9. Shelling Maize cobs are shelled either by hand or machines. In our study areas, shelling machinery was not widely available or affordable. In most cases, shelling is done by women at home. Shelling by hand is time consuming, and can cause damage to the hands of the women who shell huge loads. However, hand-shelled corn is considered to be or better quality, and fetches better prices for households. The manual shelling process has been incorporated into rural culture as a time of festivities, when the women of the household get together with their friends, neighbors, and families, and shell in a group.

Picture 3: Women harvesting and shelling maize

10. Processing The processing stages refer to the drying, cleaning, sorting, and, if required, the storing of maize. These tasks are also mainly performed by the women. 11. Selling Maize is sold from the households (to forias), or taken to mainland market places (and sold to traders). Women tend to participate in sales made from home to forias, but men generally handle transporting the processed maize to further away market places, and selling them there. However, in women-led households females are responsible for selling the crops in market places as well; these women have to face compounding socio-economic barriers that impede their access to markets, including aspects of safety, transportation and poor physical and economic infrastructure. 4.4.3 Man-days and Gender-wise Roles in Maize Cultivation It needs to be noted that there were no extant research or studies that analysed gender roles in these areas that could be consulted for this particular study. However, this report draws from observations made of conventional practices in
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study areas, and respondent accounts, to form a generalized snap-shot of genderbased role and livelihood differentiations in the maize value chain. The participation of children are kept out of this analysis, as their involvement is not concrete and they are only involved when dire needs arise. Man days, referring to any day an agricultural labour works no less than an hour on the land, depends on an array of factors and sub-factors, like the expertise of the performer, the type of the activity performed, the availability of technology, and even on corresponding weather. The table details the common practices that have been observed during the study.
Table 17: Job distribution on gender ground and associated man-days Job distribution Male Female (household or labor)


Purchasing Inputs Tilling (3 times) Land preparation

80% 100%

20% --

Mandays Required in the whole process (per bigha) 1 3


Weeding Irrigation Fertilizing & pest controlling Furrowing (in rows)

85% 80% 100% 90% 100% 80%

15% 20% -10% -20%

2 2 1 2 2 12

-In case of manual tilling using cattle, its average mandays are 6.5. However here we assume power tiller which happens in 90% cases. -Man-days vary on the degree of water necessity --

Sowing Irrigation

Re-fertilizing Pest Controlling Land Re-cleansing Harvesting Fetching to Home

95% 100% 80% 20% 100%

5% -20% 80% --

2 1 2 2 3

Processing (Shelling) Processing (Drying, Cleaning, Sorting etc.) Selling Total

10% 20% 90%

90% 80% 10%

2.5 3 1 41.5

Mandays vary based on farmers expertise and density of sowing Varies on the degree of water necessity; general practice of watering in Char land is 6 times after sowing, each requiring 2 man-days ---Depends on maize production Depends on distance and maize production; average of common responses (2-4 mandays) -Mandays depends on sun, level of dryness desired by farmers etc.


Due to discrete and unparalleled answers from respondents, job distribution is simplified only between male and female, where male denotes male from both household and labor as well.

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As a whole, women are found to be more involved in post-harvest activities for maize farming, with some sporadic participation in on-farm operations. Womens contributions are above 80% in the areas of harvesting and shelling maize ears, and processing the maize kernels (performing jobs like drying, cleaning, sorting, etc) On the other hand, men (household or labors) are found to be mostly performing activities that involve intensive physical-strength (like tilling, wedding, sowing etc) and also chemical-exposure (fertilizing, spraying pesticides etc.).They are also more prevalent in activities that require travelling far distances, or to mainland market places, to purchase inputs, or to transport their produce to the markets, and the likes. Notably, in male-absent households, women perform the typical male-prevalent activities, or manage it with the help of neighbors. The study data calculates that roughly 41.5 mandays is required per bigha every season for the whole bundle of activities under maize farming (Table 15). This, however, is not indicative of the total time required for the entire maize cultivation in a season, as it excludes the waiting time of each activities.

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4.5 Issues and Factors of Related Service Market

Table 18: Factors affecting service market


Positive Few transports are there

Negative Not carry huge quantity of products Transports are not appropriate focusing Char context Not available all the time Micro Finance Institutes are not focusing on Maize No formal Banking institute exists Most of the roads are kacha In Rainey season, road cannot use as it is established by soil and silica


Activities of Micro Finance Institute are there Road are there but inadequate and kacha


4.6 Services, Actors and Issues of Related Service Market

4.6.1 Technology and Equipment Oriented Tiller Machine For preparing the land, farmers mainly rent power tillers; however, these machines are not available all the time across all areas. In the study area, 90% of farmers tilled their lands using power tillers or tractors on rent. The machine contractors charge a commission of 10-20% on total cost for providing the service. For the cases considered for the report, the rent includes the transportation cost of carrying the machines to Chars from the mainland. The number of the power tillers found in the study areas is presented in Table 18. On an average, around 4 power tillers are accessibly and functionally available in these areas. Generally, maize farming requires three tilling stages, each costing about BDT 300 per bigha.
Table 19: Availability of Chatal and Equipments

Name of Equipment No. of Power Tillers No. of Chatals No. of Irrigation Machines No. of Sprayers No. of Shelling Machines

Upazilla and Adjacent Areas Pirgacha 5 20 633 1100 14 Kaunia 2 3 225 275 6 Dimla 5 20 75 140 9 Fulchori 4 29 500 367 12 Dewangonj 4 13 125 68 5

Total 20 85 1558 1950 44


Average 4 17 312 390 9


In case of power tillers, chatals and shelling machines, the number does not necessarily mean that they are physically located in core Charlands, nor even in closest mainland; rather they are available in terms of accessibility be it in core Charland, be it in the nearby places

Number in this table does not necessarily indicate that the respective machines are permanently available in the captioned upazillas; rather some of these equipment are mobile and available when required.

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Irrigation The Char lands are irrigated using shallow pumps. While a very few rich farmers own pumps, most of the others rent the equipment from these owners. The shallow pump owner charges BDT 150 by the hour, and it takes around 1.30 hours to water one bigha (33 decimals) of land..The Char farmer needs to irrigate the land seven to eight times each season, but this varies depending on the sandiness of farmlands. The availability of these already-limited numbers of equipment is especially strained during the peak irrigation periods. Irrigation procedures are mainly handled by male farmers, but women are heavily engaged in these processes as well. The study estimates that, on an average, around 312 pieces of shallow pumps are available in each upazilla in the study area.
Table 20: Costs (or rents) of Equipment Services No of units required Bigha per Crop seasons 3 times 26 7 times 1 times

Particulars Rent of Power Tiller Rent of Pump/ShallowMachine (+ oil) Rent of Shelling Machine 28 Rent of Chatal Transport cost (to fetch inputs, to carry maize to chatal and markets etc.)

Cost per unit BDT 300 BDT 200 27 BDT 810 Lump-sum Lump-sum

Total BDT 900 BDT 1,400 BDT 810 BDT 300 BDT 500

Sheller The activities related to maize shelling are generally carried out by the women in the households. However, for huge homesteads or massive yields, some farmers who can afford it, rent automated shelling machines. Shelling machines are not always permanently located, but are mobile and available on demand. In the Chars in Rangpur and Gaibandha districts, shelling machines are relatively widely available, whereas the availability is moderate in Nilphamari, and the service is mainly availed by some external service providers in the Jamalpur Chars. An average of around 9 shelling machines is available in each of the studied upazillas. Farmers are generally required to pay BDT 30 for each maund of maize cobs shelled. When shelling machines are unavailable, women and children are engaged in separating grains from the cobs. This is very time consuming, unpaid, and is an additional workload, especially for women, on top of domestic and other household chores..Despite the drawbacks, shelling by hand arguably offers some benefits as mentioned earlier (better quality kernels, cuts costs, and is a rural cultural affair). Regardless the technique of shelling, women are extensively involved in this process, and accounts for at least 90% part of the work being done.

26 27 28

Maximum 8 and minimum 6; depending on the dryness and sandiness of farmlands. Cost of shelling = BDT 30 per mound X 27 maunds (average production per bigha) = BDT 810

Rent for chatal is mentioned in the table, but actually does not impart in farmers costing, as in most cases farmers use the ir homeyard to dry maize. And its the trader groups who generally use chatals.

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Drying (Chatals) Chatal owners provide the service of drying maize, vis-a-vis renting out their facilities for BDT 40-50 thousand per season. The study areas were found to have around 17 chatals per upazilla. This drying process is mostly used by large farmers and traders. It is not costeffective for most farmers due to the additional costs involved with transporting the kernels to and from chatals. As such, the majority of the farmers dry their maize harvests in

Picture 4: Chatal/Maize Drying Place

their yards, or on adjacent lands. 4.6.2 Components of Finance and Insurance Insurance There are no provisions for insurance available in Chars. Insurance companies are unwilling to service such disaster-prone areas, and as such, not even general insurance schemes are possible for farmers. Crop insurance is not prevalent even in the mainland as there is little or no awareness regarding crop safety insurance amongst farmers, especially in the Chars. Credit and Savings Micro finance institutions (MFIs) are the main source of formal financing in Chars and 50% of Char people are supported by MFIs through micro credit schemes. Private and government owned commercial banks, like BRAC Bank, Dutch-Bangla Bank, Janata Bank, Sonali Bank, and other MFIs like Grameen Bank, and NGOs like Seed (Rangpur), Polli-Shree (Dinajpur), SKS (Gaibandha) were found to be active in these areas. Despite their presence in the mainlands, private banks mostly avoid the disbursement of loan in core Charlands, as their land (or mortgage) security is subject to natural disasters. Similarly, even government banks that generally prioritize rural poor people are also dismissive towards Char folk citing the same disaster issue.
Table 21: Presence of Financial Transaction/Intermediaries Intermediaries Micro finance Government Bank Private Bank Mobile Banking Money Transfer Mohajon Presence of service in Char Yes No No No No No Presence of service in adjacent mainland Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Availability of service in Char, and if no its reason Available in most places Not available due to some policy issue Not available Not available Not available Available for Charland people with high rate of interest

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Table 22: Loan types, institutions and associated terms Loan Category Agricultural loan Personal loan Loan provide by MFIs, Terms and condition Personal loan with a high rate of interest and unfavorable weekly repayment schedule Agricultural loan often not available, repayment in three to four months which is favorable to producers Agricultural loan often not sufficient and with personal loan running, it is difficult to get another loan Give loan for long time of a crop cycle but receive money with a high interest rate Give loan in terms of receiving a percentage of crops after harvest Bank did not provide any loan for Char farmer because of Char land are unstable and can submerged any time under water

Mohajon, Neighbor Bank

However, any financial institution generally supports the female community. There have been some initiatives taken to promote the maize subsector, and financial loans are especially provided to maize farmers particularly the women farmers. Some MFIs have adopted the clause to provide new loans to Char people even if the previous loans are not fully paid back in the event that natural disasters damaged their crops. This enables them a chance to restart their livelihood activities and give them support in conditions of distress.
Table 23: Needs of loans and farmers' accessibility Purpose of Loan Cultivation and Post harvest management issue Average need BDT/Acre 30,000 Financing institute MFI Access by Household Constraints during receiving the loan -MFIs are not available at Char - Loan amount cannot meet full financing need -Give loan but not able to give as per requirement - Not readily available Give with high percent of interest

-Easy to access women member household

by of



Contractor Credit facilities by input seller

-Easy to access by household members -Both man & woman can take loan Give loan with a high rate of interest and receive by male/female member of family Provide input support to male member of family Farmers from Char have easy to access at retailer level regarding input facilities by credit for a cropping season and received by male member of family

They make agreement on production and purchase

Another important source of finance for these farmers is from their neigbours and relatives, who provide loans at low or no costs and in easy terms. Mohajans, who are mainly rich social or business elites (like goldsmiths or large wholesalers) ,are a common and traditional source for financial services of this nature. Like in any other areas for profiteering, mohajans charge a very high rate of interest until the whole
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amount is paid. In this regard, government banks have the lowest interest rate, as they are subsidized by the state. More than 80% of small holders reported that they require additional financing on top of the incomes they are able to generate to purchase inputs at the beginning of the cropping season and for emergencies. Their needs were mainly met by MFIs, mohajans and neigbours/relatives. 4.6.3 Labor and Transport Services Labourers Other than large farmers, marginal and poor farmers normally do not employ laborers for maize farming activities, except for temporary provisions of auto-tillers, sprayers, auto-shellers etc. Other than that, in sharecropping or land leasing cases, farmers do not hire extra labor as they are not able to afford the extra hands, or additional labor is not required in the first place. If additional labor is required, farmers engage their children, wives and other family members first. The males in the household also actively participate with hired labors.
Table 24: Wage Rate per manday (typically 8 hours)

Off Season Peak Season

Women (per mandays) Survey Average Responses BDT 100 - BDT 142 120 BDT 150 200

Men (per mandays) Survey Average Responses BDT 150 BDT 225 200 BDT 200 350

Average for Men & Women BDT 184


The labor wage rate is found to be varied differential across areas, seasons and gender dimensions. Throughout all areas, women are discriminately paid lower wages than men. This wage rate disparity is rationalized on the basis that women cannot perform all those activities that involve intensive physical strength. Women, the costs of living being the same, women demand higher compensations for their labor. Also, to note, a bulk of the farm activities performed by women are considered to be unpaid work. The average wage rate for women in the study areas was found to BDT 142 per mandays, compared to BDT 225 for men.


Excludes food/meal provided by the employers.

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Transportation As detailed in earlier segments of this report, transportation systems and infrastructures in the Char lands are severely lacking if not absent, and are not attempted to be further developed. The most traditional and common means of transportation available in these areas to reach the mainland, which is cost-effective, but expensive in terms of time investments and discomforts in accessibility and provisions. Boats are effectively available for approximately six months in the year, only when there is water in the rivers. Other traditional means of transport in and to the mainland includes animal pushcarts (horse-cart, bull-cart etc.), human-pulled rickshaws or vans. These transports are slow, risky and to some extent, considered health and safety hazards.
Table 25: Key findings on transportation service Key Issues The very first undeniable difficultiesFARM TO GHAT Evidence Findings It takes two to three hours to reach from farm to ghat. - Only way to reach there is on foot hiring labor (women cannot take part here due to this constraints) - Traders do not like to come to Char due to this factor -

The next difficulties is the River itself CHAR GHAT TO MAINLAND GHAT

Ghat are volatile (changes place) Randomly have rafting as a result difficult to load and unload Farmers often have to wait for 1-2 hours to catch the next boat during peak day (Haat Day). No places for waiting for women (sit on sand).

We have boat BOAT

Not friendly for goods (maize) transport (un)loading is a big problem Not Women friendly (sitting arrangement) Difficult for women to ride on boat

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A potential off-road vehicle even suitable for some parts of Char

Only Rangpur & Gaibandha avails this kind of transportation (due to better connecting facility different from two other districts i.e. Nilphamary, and Jamalpur Good for transporting maize at medium distant

Randomly used vehicle but affordable

Randomly used, used in Rangpur Not women friendly


Affordable vehicle, suitable for Char road also (even without pakka or brick road)

Gaibandha and Rangpur finds benefitted from horse cart both part in the mainland and within Char transportation Not women friendly

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Skills, Capacity and Empowerment Oriented

Community Based Organizations (CBOs) Char maize farmers within Oxfam operation areas are members of various producers groups. Member representatives from these producer groups form community based organizations (CBOs) to protect their socio-economic interests. CBOs are operated by an Executive Committee (EC) selected by and from its members. Oxfam and its partnering organizations in the Char areas have provided different skill development trainings to the producer groups, as identified and recommended by the EC. Some of them have established constitutions and govt. registrations, while most of them actually do not. Without the support of Oxfam and its partnering organizations, CBOs have some minimum success stories in linking with the influential stakeholders within the market system. Women are seen taking leadership roles within CBOs and stepping up in decision making processes. Their engagement in marketing and financing activities is also increasing. With physical structures and committees in place, CBOs play influential and catalytic roles in promoting maize cultivation in Chars. Their roles can be enhanced and made more visible through engagement in more economic development activities. Better capacitated CBOs will be a real efficient entry point for the Char maize producers. CBOs will enable its members to CBOs are strong platform in promoting Women improve their institutional and financial Economic Leadership. Despite its influential and capacities to negotiate better with local beneficial roles, there are still some scopes of government, private sector, and development for CBOs: increase the knowledge level of the CBOs should develop enterprises from its producer group. But it is clearly evident member to provide services in core Char land, that to do so, CBOs need strong as to mitigate the transport cost and time. financial standing and strategic CBOs should construct more institutional and supports. They can also act as service financial capacity to raise its negotiation power providers at subsidized prices to offset over related service providers. their operational and development cost. CBOs and producer groups can be a positive entry point for the private sector wanting to step in to promote their business in Chars, eventually leading to better access to inputs and information. Producer groups can decrease the organizational and management costs for the promotional activities of private enterprises. This is also true for the government extension services. If properly incentivized, the SAAO can take initiative in providing extension services at least to the CBO members, while CBO members can act as tools for disseminating the gathered knowledge to other producers. Government Extension The Bangladeshi government provides extensive services to maize sector as well as to whole agro-sectors, vis-a-vis the upazilla level official setups of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) under the Ministry of Agriculture; these services exist all over the country except for in the Chittagong hill-track areas. The DAE supports the
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maize subsector with effective information and technical supports when required. Unfortunately, insufficient manpower and technical support is an issue for the shortfall of service quality by such extension.

It may not be worthy to debate on or differentiate men women ratio in receiving services from government extension as nobody is receiving the services.
Institutions for Human Capital Support Some institutions like BRAC, Proshikha, Asha, government health care complex etc. are working in Char areas to improve a plethora of services: child education, adult education, mortality and morbidity, womens health care during pregnancy and emergency etc. A major limitation of these institutions is that even if they prioritize Char people, there is no such institutional establishment like schools, or clinics in the core Charlands. These are all located on the mainland, ignoring the challenges of transportation and distance pertinent to Char folk. However, the key reason for the lack of such establishments in the Char lands is the instability and fragility of core Charland areas. Capacity-building Supports The Bangladeshi government had appointed SAAOs to conduct various skill and capacity-building training for farmers. At the same time, different NGOs already exist in these areas that have been working to provide skill-development training. However, the study has found that only a handful of male and female farmers have received some training, particularly on maize cultivation. In some areas of Gaibandha, SKS provided with some trainings on maize cultivation. Where present, contractors (who conduct contract farming) sometimes also provide training to their linked farmers. In addition, contract traders generally form a group of 15 farmers (or the like) and select a group leader who is trained by the contractors who then disseminates knowledge and information to the rest of the members. Information Support Updated market information is absent to the farmers of core Charland, and in fact even to those living on the mainland. Char area inhabitants, and especially farmers, do not have access to information on maize prices, temporary policy or mandates of the government, effective technologies, better alternatives etc. Many farmers are only exposed to the market rate knowledge, only when they bring their products to the market; they are then bound to sell their produce, in many cases at a loss, in only to offset the transport burdens. Though farmers gather an idea of price trends from neighboring farmers, this is not a viable source of adequate information to interact profitably with the market, especially when they are not vocal in negotiations.

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4.7 Issues and Factors of Related (Dis) Enabling Environment

Table 26: Factors affecting (Dis) Enabling Environment

Positive Factors Land and Property Rights Women have significant access to cash & household assets

Negative Factors Women have limited ownership over land Undue & unfair conditions are often imposed on smallholders by the landlords Land insecurity in char areas due to frequent flooding and river and soil erosion Charland inundated for 6 months of the year, affecting other livelihood options as well Water shortage for irrigation and cost for water transport & irrigation is increasing Shallow tube or deep tube wells are very handful in number and possessed by riches Poor roads & transportation Lack of suitable transports for women Lack of disaster shelters and warning mechanism Poor storage facilities for products Few options for maize processing / drying Chatals are occupied for rice processing due to govt. priority while leaving maize bereaved Smallholders are not represented in the leadership of market committees, chambers of commerce and traders' associations Specific policy to promote the growth of maize sub-sector is absent Women are not as equal as men in decision making Women have less participation in family matters/emergencies Women are not recognized as men at work and given differential wages

Natural Environment and Resources

Charland are suitable for maize cultivation Practice of crop diversification in agriculture (e.g. maize, pulse, jute)


Presence of solar panel Telecommunication system is available Char residents have raised homes, sanitary latrines, tube-wells and school grounds


Flow of fertilizers are controlled & monitored directly by the government through its authorized dealers Govt. education policy (free books & no tuition fee) are effective

Customs and Norms

Women are now given more freedom & less social restrictions Restrictions against women mobility were not observed

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4.8 (Dis) Enabling Environment

A set of interrelated macro-level issues, like national policy, socio-economic profile, local rules, norms and practices, natural environments, etc, are always at work in the background, but these components are beyond any control by small communities. Such issues are heavily influential and inevitable in the functioning of the market and any subsector. 4.8.1 Land and Property Rights Rights and access to available land, water and property in Char lands is complex and often involves social disputes and clashes across communities. Reasons observed for this are that (i) possession over residence and cultivation land are volatile and uncertain due to river erosion, (ii) many pieces of land are naturally rebuilt after being eroded by the river which resurface somewhere else, (iii) land and water bodies are mostly government owned (locally called KhashJomi) and is by nature, subject to land bellicosity and other such contentious issues. Women are found with limited ownership over land, but with significant access and exposure to cash and household assets. Importantly, the common practice in these areas is that the household income, regardless of who the earner is be it a man or a woman- is given to the women who designates when and where it should be spent. Such expense decision is normally borne by both men and women, however, in the absence of men, women take the sole responsibility to decide. However, the Charmari Hat of Jamalpur is the exception to these abovementioned customs. Here, women are hardly vocal, and rare in ownership of property. Most importantly, it is observed that the urge to be equivalent to men is not internalized within the women themselves. Unfair and unequal conditions are often imposed on smallholders by the land owners in regards to leasing or renting; examples of these include undue fees or rent charged, smallholders forced to do work for the landowner interest etc. In the months of June and July, there is no effective work available for the daily labor. To meet their daily costs, they are bound to sell their labor in advance for really low wages profitable for the landowner. These advanced payments are at times as low as three or four the actual negotiated conventional wage rates. 4.8.2 Natural Environment and Resources Char areas herald sandy loom lands, excessive hot and dry weather during dry seasons, heavy rains and excessive water during rainy seasons. Moreover, these areas are always subject to natural disasters, and therefore need to have a suitable cropping pattern which is compatible with such volatile conditions.

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In this regard, Char land is suitable for maize cultivation. However, the biggest challenge in these lands is that they are drowned for around 6 months of every year, affecting other livelihood options as well. Besides, land insecurity in is growing concern in Char areas, due to the frequent instances of river overflowing and flooding, or land erosion and other such land degradations. At the same time, drought is a prevalent concern for Char areas during dry seasons, and these dry spells are intensifying resultant of the adverse consequences of climate change. Water levels are decreasing, and rivers are drying out, adding to shortages for irrigation and safe drinking water. The following are the most pertinent impacts of the water shortage: (i) water transportation systems are being abolished, (ii) costs for irrigation is increasing, (iii) costs (both time & money) for preserving safe water from distant location is increasing, amongst many other relevant situations. The third consequence is further intensified owing to that of the vast majority, being poor households, do not have shallow or deep tube-wells these sources tend to be occupied by rich or solvent ones only. Natural disasters ranging from calamities to other profound impacts of climate change are significantly affecting Char people in different forms: (i) increased life loss, (ii) damage to livestock and crops , (iii) excessive or additional work load and inconvenience, especially for the women and children, (iv) additional cost incurred for post-calamity reconstructions, (v) increasing unemployment and financial crisis (vi) more frequent education drop-out or inefficiency due to disruption in services and accessibility etc. 4.8.3 Climate The women groups in the study areas identify a host of climate-related issues which provide the contexts of their vulnerability. These include: untimely and prolonged rain, early riverine floods, riverbank erosion, droughts, storms and cold waves (Table 6.1). In all the cases, they find poverty and womanhood as cross cutting contexts of vulnerability, irrespective of climatic perturbation; however, these contexts are severely aggravated due to climate variability and change. Untimely Continuous Rain The vulnerable women group at the Kholabari Char, Fulchhari, and Gaibandha reported that in the last 3 years, there were seven incidences of untimely continuous rain that lasted for 3 to 4 days (Table 6.1). The group also identified that continuous rains delayed or negated the drying process of harvested maize, which caused Aflatoxin infestation and damaged the maize. Dealing with processing the wet maize further delays attending to the household work for women, and extra hours of labour is needed compared to their usual schedules. Introduction of appropriate mechanical dryer for maize at farmers and traders level may save the wet maize. Such technology, given that it has gender-friendly mechanisms in place, would also remove the drudgery of women for drying of maize under scorching sun and dusty conditions..
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Early Riverine Flood There were 3 incidences of early riverine floods in the last 3 years in the study areas. These incidences damage maize crops and the yields decrease drastically, which severely reduces incomes and profoundly impacts all sorts of livelihoods of the Char dwellers. Floods also cause extreme difficulties to women, children and elderly. With rising water levels in the surrounding rivers, women need to prepare for relocation. Preparation prior to relocation means an extra load of activities on the part of the woman in the household which becomes increasingly difficult under flooding condition, where her male counterpart hardly assumes any responsibility. Preparing dry food for emergency, collecting banana stems and constructing a raft, collecting and safeguarding biomass for cooking, safeguarding poultry and livestock, improving storage condition of seeds for the post-flood season, making an extra portable earthen cooking stove all these are additional to daily household activities. Usual activities such as cooking, cleaning, fetching of drinking water, homestead production, etc. cannot be easily performed in flood affected areas. Yet a woman must not give up, she must prepare herself to face the worse! Adaptation of early and flood resistance maize varieties, and adjustments in crop calendars are possible coping strategies that could be used in such disaster prone areas. Development of food and seed banks in cooperative groups may provide a degree of buffer to ease extreme food shortages and facilitate for crop rehabilitation when flood waters recede. Usually in flood-prone areas, people tend to build houses on higher platforms to direct the flow of characteristic high flood waters away without causing damage to their dwellings. However, extra ordinary flood levels often cause destruction to mud-made houses. Protecting the common interests of community members, common initiatives can enable the farmers to safeguard their livestock, agricultural machinery and equipment, and safely store unutilized fertilizer, and most importantly, seeds. Fog/Cold Wave There were 5 incidences of fog or cold waves in the study areas in the last 3 years, each lasting about a week. Usually fog or cold waves retard the vegetative growth of maize that reduces the yield. Adaptation of cold resistance maize varieties, weatherappropriate adjustments to the crop calendar, and shorter duration maize may reduce the risk of damaged yields from fog or cold waves.

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Table 27: Prevalence of natural disasters, its impact and coping strategies of the Char dwellers (Char Kholabari, under Gaibandha)

Types of disaster Untimely rain

Frequency in last 3 years 7 times, 3-4 days spell

Early riverine flood

3 times, for weeks

Fog/Cold wave Drought

5 times, 1 week each time 2 times, 8 weeks each time 2 times, in 2 days

How does it hamper productive assets/work? Harvested maize cant be dried may cause Alfa toxin infestation and damage maize Household work of women delayed for caring wet maize Women have work more time than usual day Caused damage of maize crop Heavily affect livelihoods of Char dwellers Worse affect to women, children, elderly and livestock Affect vegetative growth of maize Affect yield of maize

Coping strategies Introduction of appropriate mechanical dryer for maize that would save maize and women drudgery for maize drying

Adaptation of early and flood resistance maize varieties Adjust crop calendar Development of food and seed bank Adaptation of cold resistance maize varieties Adaptation of drought resistance maize varieties and/or ensure facilities for additional irrigation Sell livestock and household valuables Credit from relatives and neighbors Sell livestock and household valuables Credit from relatives and neighbors Advance sell of labor


Damage houses




River erosion

3 times, for a month

Erode crop field and houses Heavily affect livelihoods of Char dwellers Worse affect to women, children, elderly and livestock

Drought There were 2 incidences of droughts that lasted for about 8 weeks in the last 3 years. Droughts are another factor that severely affects the yield of maize. The temperature raises due to global warming affects the rainfall patterns as well. Recent studies revealed that despite the fact that the total amount of rainfall will not change substantially due to changing climates; there will be a change in the rainfall patterns. Instead of having rainfalls spread over the year, heavy rainfalls now occur in a very short span of time, causing a multitude of repercussions, including water logging in catchments. Alternatively, droughts prevail in the rest of the months of the year. Adaptations of drought-resistant maize varieties and/or ensuring facilities for additional irrigation for

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Picture 5: Drought situation make the Chars looking like desert mile after mile

Storm There are at least 2 incidences of severe storms that lasted for at least 2 days that occurred in the study areas in the last 3 years (Table 6.1). Storms cause severe damage and destruction to crops and houses. Farmers try to cope against the damage wrecked in the storms by selling off their surviving livestock and household valuables, or borrowing credit from relatives and neighbors. Additionally, the daily laborers sometimes sell their labor in advance for very low costs to earn some income for survival. River Erosion There were 3 incidences of river erosions in each year in the last 3 years (Table 6.1). River erosion and Charland erosion are quite common in Bangladesh, especially in the Charlands of Rangpur, Gaibandha and Jamalpur districts. River erosion destroys crop fields and houses and thereby heavily affects the livelihoods of the Char dwellers. In the case of river erosion, women are concerned regarding loss of homesteads, loss of housing for months and years, in addition to physical insecurity, loss of self as well as family esteem, lack of production opportunities, and lack of food security in the repercussions of the event. The social cost for erosion affecting women is extremely high. They lose their dignity and respect in the society, and such degradation and shaming has many social repercussions for these fallen women. Having no homestead at all means that the woman can no longer supplement the family diet with home grown vegetables, which is an important source of necessary nutrition, as recognized by the women. Similar coping strategies outlined for storms and droughts and other calamities (selling livestock and household valuables, advanced low-paid work, credit loans from relatives and neighbors) are adopted to recover from river erosions as well.

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Disaster Management The study areas have been found to have established Disaster Management committees, which facilitate for disaster preparedness and awareness building meetings with local stakeholders, before the anticipated disasters hit. The committees also provide early warning messages to the dwellers of disaster prone areas. NGOs like SEED, SKF and other such foundations have operations in the study areas.


Socio-economic Profile Actual literacy levels are is still low for both men and women in Chars, despite being historically higher than before. Even if 90% of the men and women are able to sign in their names, it does not empower them with literacy. The literacy rate for women is inconsistent across the board: trends indicate higher levels for girls and small-aged married women (below 30), but lower for middle-and-higher-aged (30+). Most of the girls are found to be attending schools and/or other formal education institutions before marriage.

Monthly household Income in BDT

20000 10000 0 <100 decimal >100 dec 4580 16650

Per-capita income is below subsistence levels in most cases, and as a consequence, whatever income is Figure 9: Monthly Household Income of Study Areas being generated is spent on consumption expenditure rather than in savings and investments. The monthly household income in Chars stands at around BDT 4,580 for a family of six, owning or leasing 100 decimal or less of land. 60% of the total population has less than 100 decimal of land. There is no significant spread of epidemic diseases in the study areas. Importantly, women have access to special health care facilities supported by the government or different NGOs. However, nutrition deficiency is a significant concern for women and children in these areas.. 4.8.6 Infrastructure No or low infrastructure may be the worst feature of Char areas. Power shortages and very poor road-cum-transport systems are key concerns for Char infrastructure. Such crises have the poor in a double bind: the absence of minimum electricity and transport facilities reduce the standard of living, and, simultaneously, reduced or poor standards of living increase such crisis, which in turn has a multitude of social repercussions. Government officials and key informants blame natural disasters and/or improper disaster management for such failure and crises of infrastructure. Due to prolonged
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droughts in the dry season, water transportation is being impeded, whereas in the wet season, excessive floods wash away roads and establishments. Women are doubly affected by lack of suitable transports available: during rainy seasons, water boats are the only means to commute, and during dry seasons, walking on feet across incredibly long distances, animal pus hcarts and overcrowded vans or rickshaw are the only options of transport to get to market place s on the main land, which are hours away. These options provide multiple binds for women especially because of the time investments they imply, (which women need to account for keeping domestic chores and rearing responsibilities in mind), the potential safety and health hazards they possess, and the general socio-cultural taboos that restrict movements in some communities.

Picture 6: Road condition connecting mainland and charland

The lack of disaster shelters and warning mechanisms is another concern for these people. In most cases, they are not warned with enough time to prepare beforehand. Only one or two disasters shelters exist, which either cannot always accommodate huge capacities, or are too far to reach for many of the victims. Additionally, no or poor storage and processing facilities for agro-produce exist in these areas, which have severe repercussions for post-disaster periods, and at other times, decrease the quality or price of their produce. For example, there is a lack of suitable facilities for maize preservation, drying etc. accessible to Char people, which in turn require them to sell their products in less dried conditions at low price, or in peak seasons at unfair price. In most cases, farmers dry their maize for two or three days in lands adjacent to or near their homesteads, using polythene or netting. As such, high moisture levels and mixed dust and other particles from the ground and air taints the drying process, producing low quality maize kernels that in turn fetches low price. No commercial chatal are devoted solely for maize drying. A few number of chatal for rice are using partially to dry maize at the trader level, which creates a shortage crisis in the peak and harvesting seasons of the crops.
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Telecommunication options are available in the Chars; but network coverage and affordability is questionable, as not everyone has access to it. Similarly banks, educational institutions, and health centers sparsely exist, but in most cases, are found in distant places or on the main land. One positive support network available to Char residents is the assistance of private and development sectors. These actors have built or availed residences, sanitary latrines, tube wells (detailed out in Natural Environment and Resources section above) and school grounds in these areas. Governance and Policy In particular, there is no policy which directly impedes or enhances the maize sub-sector. Some policies, however, associated with other sectors may have repercussive impacts on maize-related areas. For example, during rice harvesting period, chatals are occupied for mainly rice processing, leaving other crops (in our case, maize) bereaved. This happens owing to national or government priority of rice over any other crops. Government regulatory policy and prescription on use of harmful pesticide and fertilizers are not properly implemented. Some inputs sellers shops in Tunirhat, Dimla, Nilphamari districts, were found selling redesigned/red labeled pesticides which are banned for high level toxicity till now. However, the flows of fertilizers are controlled and monitored directly by the government through its authorized dealers. But sometimes insufficient numbers of dealers or retailers distort the supply and availability of Urea fertilizer variety in some places; Kaunia and Rangpur districts reported such incidences in the study. There is little to no actual supervision of government representatives in regards to these concerns. The education policy (free books and no tuition fee) are effective in reducing school drop-out rates for both girls and boys. Similarly some social welfare policies like The Old Age Allowance (familiar term Boishko Bhata), and some health care policies etc. are implemented, but do not render sufficient benefits to the target groups, who have limited access to these in some cases.

4.9 Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) of Maize Production

4.9.1 Pricing Mechanisms and Profitability of Farmers For the maize market, particularly in Char areas, pricing is normally determined and implemented through a top-down process, where the end industrial buyer has the final power to set the price, (and hence are called the price makers/setters). Every year (or every season) these actors preset a price range for maize based on: (i) input requirements in their respective processing industries, (ii) estimated production of maize; and (iii) responses to the force and dictation by the price influencers. On the other hand,
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input requirements in their processing industry are founded on three issues: (i) demand for maize-processed products; (ii) price or profitability of maize-processed products; and finally, (iii) exclusive business plan of the processors/feed millers. Once the price is set, the information is communicated down to the root-level farmers through our captioned value chain actors. Finally, farmers and root-level traders have to comply with whatever prices have been dictated, thereby coined the price takers. It is important to acknowledge that farmers or any other actors get a minimum degree of liberty in bargaining for better payment within the price range set above; they are bound by the range fixed by the price makers. Thus, the profitability of farmers is at best questionable, as they have no or very low control over price setting. The Shibdev Char under Pirgacha upazilla of Rangpur District serves as a prime example of the stiff constraints of the price takers lack of positionality. Farmers of this region have hardly cultivated maize this current year (2013) due to the drastic price fall of maize last year; consequently, they have switched to alternative cropping like wheat, rice and so forth. 4.9.2 Costs of Production calculated for Maize
Table 28: Cost of Laborers per Bigha per Crop Season

Types of Activities

Types of 2 Laborer

Wage/Cost Rate 3 per Manday

Total Mandays Required per 4 bigha 3 2 2 1 2 2 12 2 1 2 2 3 2.5 3 1 44

Activity-wise Total Cost

Land preparation Tilling Weeding Irrigation Fertilizing Furrowing (in rows) Sowing Irrigation Re-fertilizing Pest Controlling (Spraying) Land Re-cleansing Harvesting Fetching to Home Processing (Shelling) Processing (Drying, Cleaning, Sorting etc.) Selling Total (Performed by own and hired labor)

Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Female Male Female Female Male

275 225 225 225 225 225 225 225 225 225 142 225 142 142


825 450 450 225 450 450 2700 450 225 450 284 675 355 426 225 8,639 (Including

225 3126

Average of BDT 250-300 per bigha, as found in the study

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4 (Maximum 10% of required mandays) Actual monetary costs of LABOR that marginal farmers are found to incur are BDT 900 BDT 1000 during the survey. Actual mandays hired by farmers
1. 2.

@ BDT 225 on an average

opportunity costs) 900 (actual monetary costs of labor)

3. 4. 5.

Types of activities can be referred to the section of Farming and Post-harvest Level under Functioning of Core Value Chain. Types of laborer specify the gender of mostly-employed labor for the corresponding types of activities. Wage rates are detailed out in Farming and Post-harvest level Mandays are detailed out in Farming and Post-harvest level Total costs of labor, BDT 8,639, as calculated here includes opportunity cost as well, whereas actual MONETARY COSTS OF LABOR incurred by farmers are found around BDT 900 BDT 1000, since farmers do this farming by own or with the help of household members.


Average Maize Production A production matrix can be developed on average maize production based on the data presented in section 3.5 under chapter 3.
Table 29: Maize production in study areas Years Production (Maund/Acre) District: Rangpur Pirgacha 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 Average 64.80 66.00 83.60 91.67 93.75 80.99 Kaunia 81.00 90.00 82.50 79.84 76.76 Nilphamari Dimla 81.00 83.60 74.00 84.80 92.04 83.09 Gaibandha Fulchori 70.20 72.00 73.92 80.23 82.80 75.83 Jamalpur Dewangonj 66.22 93.60 84.00 82.50 93.75 84.01 75.31 83.07 79.63 82.19 86.57 Grand Average = 81 Maund per Acre


Profit of Maize farming (for farmers)

Table 30: Cost Benefit calculation of maize

Particulars Cost of Inputs Cost of Labor Cost for Service Providers Total Costs of Production (excluding Land Cost) Total Production (average findings of the study) Prices of Maize (average findings of the study) Total Income (Production x Prices) Profit

Values (per bigha) BDT 3,590 BDT 900 BDT 3,100 BDT 7,590 27 Maunds BDT 600 BDT 16,200 BDT 8,610

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Comparative CBA of Maize with Some Alternative Crops

Table 31: Comparison of CBA of Maize with other crops

Particulars Costs of Production (excluding land cost) Production

Measuring Unit Per Bigha (= 33 decimals)

Crops Rice Average BDT 7,500 (Max BDT 8,000 Min BDT 7,000) Average 14 Maunds (Max 16 Min 12 Maunds) Average BDT 587 (Peak season average BDT 525, Off season BDT 650) BDT 718

Maize Average BDT 7,590

Wheat Average BDT 4,500 (Max BDT 5,000 Min BDT 4,000) Average 9 Maunds (Max 10 Min 8 Maunds) Average BDT 950 (Peak season average BDT 850, Off season BDT 1050) BDT 4,050

Per Bigha (= 33 decimals) Per Maund (= 40 KG)

27 Maund

Price at farmers end

Profit [(Price x Production) Costs of Production]

Average BDT 600 (Peak season average BDT 450, Off season BDT 750) BDT 8,610

Potato Average BDT 12,000 (Max BDT 14,000 Min BDT 10,000) Average 75 Maunds (Max 80 Min 70 Maunds) Average BDT 425 (Peak season average BDT 350, Off season BDT 500) BDT 19,875

Costs of production include all costs i.e., seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation, labors, transports etc. but excluding land costs Amount captioned in the table are generalized based on findings of the study and excluding of outliers or extreme cases. Cost of production for maize is found from previous section.

4.10 Respective Value Addition in Core Value Chain

The value addition at every level of the chain depends on related prices and costs of inputs and services, which vary widely across areas and times. At the farmer level, they have an average cost of production at BDT 7,590 per bigha per season (under costcalculation sector). Our study also found that the average yield rate for these areas would be 27 mound per bigha, with an average price at BDT 600 per mound. Converting them to kilogram, we project that farmers in Chars add the value at around BDT 7.98 which is 63% of the total value addition. The remaining 37% of the value addition is attributed to foria and different traders going up to the industrial processors.
Table 32: Value Addition in the Core Value Chain

Level in Value Chain At Farmer Level At Foria Level At Small Trader Level

Cost Per Kg (BDT) 7.02 15.00 17.38

Selling Price (BDT) 15.00 17.38 18.38

Value Addition (BDT) 7.98 2.38 1.00

% to total value addition 63% 19% 8%

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At Wholesaler Level At Industrial Processor Level Total Value Addition

18.38 19.63

19.63 Unidentified



12.61 (through the chain) + 7.02 (Costs at farmers level)

It may be observed that, despite being shown in core value chain, commission agents are not shown in the value addition matrix. They have been intentionally left out due to the following reasons: (i) the presence of commission agents is not relevant to all places or periods, and (ii) they do not add value for maize in this chain, rather, they work as finance service providers for the trader community. Similarly, contractors are also dropped out from the matrix, as no concrete pricing and terms of contracts could be observed that linked the share contractors in this value addition process.

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Maize is the third most important cereal crop in Bangladesh after rice and wheat. Since the early 1990s, maize cropped area has increased at an average rate of 20% per year. By the FY 2010 11, maize production reached an area of 1.66 million ha with a production volume of 1.02 million tons (Agricultural year book, 2011). The current local maize production meets around 50% of the national annual demand (2 million tons per year*) ; the rest of the demand is met by imports mainly from India and China. Maize has a strong demand as a major input in the poultry, fish and dairy feed industries, along with a lesser degree of use in the bakery industry. Hybrid maize seed is the most important input in maize cultivation, and its supply is solely dependent on private sector imports, also mostly from India and China. Other inputs, like fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides mostly depend on public and private sector production in the country, however, a limited amount of these inputs are being imported to meet the growing demand. As an emerging sub-sector with great potentials, there must be a sound national policy on maize productions, to ensure its growth and sustainability. This chapter briefly reviews the national policies related to the maize sub-sector to identify the effectiveness of these policies and regulations; some suggestions are included to further policy options to ensure the growth and development of this sub-sector.

5.1 National Agricultural Policy (NAP, 2012 draft version)

This policy document, which is still in its draft version, broadly aims at creating an enabling environment for sustainable growth of agriculture. This will reduce poverty and ensure food security, through increasing crop production and employment opportunities in agricultural areas. The policy includes increasing the productivity of farmers lands, and generating income and employment by developing and transferring appropriate technologies and managing agricultural inputs. The policy also emphasizes promoting competitiveness through i) commercialization of agriculture, and, ii) establishing a selfreliant and sustainable agriculture adaptive to climate change and responsive to farmers needs. Agricultural extension is recognized as a service delivery system which will assist farmers through: i) appropriate technical and farm management advice and information, ii) new technology, improved farming methods, and, iii) techniques aimed at increasing production efficiency and income. The policy emphasizes its support to strengthen major crops that can improve food security and livelihood options, and to promote high value crops in order to enhance farmers incomes and boost agricultural exports. However, the services related to the maize sub-sector are limited to awareness and advisory activities. To be truly effective, and what thee NAP currently lacks, is a mechanism that builds the capacity of maize stakeholders, through training and strong monitoring on quality input supply, needs to be strengthened for sustainable growth of this sub-sector.
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The NAP includes broader aspects of breeding, developing and maintaining crop varieties through encouraging public-private sector partnership (PPP) in conducting research and business. The policy allows individuals, companies, or agencies engaged in seed production and business, to access institutional credits at preferential rates of interest. For increasing the availability of quality seed, certification and enforcement of seed regulations are proposed at all levels of the seed system - from production to marketing, including seed import and export. However, the monitoring of the process, especially at lower teirs of seed marketing, is not explicitly mentioned. The policy allows procurement and distribution of fertilizers, both in the private and public sectors. Additionally, it proposes maintaining a fertilizer buffer stock at the regional, district and upazilla levels, and a strong monitoring schema over the production, importation, marketing, distribution and use of any kind of fertilizers. Integrated pest management (IPM) and integrated crop management (ICM) are included in the proposed policy to promote the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable land and water management. Measures are proposed to restrict the conversion of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes. The policy encourages public private partnership for production of agricultural commodities. It intends to provide technological support to private entrepreneurs and farmers to undertake agri-business activities through creating enabling conditions to expand local and overseas markets for agribusiness opportunities. However, again the report lacks an effective monitoring scheme, in the area of import and marketing of quality inputs measures. The policy includes, to a large extent, a discussion of climate change, and addresses resultant vulnerabilities. However, it fails to explicitly consider specific national issues related to impacts of climate change, and possible mitigation strategies. The agricultural policy focuses on womens empowerment, and is committed to ensure the necessary support that builds the capacity of women. The report recognizes that building capacities promotes household food and nutrition security, participation in management decision and equal access to agricultural inputs (e.g. seed, fertilizer, credit, education & training, information etc.).

5.2 National Seed Policy (NSP, 2003)

The overall purpose of the National Seed Policy is to avail the best quality seeds of improved varieties of crops, conveniently and efficiently to farmers. These measures are intended to increase crop production, farmers productivity, per capita farm income and export earnings. The policy identifies that the use of improved quality seed is a prerequisite for the effectiveness of other inputs, like fertilizer and irrigation. However, the use of quality improved seed is still very limited due to the insufficient production and
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distribution in the public sector as compared to its demand; additionally, the private sector has not yet got the necessary support for quality seed production. This policy focuses on the evolution and adoption of seed technology as the prime strategy to meet the needs of high-input and high-output agriculture. The policy also promotes strategies for balanced development of the seed sector by providing equitable opportunities to the public and private sectors at all stages of the seed industry - from breeding, to marketing of seeds, along with strengthening the institutional capability of the public and private sector entities engaged in the seed industry. Regarding the import of seeds, the policy intends to eliminate the restriction on importation of seeds, except for appropriate plant quarantine safeguards. To introduce these improved varieties of seeds in the country, import is encouraged through private seed entrepreneurs. For this purpose, business contractors, including joint ventures are encouraged between private enterprises and foreign companies. Approved varieties of rice, wheat, jute, potato and sugarcane are allowed to import for commercial sale. However, this study notes that maize seed is not mentioned in the import list of the policy, of plants allowed to be imported in the country for adaptability testing, production and promotion purposes. The investigation identifies that registered seed companies are allowed to import small quantities of hybrid maize seed for adaptability testing and production of hybrid maize seed in the country within three years. However, most of the companies are failing to achieve the production target in the stipulated time frame and importing and selling commercially the same brand of maize seedby registering in different identity. The strategy of importing and producing hybrid varieties of maize must be reviewed to eliminate the irregularities. The policy makes the labeling of containers/packages to meet the standards specification mandatory for seed companies and dealers for all seeds. The study identifies that farmers complain about low quality and out-dated seed provided by the dealers and retailers. However, the dealers, according to our studys respondent accounts, pointed their fingers at the companies. The investigation further identifies that a lack of knowledge among some retailers about the length of storage time and its effect on the viability of seeds may cause this problem. An unethical attitude on part of the dealers and retailers is assumed. Strong monitoring and quality control of seeds in the market must be strengthened by developing proper infrastructures and deploying trained personnel, at least at the upazila level. The business of seed breeding, multiplication, production, processing, import and marketing according to the NSP, are to be declared as an agro-based industry under the industrial investment scheme. This is to make such companies eligible for various incentives and supports such as institutional credit at preferential rates of interest and concessions. However, small retailers, who directly provide services to the farmers, are mostly left out of these supports due to the complicated procedures for acquiring legal status entities.
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In the NSP, there are no explicit mentions of climate change and disaster mitigation issues.

5.3 National Agricultural Extension Policy (NAEP, 2012 draft version)

The key objectives of the National Agricultural Extension Policy (NAEP) include the following: i) improvement of productivity and production of food and fiber crops for sustainable national food security; ii) enhance farm income and employment through diversification of crop production with high value crops and farm enterprises; iii) ensure the sustainability and conservation of natural resources, including mitigation of climate change- induced vulnerability; iv) organize and mobilize farmers for better access to technologies, information and markets through aggregation, economics of scale and building social capital, and, iv) ensure food security to tiny, small and marginal farmers. The policy intends to restore farmer-focused decision making process, so that the farmers have direct access to resources and markets. Inclusive farmer groups are to be mobilized supported and strengthened as representative organizations of crop, livestock and fisheries farmers of all categories. These institutions will perform and govern the primary sector activities in accordance to comprehensive guidelines and rules of business. Building upon the village level, farmer organizations and higher level Producer Organizations are to be established; they will be mandated with activities covering entire production cycle. In order to ensure a two-way flow of information between farmers and other stakeholders (local government, extension, research, private sector, NGOs), Farmers Information and Advice Centers (FIAC) housed within the Upazilla Parishad (UP) complex, or the UP office to be further developed and strengthened under the leadership of DAE. This policy recommends coordinated efforts by the extension organizations for production, processing, preservation and distribution of quality seeds of High Yielding Varieties (crops, livestock, fisheries etc.), in addition to timely availability of fertilizers. The NAEP further emphasizes growing organic culture, and low use of pesticides, highlighting the use of IMP technologies, and efficient irrigation water management. The policy emphasizes on strengthening Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) for highvalue, market led, export oriented sub sectors. This is to be achieved by mobilizing private-sector driven development through commercial production, processing and marketing, agro-technology extension services, market information system (development, expansion and flow), and establishment and management of agricultural product collection centers, wholesale market etc. To combat natural disasters, the NAEP emphasizes training farmers groups to adopt short duration varieties, late varieties, salinity tolerant varieties, drought tolerant varieties and other available technologies. The climate change adaptation in agricultural extension considers an integrated approach for involving concerned ministries and departments.
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Furthermore, it emphasizes resilient extension practices for different climatically stressed and saline conditions, and documenting and promoting indigenous farmer practices against disasters and vulnerabilities. It promotes strengthening the capacity of NAES organization as a whole, This policy encourages the participation of women in agriculture through: developing women farmer groups, encouraging women SME development in agri-business, developing confidence for raising voice through grass root-level women farmers organization, creating gender awareness in both women and male farmers. In addition, women farmers are encouraged to lead and occupy decision-making positions in higher level farmer organizations.

5.4 National Integrated Pest Management Policy (NIPMP, 2002)

The overall objective of the National Integrated Pest Management Policy (NIPMP) is to enable farmers to grow healthy crops in an increased manner. This will thereby increase their incomes on a sustainable basis while improving the environment and community health. The core issues emphasized in this policy outlines maintaining the ecological balance, and executing appropriate actions on pesticides, while operating an effective system for implementing the national IPM programme and thereby developing human resources. This policy document mainly incorporates environmental conservation and institutional strengthening. However, it fails to address the profound impacts of climate change and disaster risk reduction issues explicitly. Notably, the policy may increase the self-reliance of farmers by promoting locally developed crop management practices which will eventually (and indirectly) address adaptation to climate change.

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6.1 Women, household and maize

6.1.1 Activities Performed Women are not recognized as farmers in the maize value chain, although they contribute a substantial amount to maize production, harvesting and packaging. Additionally, to agricultural work, they also perform domestic chores, are responsible for rearing children and taking care of the elderly and ill, and are involved in unpaid productive work for household consumption and other productive tasks outside homes which may be paid or unpaid. Based on the primary data from the survey, this section attempts to capture a womans daily activities related to maize cultivation. In the maize value chain In the maize value chain, women typically are engaged in all forms of work except physical intensive activities or travelling far distances to markets for purchasing inputs or selling their produce, which are tasks typically performed by men. However, in extraneous circumstances, in female-led households, women also undertake these activities, or emplore their neighbours help. Also, according to a provision of Crop Life Asia (CLA) a biotechnology company that works through the Bangladesh Crop Protection Association (BCPA) for the advocacy of crop protection, pesticides are not allowed to be sold to women, due to the acute health hazards they present for them, Thus, women are able to to buy other inputs except pesticides, for which they rely on men. Women are less involved in land preparation due to the typically physically intensive or machinery driven nature of the work. Women are significantly involved in the furrowing and weeding procedures, following the tilling of land, either spend 3 hours per day for couple of days, or 2 whole days in the field depending on the land size. While creating furrows in the land, weeds are automatically cleared out, and rarely needsto be performed as a separate task. The application of fertilizer and pesticide is done by men; however, women do help in carrying the bags to the field from storages or homesteads. Women may again be involved in pesticide spraying if men are not available; however, this is highly discouraged due to the adverse health effect pesticides may cause. During irrigation, labor is hired but women oversee the process. After the maize matures, harvesting is done by both men and women. Women work around 10 to 11 hours in the field during harvesting season (in addition to the household responsibilities). Sorting and grading is done by women during the night. The maize that had been harvested during the day is shelled at night by hand, which is relatively time consuming, requiring an average of 4 hours per night. In the study areas, shelling machines are very rarely used. They then pack the maize into bags, at the rate of 10 sack per 4 hours. Men are generally responsible for the sales in the market places on mainlands, Women take care of the sales from households (to forias) ; according to respondent accounts, the money from these sales is generally paid to the household men by traders later on. On an average, a woman spends around 15 hours in the fields daily during harvesting periods, and 3-4 hours in the field for maintenance of land during the cultivation period.
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In household The typical Char woman wakes up around 5 AM every morning (generally when calls for Fazr sound) and starts her household chores after morning prayers. She then cleans her house and residential compound, which takes around an hour. This s followed by the daily cooking (generally 3 hours) for the entire family. Usually, women do not go to main land markets, but purchase whatever they need from the smaller markets situated within the Char. Fetching water is another important household task handled by the women, who are sometimes helped by their daughters, or other female members of her family. The time taken for the entire process of collecting and boiling water depends on the proximity of the water source; on an average, it takes around 3.5 hours to fetch and process safe water, and les if the household has access to a tube-well pump. Women are also responsible for collecting fire wood, when the need arises; it generally takes 2 hours to collect enough biomass for 3 days. Women also spend around 1 and half hours doing unpaid productive work for the household like vegetable gardening, in addition to tending to the rearing and cleaning of the poultry and livestock and their shelters (which takes longer depending on the amount of livestock a household owns). She spends a total of 9 hours on an average, taking care of the household or engaged in other productive domestic works; this arbitrary tmie is subject to change given responsibilities that arise, or during harvesting seasons. Women are furthermore responsible for taking care of children and/or elders. Most women take their children along with them to work if they are unable to find a willing neighbor, or older children, elderly in-laws or parents to look after them. In West Gabgachi, Gaibandha, neighbor women were found offering to take care of the children, when mothers attended to business related work. In Other Paid Productive Work Women work as labors in fields almost all around the year. During harvesting of chilli, maize, lentils, nuts, vegetables etc, they provide labor and spend around 10 hours in the field. Women receive lower wages than men. They are paid BDT 100-150 compares to men, who are paid BDT 200 per day. In Community Women play crucial active roles in the community, being involved in many tasks year around. As CBO members, they attend weekly or monthly meetings. In East Gabgachi, Gaibandha these weekly meetings last for 3 hours, in Dewanganj, Jamalpur, women spend 4-5 hours for each monthly meeting. Women also help other community families prepare for weddings, funerals, or other festivities. These acticities are accommodated within their domestic and outside home resonsibliities. Following the customs of deaths in communities, women extend their services in cooking and cleaning for the deceaseds familys household for a customary period.
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Some women are traditional birth attendants (TBAs), dhatris or dais, and play the crucial role of delivering babies at home. Due to lack of proper health facilities these community women are the ones who can ensure the pre-natal and post-natal care of pregnant mothers, and proper delivery of the baby. They attend to mothers in labor, regardless the hour of the day, and undertake the difficult and brave responsibility of bringing a new life into the world. When on call in these situations, neighbors help her with her household chores if there are no other family members to take over In a lot of cases, TBAs lack adequate training, having learned the ways from personal experience, or through knowledge orally passed down from their mothers, aunts or grandmothers; given this, they may not have the proper pre-natal and post-natal health care knowledge crucial to the health of the mother, and may not be able to handle complications during the birthing period, which may put the lives of the mother and baby in danger. The Char women have hardly any leisure time, or free time to even go visit their relatives. They have to ensure that the domestic chores are managed before they go. Some women are incentivized to attend capacity-building training sessions for various skills and awareness, provided by different development actors (GOs, NGOs, etc), which may require them to travel fair distances, and be away from their homesteads and villages for a few days. Much like for other cases, her family members or neighbors offer a support network in her absence, undertaking her household chores in addition to theirs for the time being. 6.1.2 Ownership of Assets and Access to Services Women do not own land, equipments, tools, inputs, or other productive assets to their own name, due to patrilineal laws observed in rural areas. They rarely own jewelries as well but most women can take decision about cultivation, selling and leasing their lands. They consult with their family members but they are allowed to take the final decision. Of the survey participants, most of their households were male-headed, while only a few were female headed (where the woman was a widower). Women generally occupy the position to make, what is considered by them, smaller decisions, regarding benefitting from, selling or using productive assets (like their livestock and household valuables), while they larger sales must conventionally be in consultation with the male family members. Although the money initially is received and handled by the men, many of the survey respondents revealed that women in their families were responsible for allocating all household income to the areas she considered appropriate. Various studies illuminate that women in households have a higher propensity than their male counterparts, for devoting household incomes appropriately towards the improvement of her family`s health, educational and nutritional status, or overall betterment. Women have an enhanced access to financial credit. They can borrow from microfinancing institutions as these institutions have specific women-oriented programs. Women can prepare basic business plans based on their CBOs activities. Women must
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first consult their male counterparts before taking the final decision on choosing crops and variety of crops to be planted, unless she comes from a male-absent household. Women are highly involved in maize harvesting and post-harvest management, but sales are predominantly handled by the male members of the family. In regards to agricultural inputs, the majority of the survey respondents indicated that women take decisions on purchasing input items, and have the freedom to spend their money as they like. However, in some areas or families, women need to inform their male family members before making such expenses. In terms of storing their products, storage facilities are in short supply. However, women can utilize community locations like schools or masjids to store their crops during natural calamities. Access to the closest hospitals, health facilities, or education facilities, especially for women, is dependent on if transportation and relevant service providers are available. In the Chars, during the dry season the mainland is on an average, a 3 hour walk away. Other transport options include rickshaws and CNGs (a small motor-vehicle powered by compressed natural gas) during floods; strong currents render transport by boats as an unfeasible option. Women primarily have to rely on nearby community service if available. Otherwise, the challenges of transportation significantly impede their access to such service provision. Access to schools for girls is likewise dependant on the available of feasible transport systems. In the survey area, it was noted that all the girls go to schools, at least till Class 5, given the schools are accessible during monsoon. Inadequate access to transport also hinders the participation of women in skill training sessions in distant facilities (like the ones offered by REECALL, which are located in UPs, or mainland areas or areas that are often times further away from Char women but are more accessible by the trainers), or purchasing inputs or selling products in the markets. Women do not generally travel to these places alone. 6.1.3 Social Acceptance, Taboos and Restrictions Womens involvement in the maize value chain, especially in harvesting or manual shelling activities, is viewed positively by the community, although certain constraints and resistance reflected in the conventional social norms are noted in the marketing of their products. Although historically lower now than before, due to cultural and safety reservations, and more importantly, pragmatic analysis of the time costs associated with travelling, concerns of women travelling alone, especially without the company of male members of their families, are still prevalent. However, the increase in the numbers of women travelling away from homesteads to the mainland markets is mirrored by increased acceptance of this phenomenon. Notably, women do not travel to markets if she has family obligations at home, given the significant time investment that travelling from Char lands always implies. Women tend to be more active in markets in situations where their male counterparts go to distant places for work or migrate. Cultural connotations still underlie the position occupied by women at this particular level of participation, despite the increase in acceptance levels. There are no significant spiritual or cultural beliefs associated with women in maize related tasks, even in marketing.
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Menstruation cycles do not affect womens participation in maize related works, unlike restrictions for dairy related activities, where women cannot touch cows during that period. 6.1.4 IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL DISASTERS The northern Char areas are characteristically disaster prone areas, and are profoundly impacted by the dynamics of climate change that has intensified the weather patterns, as detailed in earlier sections of this report. These natural events have compounding negative impacts on women in these areas, who are made even more vulnerable due to destroyed livelihoods and disruptions in productive and domestic works. On maize related tasks Women contribute to a significant amount of tasks related to maize production, with the exception of a few areas as articulated in earlier parts of the report. During times of natural disasters, a womans day-to-day activities are hampered, and her burden of work increases multifold. Storms and prolonged or untimely rains put a halt to all the crucial work outside the household in the fields and ranges; in addition, heavy or flash floods destroy crops, increase pest infestations, rot away crop roots and devastate livelihoods, without the protection of any safeguards. If floods occur after the crops are harvested, women are responsible for packing them in plastic bags to keep the yields safe in storage within the house. Not only do the women need to offset the lack of income coming in for these periods due to the unfeasibility of getting the produce to markets for sales, by ensuring the continued nutritional intake and other factors within their households, they are burdened with the added responsibility of regularly maintaining the produce (maize and other seasonal crops) so it does not spoil in storage during monsoon. During extensive droughts or hot summer days, more irrigation is needed in the fields. Those women from male-absent homes have to spend more time in the field overseeing the irrigation process, which they need to accommodate for in addition to their domestic chores. Cold waves in winter also devastate crops. No protection is available against the river erosion phenomenon, which necessitates losing land. In the extreme cases of river erosion, in many cases, households lose all the productive land, and members are forced to become landless laborers. On household Tasks Women spend a significant portion of their day doing household chores. During incidences of natural disasters detailed above, their regular routines are burdened with more immediate chores.. Untimely and continuous rains add at least two more additional hours to a womans daily chores. After storms, houses need to be repaired. Smaller repairs are taken care of by the women, and they help the men attend to bigger repairs. To keep their households safe from flood waters, houses in the affected areas need to be raised on tall stilts, known as macha. The cooking and cleaning operations take longer, confined to the limited area outside their actual houses on the raised stilt platforms, which is also shared by the familys livestock. Collecting firewood becomes
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complicated, due to the difficulty of finding dry materials surrounded by water and rains. Also, children and the elderly, being more prone to the viral spread of waterborne diseases during this season, fall ill in increasing frequencies, and the women need to additionally care for them. Droughts present another complex set of problems, which also significantly increase the time and amount of household chores. Fetching water for homes without tube-well pumps is transformed into an even more cumbersome activity, because the women then need to travel longer distance to fetch fresh water for drinking and cooking. The shortage of potable water is widespread during this season. During winter, women need to ensure that family members and their families livestock are kept warm; else wise they easily fall ill. On Womens Health A woman spends all day doing various household and other outside-productive works, and it takes a serious toll on her health. During times of exceptional natural disasters, the increased workload and long work hours makes her more vulnerable. During droughts women need to travel long distances to carry back water, or collect firewood and work in the fields for hours under the scorching sun. This exposes them to dehydration and related ailments, from headaches to nausea, and general weakness. Daily tasks become tougher to do due to extreme heat. During rainy days, they need to conduct their daily chores, trekking through endlessly muddy terrains, which expose them often to skin diseases, mainly on the feet. They often have to wade through chestdeep water to go to the fields. During floods, women do not have access to latrines and have to spend longer time to find a suitable safe place to urinate or defecate. This poses a huge sanitation issue, and may affect health of women, who are more likely to get infections internally or otherwise from holding it in. Additionally, living within the same space as livestock increases their vulnerability to transferrable diseases like avian flu. A woman takes care of everyone and everything else in her household, and does not stop because she falls ill.

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Following graphics summarizes constraints in Maize value chain

Lack of awareness of farmers regarding identification, usage & benefit of quality seeds lead to purchase of lower quality, less priced local branded seeds as a result productivity goes down Lack of access to finance leads to inferior input purchase, improper post harvest management that results in low income Unavailability of quality inputs in chars leads to low production of maize Insufficient supply of irrigation facility results in low production of maize leading to low income

Production Related
Lack of access to information in chars exaggerated due to remoteness affecting cultivation practice being poor and results in lower productivity Lack of knowledge on technical criteria of maintaining harvested maize quality leads to poor market price results in lower income.

Post Harvest Management Related

Lack of knowledge on storage and/or unavailability of storage facility bound farmers to sell maize just after harvesting result in farmers not grabbing higher price potential. Unavailability of proper drying facility results in low quality of maize leading to low income

Market Access
Poor linkage between farmers and industrial buyer leads to poor access to high price market as a result farmers do not get fair price Heavy dependency on poultry & fish feed sector leads to vulnerability to market shocks

Gender & Enabling Environment

Lack of access to property rights, household work load & even more limited access to information leads women to engage themselves only to contribute as wage labour Due to decreasing cultivation land area by soil erosion and piling silica leads to loss of potential income and increase vulnerability of farmers Unavailability of char friendly transportation system leads to increased sales cost and less mobility

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Detail Descriptions are given below-

Input Related

Lack of awareness of farmers regarding identification, usage and benefit of quality seeds lead to purchase of lower quality, lower priced, local branded seeds and drives down productivity The average productivity found in Chars is 26mound per bigha (33 decimal) land. this is not a relatively bad rate, but is considered to be at lower middle level in terms of yield. In other areas, the rate is around 18-20 mound per bigha land. However, this snap shot of productivity in the study areas does not remain constant over time and region; yields of a certain maize seed variety in a region for the current year differ from yields of previous years. This inconsistency is attributed to the practice of mixed seeds (mostly local brands with import) being sold in proper jute packaging, which, in many cases, turn out to be of low quality due to a lack of a functioning quality-control mechanism. Market exploitation and unethical business practice is prevalent in the study area. Farmers widely lack proper awareness and knowledge of selecting quality seeds and the benefits of using it, so they are readily convinced to buy sub-par seeds by profiteering retailers or dealers. Pricing is another important factor choosing the brands. These farmers have poor bargaining power and are as such dependent on the whims of retail seed vendors who facilitate for meeting the immediate financing needs of poor farmers through allowing purchases on credit. Consequently, retailers have higher sales margin on the local mixed brands compared to national brands with certified good quality seed i.e. Monsanto, Syngenta, BRAC, CP etc.

Lack of access to finance leads to inferior input purchase, and improper postharvest management that results in low incomes for farmers Most of the farmers experience a shortage of capital during the cultivation periods of maize and other crops. Typically, BDT 30,000 is required for cultivating maize per 1 acre of land. Most of the poor farmers do not have this amount of money at hand right before the season. They service this lack of capital through generally high-interest borrowing from different sources, or by selling some assets, like livestock, and sometimes neither of these avenues provides enough to satisfy the requirement. No banks have been found to be providing loan to poor Char dwellers; the activities of credit-lending NGOs (like SKS, ASA, BRAC) have been found to be very limited in these areas. Most poor maize farmers approach mohajons as the primary source of capital; these profiteering actors charge the highest interest rates amongst any other loan providers more than 100% per annum.

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In fear of these high interest rates, some farmers tend to borrow fewer amounts than they require. Thus, they spend fewer amounts for inputs, which can only avail them with low quality ones most times. Additionally, even if they are agreed to be loaned to, they do not receive the amounts timely. As such, buying inputs and managing for other issues is delayed that negatively impacts the entire production process, resulting in low incomes for the poor farmers. Farmers also buy inputs on credit, having no other financing options available. The input sellers, in such cases, mostly push low quality products at a higher rate, which in turn result in inefficient or lost production of crops. However, to abate the pressures from input sellers and other money lenders, farmers sell the maize as soon as it is harvested, skipping crucial steps that avail quality maize, in order to get immediate cash for repayment. Some farmers even sell it without drying once. Thus, farmers receive low price per unit, BDT 500-600 per maund, for the low quality of their produce. This cycle binds farmers to low incomes and compounding poverty, as these poor farmers, who pay extortionary costs for low quality inputs, can only produce inefficiencies and low quality products that in turn lead to low per unit price. A significant amount of these reduced incomes then go to service loans, diminishing savings reserves for their future, or even immediate needs.

Unavailability of quality inputs in Chars leads to low production of maize Only a hand full of agriculture input shops are found in Chars, carrying a limited range of products; even then, these types of establishments were found only in two to three Chars. Poor farmers are required to travel to the mainland input retailers, equipped with little bargaining powers or inadequate information, making them prime targets for exploitation by retailers. Moreover, in many cases, they remain indefinitely indebted to retailers because of credit purchases. Fertilizer adulteration has been reported several times in respondent accounts of purchasing from mainland retailers; typically, TSP and MOP is mixed with Micro Nutrient Based Fertilizer, tainting its effectiveness and quality. The fertilizer dealers and retailers sell the pure fertilizers to other (mainland) areas, and keep adulterated ones for the Chars and adjacent areas. Thus, the Char farmers, having no other option, apply these impure fertilizers, which incur them some cost producing either no or insufficient result. Impure fertilizers degrade soil fertility and quality, thus leading to lower production and consequently lower incomes for farmers.

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Insufficient supply of irrigation facility results in low production of maize leading to low income

Maize is a highly nutrient absorbing plant, which requires more water than most other crops. Additionally, most of the Char lands are characteristically sandy, absorbing a lot of water. Without any government support of irrigation facilities, poor farmers are left at the mercy of shallow pump machine owners, who rent their equipment or supply water for a price, once they are finished with their own lands There are not enough machines to supply the demand of all Char land farmers; as such, the needy farmers have to wait until their turn of the rotation. This significantly delays the irrigation process for some farmers, or even worse, avails insufficient irrigation, both of which results in low production, and ultimately leads to low income. Production Related

Lack of access to information in Chars is exaggerated due to remoteness, affecting cultivation practices and decreasing productivity

The willingness of Char farmers to practice modern cultivation techniques are negated by limited access to relevant information and services. Designated service providers, with limited resources themselves, are concentrated in the mainland. Only the richer and influential Char land farmers can afford their services. The broader private sector, so far, has not yet exploited the mass business potentials in the Chars, considering these areas as major risk shares. Although there are a few private companies like CP and BRAC that are promoting the maize subsector in Gaibandha, their disparate presence is not sufficient to address the comprehensive needs of poor farmers of maize or other crops. The remoteness of the Char is a key reason for the grave absence of information provision mechanisms in these areas. The level of management and financial efforts required to service the needs of Char farmers, both from the public and private sectors, is often times simply dismissed as unfeasible following a cost-benefit analysis.
Table 33: Illustrated example of poor cultivation technique

Activities Soil management

Farmers should have done Test the soil for proper dosage of compost, fertilizers & micronutrients as per the requirement of the land Use good quality seed of high yielding variety Sow seeds at the distance of 9-10 in a bed/line Keep lines/beds at the distance of

Farmers current methods No soil testing done

Seed management Density management

Buy low price seeds of low quality Keep 6-8 distance Keep 18-20 distance

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Fertilizer application Weeding management Pest management Harvesting

20-25 Apply fertilizers as per the suggestion of soil test report Manual or mechanic but regular The right ones at dosage & timing Harvest mature maize appropriate

Follow the practice of other crops and if can afford, apply more Manual management but erratic Use pesticides of rice, indiscriminate use of pesticide Sometimes harvest immature maize

Input retailers, operating from the adjacent mainland market places, are the most prevalent providers of information to Char farmers. However, input retailers are not well aware of relevant updated information, and their knowledge is based on operational experience compounded by outdated information. However, BRAC Seed and Monsanto did start an initiative that trained these input retailers on production technology; however, the scope of the programs is not yet big enough to address the comprehensive needs of the Char lands . The government, through the Department of Agricultural Extension, has an opportunity to assume an important role in building capacities of input retailers, who can provide effective and relevant services to the Char farmers, instead of continuing the cycle of mal information. Due to this huge knowledge gap of the farmers, they are not using the appropriate dosages of fertilizers or pesticides, or are randomly and arbitrarily applying them to their lands, further degrading soil health and creating environmental hazards Such practices are not inducing more economic costs, and decreasing the net profit value to the farmers, but also incurring high social costs, endangering the health of their families.

Lack of knowledge on technical criteria of maintaining harvested maize quality leads to poor market price, resulting in lower income.

Maize is mostly used in the poultry and fish feed industries, where it is then processed further to produce the feed. Maize with 14%-17% moisture content is preferred at the trading level, to be feasible at the processing level. Farmers, however, lack technical support in measuring the moisture content or dust content, and depend on arbitrary sizing while selling product. Properly dried and dust controlled maize yield better prices from markets, but farmers unaware of processes of ensuring these aspects are forced to sell their products at low prices. Most poor Char farmers dry their maize under the sun on sandy lands,and are not exposed to facilities or processes that remove dust and reduce moisture; as such, traders do not prefer to purchase maize from the Chars which is sundried. Again, broken kernels during shelling processes, prominent for maize shelled by hand, or by faulty shelling machines, also contribute to lower sales price.
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Post Harvest Management Related Lack of knowledge on storage and/or unavailability of storage facility bound farmers to sell maize just after harvesting and result in farmers not grabbing higher price potential. During the peak harvesting season, quality maize fetches BDT 600-800 per maund, whereas after a few months, the price inflates to BDT 1000-1200 per maund. The need for immediate cash influences the decisions of farmers to sell the produce immediately in the markets. Sometimes, due to external factors, like decreasing demand of maize in the poultry feed industry, or unrestricted imports from India (who dumps surplus production) maize prices drop. Despite this, poor farmers are rushed to sell their maize even during these periods, to avoid total destruction of their crops in the rainy seasons or other instances of natural disasters, as they do not have access to appropriate knowledge or facilities for storing maize. Whereas traders have their own storage areas, most farmers store at home or in community locations like schools or mosques. Maize is a sensitive crop once harvested, and if not stored properly, a little moisture can severely damage the crop quality. Dried maize is also very susceptive to pest infestations, and the lack of any proper pest control mechanisms available in the Char severely increases chances to get attacked. As such, without any other option, these poor farmers, devoid of appropriate knowledge or agriculture extension networks, are forced to sell their produce at low prices.

Unavailability of proper post harvesting facility like drying machine results in low quality of maize, leading to low income Most of the maize produced in the study areas go to the poultry and fish feed industry through different channels. The feed companies prefer maize with 14%-17% moisture content; however, most of the farmers are unaware of this specification. Thus, they only dry the harvested maize in the sun on the (sandy) ground for a day or two. This causes several problems, as (i) all the grains do not dry properly; (ii) the moisture content of the grains does not come down to expected level; and (c) the kernels become sandy. Primarily due to the unavailability of
Picture 7: Post harvesting practice at household level

proper drying facilities in the Char islands and mainland, poor farmers sell

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inadequately dried, low quality grains, to the first buyer, at significantly low prices (BDT600-650 per maund) offered to offset the additional processing the buyer then needs to undertake.

Market Access
Poor linkage between farmers and industrial buyer leads to poor access to high price market, and as a result, farmers do not get fair price Most of the farmers in the study areas are small scale farmers and are not linked with industrial buyers. Without access to such knowledge, they do not attempt to produce the expected quality demanded by such buyers. Rather, they can only produce the quality that they can afford to, with the low quality inputs and other impeding factors mentioned earlier in the section, and their only channel for sales is to traders in the local markets. From there, grading and sorting is done by the traders and they sell to the industrial buyers. These poor farmers ultimately receive at least BDT 100-400 lesser per maund, than the price traders receive from industrial processors. This chain inherently impedes opportunities for farmers to get fair prices for their maize.

Heavy dependency on poultry and fish feed sector leads to vulnerability to market shocks Maize has been the primary ingredient for poultry and fish feed production and unfortunately no other sustained market has developed for maize usage. There is a demand for maize from the pop-corn industry, but not being in too much demand itself, is alone an insignificant force to drive up maize demands. There are evidence found in the adjacent Char areas that local bakeries and confectionaries are using maize flour as raw materials of finished flour, biscuits and chanachurs. This market still is very limited but definitely provides opportunities to explore.

Gender & Enabling Environment

Household work load, lack of access to property rights and even more limited access to information leads women to engage themselves only to contribute as wage labor As a consequence of traditional societal gender roles, women are expected to hold household chores and domestic obligations as top priority, considering any other productive work outside households as secondary. In the study Chars, it was a note of interest to find that women were complacent or even happy to operate within these established societal constructions. In most cases, of the women interviewed or approached, it was observed that they were apparently not interested in seeking paid
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work, or concerned about other avenues that enabled them with financial independence or freedom of choice. It seemed that they did not perceive their positions as a source of bereavement. When this situation was probed into further, it was revealed that some factors inherent in the legal and societal systems in Bangladesh, and particularly in Char communities, may contribute to the acceptance of their complacency and lack of voice. First of all, the patrilineal law surrounding property rights in Bangladesh dictate that women are legally entitled to less volume of property, as compared to their male counterparts. From this inequitable point of departure, the gap of property ownership between men and women increases; men conventionally and systematically get involved in paid work, and thus, have increased access than women to resource acquisition, while the latter, according to social conventions, typically takes care of the home. Inadequate access pertaining to knowledge of rights, facilities and supports, are more acute among women than men, especially in the study areas, and the inequity is sometimes found to have underlying social, religious or national backing. Consequently, many women adopt and internalize the perception of inferiority to men, and this translates into a cycle of consenting complacency. Decreasing cultivation land area due to soil erosion and piling silica from regular floods leads to loss of potential income for farmers With lesser fertile land for cultivation and even less land for cultivating maize, farmers can not expand their production, even if they have the investment capability and opportunity. The land and property rights are also not in favor of small farmers. As a result, small farmers cannot grow by using maize cultivation as a profitable IGA.

Unavailability of Char friendly transportation system leads to increased sales cost and less mobility There are no well-constructed road networks available in the Chars in the study area, while boat is the only viable medium for the majority of the year to transport products from the Char to markets. Boats are not women friendly in terms of sitting, boarding and departing provisions. Due to no market place available in the area, sales in nearby mainland on the haat day, is the only option for the farmers to sell maize unless they sell at lower price to farias. Carrying maize in a large volume is totally dependent on human labour and it is costly. Very few horse carts or other animal push carts were found in Char areas, and almost none in the core lands.

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Scopes and Opportunities for Value Addition and Women Involvement

Bangladesh is only nationally producing enough to meet a bit higher than half of the demand of maize in the country. The rest is being imported primarily from India and China. The Charlands exist as a growing area of untapped opportunity to expand the maize subsector, as the area coverage of maize in the country increases. If projected trends continue, Bangladesh is on its way to becoming self-sufficient in producing maize to meet the total national demand, and to expand into other areas for further usages for value addition. At the production and post-harvest processing levels of maize, this study identifies a few avenues for mechanical interventions that might add value to current maize production processes, and allow poor farmers to gain better, if not more fair prices for their products. The technologies in consideration are: i) power tiller mounted bed-former, and ii) maize drills that reduce the cost of tilling and sowing substantially. A vast majority of the poor farmers dry their maize via traditional methods on mud-floors of their homesteads or adjacent areas, under the sun, and those who can afford to, use better facilities of chatals (concrete drying floors). Late Rabi and Kharif-1 maize are harvested in the monsoon season. In many cases, in the study areas, prolonged and excessive rains delayed the shelling of harvested maize cobs, and caused an Alfatoxin infestation severely damaging maize crops. The Introduction of STR dryers at farmers and small traders levels may cut the amount of harvested maize wasted due to inadequate shelling and drying techniques. The technology is gender-friendly and can be operated by women easily with negating arduous labour associated with the maize drying process. A lack of adequate storage facilities for harvested maize in the Charland force poor farmers to sell wet maize. This accrues lower prices for the maize sold to local traders, negating the opportunities for small farmers from receiving fair prices for their crops. In addition, provisions of small storage facilities to farmers cooperatives would facilitate for better quality preservation and sales for better prices in beneficial periods, adding value to their produce.

8.1 Technological Options for Improved Maize Production Management

Maize production management process, as observed in the study areas, involves a range of different inputs and activities. Of the exhaustive list, some of these include: hybrid maize seeds, chemical fertilizers, mechanical tilling for land preparation, shallow tube wells for irrigation, hand and knapsack sprayers for administering insecticides and pesticides, automated maize shellers, and major activities such as weeding, bed forming, sowing and harvesting are done manually. Drying of maize is a major post-harvest process, dependent on natural sun drying.
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Land preparation in the study areas is mostly mechanized. About 50% of the maize land is prepared by tractor-operated cultivators or harrows, and requires about 3 to 4 tilling phases to make the ground suitable for sowing maize seeds. The cost of tractor tilling for each pass is about BDT 1,976 per hectare. The remaining 40% of land preparation is done by power tiller (PT) operated rotary tillers and require about 6 tilling phases to make the ground suitable. The cost of PT tilling for each pass is about BDT1,482 per hectare. The last 10% of the land is still prepared by bullock driven ploughs and requires about 6 passes suitable for sowing maize seeds. The cost of traditional bullock driven ploughs for each pass is about BDT 2,470 per hectare. The breakdown of the entire conventional maize planting process is as follows: conventional tilling practice for sowing maize seeds cost about BDT 5,928 per hectare for tilling, BDT 5,250 per hectare for manual sowing of maize seeds, BDT 3,500 per hectare for earthing up (bed formation) of maize rows. This brings the average for the entire process to BDT 14,678 per hectare. However, the possible introduction of a recently developed technology, - a bed former cum planting machine- can reduce the cost of tilling and sowing of maize seeds to a great extent. One pass of tractor tilling followed by tilling and bed forming by PT operated bed former, and maize drill for sowing of maize seeds can cost only BDT 5370 per hectare as opposed to the aforementioned average lump-sum. The PT operated bed former cum planter can save a cost of BDT 9308 per hectare i.e. about 63.42% of cost over conventional tilling, sowing and bed forming of maize. Moreover, sowing of maize is a labour-intensive job and necessitates the labourer to be in a bent position for hours, increasing th frequency of sever backpains among labourers. This sowing activity is mainly done by the women and children that is very hazardous to their health. The conventional maize cultivation requires about 31 hours of irrigation with shallow tube well cost about Tk. 3100 per hectare. However, the bed planting requires about 25 hours of irrigation with the same facility and cost about Tk. 2500 per hectare that saves about 20% of irrigation cost over conventional one. The cost of the PT operated bed former cum planter is about BDT 45,000 and the capacity is about 0.13 hectare per hour. An economic analysis estimates the benefit-cost ratio (BCR) of the machine is about 1.38 with a break-even hectarage of 23 i.e. if the machine is operated only 23 hectares or 22 days (8 hours of operation a day) in a year that will return all investment on the machine.
Table 34: Comparative cost of bed and conventional planting of maize

Cost parameter Land preparation: Tractor (1 pass) PT operated bed former Sowing cost Earthing up cost Total seeding cost

Bed planting, Tk/ha

Conventional Tk/ha 5,928


1,976 625 2,769 5,370

5,250 3,500 14,678

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Drying is one of the major post-harvest processing activities of maize. Conventional sun drying of maize is the only method used at farmers and maize traders level. Farmers dry harvested and shelled wet maize under the sun on earthen floors, nets and polythene; the whole process requires at least four days. Only large maize traders have access to concrete drying floor (chatal) for sun drying of maize that requires about 2 days. Small traders have limited access to the concrete drying floors on custom-hire basis that costs about BDT. 0.45 per kg of maize. Although family members who engage in drying activities are not paid, based on the survey data, this would cost about BDT. 0.90 per kg of maize. The major harvesting period of maize is during mid-April to mid-May. This period is marked by rain that causes a heavy loss of maize due to lack of sun light for drying. During this period, farmers in the study area, were not able to dry their produce for the necessary 3 to 4 days; this damaged about 10-15% of the total production. Given this, this report posits that mechanical drying of maize may reduce the loss of maize and its quality, especially during prolonged rain. A Vietnam design STR dryer has been identified by recent studies as a suitabletechnology for Bangladesh that is suitable for farmers and small maize traders. It has a simple design and is easy to operate.

Picture 8: Bed Planer for maize

Picture 9: STR dryer for maize

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The cost of the dryer is about BDT 21,000, and the capacity is about 1 ton per 12 hours operation. The cost of drying by STR dryer is about BDT 0.52 per kg of maize. The benefit-cost ratio (BCR), and pay-back period is about 33 days a year.
Table 35: Financial analysis of the STR dryer

Description Drying capacity, kg/hr Operating hour, hr/yr Profit, Tk./kg Variable cost, Tk./yr Fixed cost, Tk./yr Dryer life, yr Interest rate Dryer operating cost, Tk./yr Dryer operating cost, Tk./hr Dryer operating cost, Tk./kg Dryer operating cost, Tk./ton Sun drying (drying on chatal) cost, Tk./kg Gross benefit of the dryer, Tk./yr Net benefit of the dryer, Tk./yr Present Worth of Costs , Tk. Present Worth of Benefit , Tk. B/C ratio Net present value, Tk. Pay-back period , days Value addition Tk./kg of maize drying

Values 122.5 1080 2.24 63226.78 5376 5 12% 68602.78 63.52 0.52 518.54 0.45 233125.2 227749.2 38927.06 132281.5 3.40 93354.45 33 2.76

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Vision and Strategy Chars are one of the most disaster prone and vulnerable places in Bangladesh. The lives of the Char people can be improved significantly through availing avenues that will empower farmers, bolster their livelihoods, and generate better incomes resulting in job and food security. In this regard, maize can play a pivotal role in developing livelihoods of the poor Maize farmers, especially the women. The development of the maize sector in the Char lands will facilitate for favorable environments that will provide a proper support network for poor marginalized farmers. Through improved awareness and processes of cultivation, post harvest management and better market access, coupled with advocacy, farmers will be equipped with relevant information and better negotiating powers. The strengthening of CBO networks, additionally, will catalyze community capacity enhancement over a wider area, an enable Char dwellers to better prepare for and cope with adverse climatic situation. Most importantly, the status of women will be enhanced, and they will be empowered to play their crucial part in developing the maize market system.

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Lack of awareness of farmers regarding identification, usage & benefit of quality seeds lead to purchase of lower quality, less priced local branded seeds as a result productivity goes down

Lack of access to finance leads to inferior input purchase, improper post harvest management that results in low income

Unavailability of quality inputs in Chars leads to low production of maize

Insufficient supply of irrigation facility results in low production of maize leading to low income
Intervention: Advocacy & linkage with DAE & private input companies for capacity building of input retailers

Lack of access to information in Chars exaggerated due to remoteness affecting cultivation practice being poor and results in lower productivity

Lack of knowledge on technical criteria of maintaining harvested maize quality leads to poor market price results in lower income.

Intervention: Linkage and Advocacy with BADC & BARI to develop and promote Char environment tolerant maize variety seeds Lack of access to property rights, household work load & even more limited access to information leads women to engage themselves only to contribute as wage labour Unavailability of Char friendly transportation system leads to increased sales cost and less mobility

Intervention: Advocacy with national and private banks to create a favorable condition for the Char farmers and contractor to get loan Intervention: Promote women safety, health and endowment to productive work Intervention: Promotion of Char friendly transportation system i.e. horse cart, etc and suitably modified boat for women

Intervention: Establishing household-based women led input shop.

Intervention: Promoting improved cultivation technique to maize farmers through input companies & DAE.

Intervention: Advocacy for inclusion of Maize as priority crop in national agricultural policy

Intervention: Promoting appropriate post harvest technique and technology among maize farmers & contractors

Lack of knowledge on storage and/or unavailability of storage facility bound farmers to sell maize just after harvesting result in farmers not grabbing higher price potential.

Intervention: Promotion of farmer friendly drying facility in Chars through potential entrepreneurs Intervention: Creating Awareness on alternative usage of Maize & Promoting diversified use of maize through flour mills & industrial bakeries Intervention: Introducing Char friendly small scale storage (SILO)

Intervention: Capacity Development of Oxfam supported CBO as service providing Enterprise Drying Facility (Chatal) Mobile Banking

Unavailability of proper drying facility results in low quality of maize leading to low income

Promoting Due to decreasing Poor linkage between cultivation land area GENDER & ENABLING contract Heavy dependency on farmers and industrial by soil erosion and ENVIRONMENT buyer leads to poor farming in poultry & fish feed piling silica leads to sector leads to access to high price Char areas. loss of potential vulnerability to market market as a result income and increase __________________________________________________________________________________________________ shocks farmers do not get fair vulnerability of Maize Value Chain Analysis 2013 Northern Char Context 97 farmers price MARKET ACCESS

Intervention 01: Linkage and Advocacy with BADC & BARI to develop and promote Char environment tolerant maize variety seeds The Bangladesh Agricultural Development Council is adopting maize from farmers and selling it back to farmers again in the next year. If BARI can develop a suitable variety for Chars, BADC can take an initiative, and in association with the DAE, promote and supply the variety in the Char areas.

Picture 10: Seed Cost Chart of BADC

Intervention 02: Advocacy with national and private banks to create a favorable condition for the Char farmers and contractors to get loans Land rights are disputed in the Char areas. In addition, due to the perceived risks located in these disaster-prone vulnerable lands, banks do not consider these assets as mortgage-able property. As such, small farmers are not able to receive agriculture loans from local banks in the mainland. Cultivation of maize needs to be recognized as a relevant and impactful agricultural industry, and the small stakeholders of this sub-sector (such as farmers, maize traders, custom-hire service providers of agricultural machines) need to be availed access to credit at preferential rates. Additionally, subsidies need to be recognized in the policies.

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Intervention 03 : Establishing household-based women led input shop.

The intervention will address the need for inputs in Chars while concentrating on creating Household-based Women Enterprise. Establishing such input shops in the Char locality will avail the inputs in the right time for farmers. Moreover, this will create an additional income generating option for the female households in the locality. Activities would be as follows. Identification of the potential women entrepreneurs in the Chars Capacity development of women on business operation Linking with MFIs or FIs for capitalizing the business Linking with private companies to introduce Char Women Dealership program

Intervention 04: Advocacy and linkage with DAE and private input companies for capacity building of input retailers Input sellers are not trained or knowledgeable of relevant marker or product information. Their businesses exist as part of a family business or as their income generation. Training on agriculture is not recommended or a pre-requisite to get certified. If training on agricultural systems and functions is a binding issue, their capacity on disseminating appropriate production technology will be useful for the poor Char farmers whose only source of information is from these vendors.

Intervention 05: Inclusion of Maize as priority crop in national agricultural policy Maize is an important cereal for poultry and fish feed industries and for human consumption. It is considered as one of the most important inputs of household nutrition and food security of the small farm holders. This needs to be emphasised in the national agricultural policy documents and subsequently, appropriate structural adjustments need to be made in the service delivery systems within the public and private sectors. Maize is still considered as minor crop by the Directorate of Agricultural Extension programmes. To disseminate modern maize production technologies, the DAE must highlight this sub-sector, in accordance with national agricultural policies that encourage the promotion of cash crops as a viable means of food security that lifts families out of poverty.

Intervention 06: Promoting improved cultivation technique to maize farmers through input companies and DAE.
Farmers buy seeds and other inputs directly from input retailers. Seed companies can promote dissemination of information on proper maize cultivation techniques through their respective distribution channels. While selling quality inputs to farmers, the input retailers would also provide them information regarding the proper usage and dosage of
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inputs and other techniques of maize cultivation. This would work as a business incentive for input retailers attracting repeated purchases and more customers. This implies a contract of mutual benefits for both parties. Probable activities under this intervention are as follows: Identification & selection of appropriate input companies as partner Capacity building of retailers & farmers through training Establishing demo plots Conducting field days Conducting farmers' meetings


Intervention 07: Promoting appropriate post-harvest technology among maize farmers and contractors techniques and

The drying process begins right after the harvesting of the maize, before the wet season arrives. The most profound challenges in this area are the lack of drying facilities and drying technologies available to farmers. Moreover, maize farmers lack proper knowledge and facilities of storing their harvests, and are forced to sell their products for lower prices when there is a surplus in the markets. To address this constraint, post-harvest management hard and soft technology can be disseminated to maize farmers and contractors through large maize processing companies and agro machinery service companies among Probable activities may include: Identification and selection of large maize processing companies and agro machinery service companies as partner Capacity building of farmers and contractors through training Conducting dissemination workshop

Intervention 08: Promotion of farmer friendly drying facility in Chars through potential entrepreneurs
This intervention would try to develop a new drying facilities vis--vis identifying new service providers. There are potential investors in the Chars who have the capacities and interests to establish drying facilities locally known as chata; they need to be motivated and provided with an understanding of the benefits that such a business has potential for. This chatal can be used for drying any crop (as maize, chili, rice, groundnut, etc). The biggest foreseeable obstacle to this would be finding a suitable site for it. The probable activities are Identification and selection of potential entrepreneurs Conducting motivational meeting or workshop Capacity building of the entrepreneurs through business plan development & entrepreneurship training Linkage entrepreneurs with FIs/MFIs
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Conducting dissemination workshop

Intervention 09: Introducing Char friendly small scale storage (SILO)

To negate widespread destruction of crops due to natural disasters, small scale storage (SILO) with capacities for storing 3MT for individual farmers, and 50 MT for CBOs will be introduced. SILO facilities will preserve maize crops from the following major causes that destroy yields mold, rodent infestation, animal depredation, and insect attack that result from poor shelling, drying and storage of corn. SILO facilities will provide maize farmers with the advantage of storing their produce so they can sell them in future when they will get better market price. Probable activities will be: Conducting motivational meeting or workshop among the CBO members Capacity building on SI`LO management though training Linkage SILO owners with FIs or MFIs Conducting dissemination workshop on the benefits of using SILO

Intervention 10: Capacity Development of Oxfam supported CBO as service providing Enterprise
In Oxfams development model, community based organizations are playing very important roles in developing life of Char people. CBOs are platforms that facilitate dialogue and engage communities in development activities. CBOs exist as one of the stakeholders within the market system. Most of the CBOs have a participatory and coherent organizational structure, which is very important in acting as positive market influencer. CBOs as part of the market system fill the gap of service provisions that exist in Chars; they can enhance their existing operations, to act as service provider themselves, availing beneficiaries with fee based services, which are timely and efficient. The income generated from this will cover the operational costs of CBOs and provide sustainable provisions to operate and expand with financial strength. The following interventions are suggested to improve the capacities of CBOs networks: CBOs can take the lead and establish themselves as service provider organization with a bundle of required and essential services. Potential services those can be offered - Renting of agro machinery like power tiller, tractor - Renting of irrigation machinery - Renting of chatal (CBO can take rent of chatal from its owner in the mainland) - Renting of sheller machine - Sales of seed, fertilizer and irrigation - Renting of dryer machine/facility The maize traders do not buy from farmers mostly because the former does not maintain a consistent schedule for reaching the mainland, making it more
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complicated for the traders to clear out their payments. As male farmers regularly come to market, they can collect their dues from traders easily. In Gaibandha, a soy bean trade scheme was done by contract farming and the mode of payment was through Dutch Bangla Bank Limited (DBBL) mobile banking. The payment option is relatively simple to set up - the farmers have to open an account at the nearest DBBL branch, and then the money can be transferred by retailers at the Fulchari market. Similar interventions were undertaken by BKash, where registration with BKash is necessary. The process is a rather simple one and can be accessed easily at the nearby markets. BKash is still being used for personal transactions. There are 3 to 7 such BKash and DBBL mobile banking retailers in the markets of Gaibandha and Jamalpur. Up to BDT 500,000 can be easily transferred through these services. There is opportunity of developing BKash or DBBL mobile banking retail agent (preferably female, to promote womens empowerment and access to assets) at the Char locations and use it for payment method of the contract farming system. CBOs may establish a network in association with bKash and/or Dutch Bangla Mobile banking facilities that are closely available in the connecting mainland. This will serve both way purpose- firstly, will act as financial access point for both receiving and paying for products (purchases and sales) and secondly act as income generating activities of the CBOs with the income they can further invest on capacity building program of the CBO members (producer organizations). In some cases, women entrepreneurs can also get household base agency ship and Oxfam partner organizations can play linking role.


Intervention 11: Creating awareness on alternative usage of Maize and promoting diversified use of maize through flour mills and industrial bakeries
The focus of this intervention would be to raise mass awareness amongst people about the versatility of maize as a good source for food and nutrition. Apart from that, linking the relevant processors flourmills and bakeries with Chars for collecting maize would be other major activities. Heightened awareness will bring about increased consumption of maize and maize flour. This would expand the demands for the maize sector beyond the feed manufacturing industries. Additionally, there would be opportunities to produce more maize (increasing production horizontally). This process would increase the price of maize, which will ultimately benefit the farmers. The probable activities are Conducting assessment of the diversified use of maize Conducting national workshop for disseminating the findings of the assessment Identification of flourmills & industrial bakeries as partners Linking with CBOs & suppliers with the partners & other mills & industrial bakeries Conducting media promotion targeting the consumers
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In Bangladesh, there are a few prevalent alternative uses of maize for popcorn, cornflakes, starch, etc.. Few companies/enterprises currently use maize as a major input. As the demand for those alternative products rise, so will the demand for maize; as such, if a link between those companies/enterprises and maize farmers are established, this will result in increasing the land area in which maize is cultivated, and also the availability of climate-appropriate maize varieties in these areas.; these interventions will thereby ultimately raise the farmers incomes. CBOs can play a crucial role in introducing contract farming in Chars. Probable value addition and diversification opportunities in maize Local household based cattle and fish feed production by crushing maize and mixing with molasses (technical feasibility shall be assessed by experts) as parallel to rice bran Local household based silage production as fodder of cattle as parallel to straw & hay. Promotion of maize flour as alternative food (Roti), can be used as alternative food source to address food security during the flood season also. Wheat is not a very common crop in Chars rather maize is. Promotional campaign needs to be launch to support this initiative. The probable activities would include: Conducting assessment of the alternative use of maize and its demand. Disseminating the findings to the different stakeholders by conducting workshop and/or preparing promotional tool. Creating awareness to the maize farmers to the market of this business. Capacity building of CBO on contract farming. Creating linkage between companies/enterprises and CBO. Currently, the maize sub-sector is entirely dependent on the demand of the feed mills (fish & poultry). They procure maize from both local and international markets. External factors, such as availability of import maize in markets, or diseases or other negative factors that influence the demand of these feed products, drive down demands for maize, which leads to sharp declines in the price level of maize. The poor maize farmers are the most adversely affected by this price fall. With a view to absorbing this shock of price fall, the maize sub-sector needs to diversify its consumer base beyond solely the feed industries. An increase in demand for maize in other sectors would then increase the price of maize, benefiting farmers as a whole. If current trends persist, flour mills, bakery and confectionary, sweet product producers can be identified as being the next potential large consumers

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Intervention 12: Promoting contract farming in Char areas.

Contract farming has till date remained a very good technique of ensured purchase/procurement of quality products. The principal consumers and/or their suppliers of maize in the relevant value chain can start contract farming of maize from the Char areas. Thus, as per the system of contract farming, farmers would get the support of inputs and information from the contractor, and later sell him the prefixed desired amount at either pre-fixed rates or ongoing market prices. Thus, poor Char farmers (of maize) would have access to more income. Contract farming would ensure input supply to farmers on credit as well as purchase of maize after harvest. Poultry feed processing companies, namely Aftab and CP have operational presence in the adjacent mainland of Gaibandha, Nilphamari and Rangpur districts; these companies may be identified as effective potential partners for this intervention. They could have these potential roles in this scheme: recruit some contractors, develop their capacity in terms of contract farming, supply them with inputs, provide them with specifications of maize as per their preference, and collect the maize after harvest. This would directly benefit the farmers under. Probable activities under this intervention are Identification and selection of potential processing company(s) as partner(s) Identification and selection of potential contractors Capacity building of the contractors through training Linking contractors with FIs Training contract farmers through contractors Linking contractors with other processing companies


Intervention 13: Promotion of Char friendly transportation system i.e. horse cart, etc and suitably modified boat for women
Because of the volatile topography and proximity to waters of Chars, road construction is risky. Therefore, availing Char friendly transport (e.g., Horse Cart, KaKra) in these areas could improve the communicability and mobility of Char dwellers, especially the farmers, by multifold. Potential entrepreneurs would be encouraged to tap into this service market. Probable activities under this intervention are Identification and selection of potential entrepreneurs as service providers of transport Conducting motivational meeting or workshop

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Capacity building of the entrepreneurs through service plan development & entrepreneurship training Linking entrepreneurs with FIs or MFIs Linking entrepreneurs with transport machine suppliers Conducting dissemination workshop Research shows that, around 2 to 3 %, and sometimes more, of the maize crops are damaged due to the unfavorable loading and unloading processes of the crop on and off boats. To ease the process and avoid the loss during loading-unloading from boats, appropriate alternative rafting arrangements should be developed.

Intervention 14: Promote womens safety, health and endowment to productive work
Many women in the survey reported that the sharp leaves of maize plants are hazardous to the harvesters. They noted irritation, itching and various body injuries during the harvesting of maize. Another regular source of injuries for women is reported to be during collecting and transport of drinking water from the source to households. Potable water sources are scarce across households in Char lands, and women have to travel far distances daily, multiple times, to fetch water. In addition, this time intensive activity creates multiple constraints to the daily work of women, especially during harvesting seasons. Although women are significantly involved in such time consuming, unpaid, and arduous manual work, their contributions are nor recognized, and they are paid less on average for productive works that their male counterparts. Following activities can be taken to address these barriers: Promotion of the practice of cutting off the heads of mature maize plants before they are harvested. This will decrease the incidences of injuries to women during harvesting processes. This process has been seen in practice in Chars and mainland areas and has some economic benefit also. Advocacy/ pressures on local government to provide drinking water facilities to every household. Enabling CBOs to negotiate for similar wage for women compared to men while working as wage labor Advocacy with the boat owner to build women-friendly sitting arrangement in the boat and reserve specific number of seats for the women travelling to and from Chars.

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Priority of Matrix of Interventions

Table 36: intervention priority for maize value chain

Interventions Intervention 01: Linkage and Advocacy with BADC & BARI to develop and promote Char environment tolerant maize variety seeds Intervention 02: Advocacy with national and private banks to create a favorable condition for the Char farmers and contractor to get loan Intervention 03 : Establishing householdbased women led input shop. Intervention 04: Advocacy & linkage with DAE & private input companies for capacity building of input retailers Intervention 05: Inclusion of Maize as priority crop in national agricultural policy Intervention 06: Promoting improved cultivation technique to maize farmers through input companies & DAE. Intervention 07: Promoting appropriate post harvest technique and technology among maize farmers & contractors Intervention 08: Promotion of farmer friendly drying facility in Chars through potential entrepreneurs Intervention 09: Introducing Char friendly small scale storage (SILO) Intervention 10: Capacity Development of Oxfam supported CBO as service providing Enterprise Intervention 11: Creating awareness on alternative usage of Maize and promoting diversified use of maize through flour mills and industrial bakeries Intervention 12: Promoting contract farming in Char areas. Intervention 13: Promotion of Char friendly transportation system i.e. horse cart, etc and suitably modified boat for women Intervention 14: Promote womens safety, health and endowment to productive work

Impact HIGH

Outreach HIGH

Feasibility LOW




























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It is recommended that the interventions that scored at least MODERATE in all three categories i.e. Impact; Outreach and Feasibility be initiated in the near future. Those with high feasibility can be operationalized immediately. Accordingly, the following interventions can be undertaken within short period of time and without further assessment required:

Intervention 03 : Establishing household-based women led input shop.

Intervention 10: Capacity Development of Oxfam supported CBO as service providing Enterprise Intervention 12: Promoting contract farming in Char areas.

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