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PETRRA -
an experiment
BOOK: 4/10 in pro-poor
agricultural
Newspaper articles
research
Edited by Noel P. Magor, Ahmad Salahuddin,
Mamunul Haque, Tapash K. Biswas and Matt Bannerman

Poverty Elimination Through Rice
Research Assistance (PETRRA), 1999-2004
a project funded by DFID, managed by IRRI in close collaboration with BRRI
Book 4. Newspaper articles

English Daily (editorial page)

4.1 Biotechnology for Food Security: Risks and Rewards.
The Daily Star, September 30, 2003

4.2 Shrimp Culture: Death or Dollars?
The Daily Star, September 2, 2003

4.3 The Veritable Vegetable Grower.
The Daily Star, August 12, 2003

4.4 Research for Rich Rice. The Daily Star, July 30, 2003

4.5 What They Need is New Knowledge.
The Daily Star, July 22, 2003

4.6 The Ladies with The Lamps. The Daily Star, July 17, 2003

4.7 Tales of the Tale Enders. The Daily Star, July 8, 2003

4.8 As They Sow, So They Reap. The Daily Star, July 1, 2003

4.9 Seeds for Survival. The Daily Star, June 25, 2003

Bangla Daily (editorial page)

4.10 Biotechnology in Agriculture in Bangladesh Context
(Krishite biotechnology abong Bangladesh prekhhit)
The Daily Bhorer Kagoj, October 3, 2003

4.11 Rice Research and 'Resource-Poor' - A Travelogue
(Dhan gobeshona o 'sampad-daridro' ekti brhomon
britanto) The Daily Bhorer Kagoj, September 12, 2003
Newspaper
article no. 4.1

Biotechnology for food security: risks and rewards
Abdul Bayes

food security, nutrition and human health.
These two speakers succinctly
September 30, 2003 summarised the potential and the
problems of biotechnology. While the
In a recent seminar organised by the issue is being debated both in the
Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) at the developed and the developing world,
BRAC Centre, eminent economists and according to them, the premises are quite
agricultural scientists dwelt, albeit different and hence a grandiose
indecisively, on the sensitive issue of generalisation should be shelved.
biotechnology. The topic, admittedly, is of Developed nations stand against it as with
top-most importance in the wake of almost stagnant population growth for
ongoing realities related to rice decades, they have a consequent craving
production, particularly in developing for food safety, while developing
countries like Bangladesh. Here the green countries imperative is food security.
revolution, allegedly, tends to gradually
It shall be noted that about 1.2 billion
groan under a regime of declining yield
people mostly in Asia and Sub-Saharan
rates, the complex problem of insect and
Africa live in a state of absolute poverty
disease pressure and other problems.
with an income of less than US Dollar 1 a
Thanks to the organisers, especially CPD
and IRRI-PETRRA, for floating a debate day. About 800 million people are food
that warrants the best available empirical insecure and 160 million preschool
evidence relevant for poor people in children suffer from energy-protein
developing countries. Such debates should malnutrition, which results in the deaths
help identify the most appropriate ways of over 5 million children under the age
that molecular biology based research of 5 years. Thus the whole issue boils
might contribute to achieving and down to a debate between food safety and
sustaining food and nutrition security. food security.

Safety and security Problems and potentials
Two of the well-known researchers from I assume that my readers are well
the International Rice Research Institute informed of the potential of
(IRRI) Dr. Mahabub Hossain and Dr. biotechnology as this is by now
Swapon Kumar Dutta set the tone round articulated and known. Even then, to put
the table at the very outset. They made it simply, biotechnology can bring forth a
preliminary remarks on scientific revolution not only in food production -
evolution in molecular biology over the in a regime of declining land and rising
last two decades, the genetic base of population - but also in the realm of
living organisms, and the ability to nutrition for the poor. One example
develop processes and products useful for should suffice to sound the semantics.
Newspaper
article no. 4.1
Biotechnology for food security: risks and rewards

Vitamin-A deficiency affects 400 million While complacency could be in one
people worldwide, leaving them corner, concerns loom large elsewhere.
vulnerable to infections and blindness. Every year, 2 million people are added to
Iron deficiency affects 3.7 billion people, the existing stock putting a pressure on
particularly women, leading to higher food supplies of 0.56 million tons a year,
maternal deaths and infant mortality. just to maintain the same level of per
Developing micronutrient dense rices, capita consumption. Despite the claim of
with higher amounts of iron, zinc and self-sufficiency in food and the calm it
pro-Vitamin-A, can have a tremendous confers upon the nation, occasional
impact on the health of low-income imports invoke inquiry into the claims
people. Conventional breeding when made so far. The easy option of realising
combined with biotechnology can provide increased rice production has already been
powerful tools to achieve this goal. exhausted and Bangladesh is poised to
reel under a regime of losing cultivated
There is another point to ponder. The big areas at more than 1% per annum due to
multinational companies - the candidates growing urbanisation, population pressure
for criticisms on this count - have and leaving land for non-rice crops. In
reportedly backtracked in recent years this scenario of an almost closed
from rice biotechnology as they observed cultivation frontier, declining yield and
the dominance of small holders in Asia increasing population in Bangladesh - a
and the high transaction costs of country that stands with higher
enforcing intellectual property rights population density than America when all
under a weak judicial system. By and people of the world are pushed into that
large, both in developed and developing country - must strive for the alternatives,
Asia, the public sector needs to be the especially the opportunities created by
vanguard of rice biotechnology. rice biotechnology.
It is also because 60% of the children
Bangladesh perspective: complacency
under age five are underweight and more
and concerns
than half are stunted. More than 70% of
The Bangladesh perspective on potential pregnant women suffer from anemia due
and problems - quite obviously - was on to iron deficiency. In rural areas, where
board for threadbare discussions. three-fourths of the people live,
Bangladesh is one of the most land scarce malnutrition is acute due to lack of
countries in the world with the cultivation knowledge or financial capacity to buy a
frontier closed almost half a century ago. balanced diet. Since poor people consume
The green revolution that swept over the nearly 150 to 170 kg. of rice per year,
last decades helped a balance between incorporation of a small amount of iron
growth rate of population and food. Most and pro-Vitamin-A in rice could go a long
of the gains of the green revolution came way in meeting the deficiencies in these
from improved rice and wheat varieties micronutrients.
developed by the Bangladesh agricultural
research institutions in collaboration with For and against
international research centres. Two-thirds There are a lot of risks too. Concerns
of the cropped area is now being covered about food safety, ethical points,
by modern varieties and 55% of the environmental implications and socio
cultivated area is now under irrigation. In economic risks were also deliberated upon
tandem, population growth rate also by the authors. Taking all the risks into
declined appreciably, say from 2.2%-1.5% consideration, the authors noted that
per year in the 1990s. samples drawn from a large section of

2
Newspaper
article no. 4.1
Biotechnology for food security: risks and rewards

civil society and agricultural institutions rhetoric ruling over realties on the ground
seem to support biotechnology in certain in the case of a few. We think that society
conditions. For example, biotechnology needs to rise above all rhetoric and
could be supported provided it is done by emotions and seriously start a systematic
the public sector and is free for farmers. inquiry into the nexus soon. Dr. Mahabub
Health and environmental assessment Hossain and others provided sufficient
would need to be done before the release food for thought for a safe and secure
etc. Those who declined to support put world of food, particularly in the context
forth various arguments such as, the of Bangladesh. It is felt strongly that
development of pests to destroy food biotechnology could be the key to the
sources, dependence of farmers on upcoming crisis, but the questions raised
private companies, additional production must be kept in mind. We have to seek
of rice not needed and gene answers to the questions raised rather
transformation is unethical etc. than throwing away the question itself.
Allow me to remind my readers that had
Riding the risks we not hailed the adoption of modern
rice technology in the 1960s and 1970s,
Given the growing constraints on future we would have, probably, experienced a
rice availability in Bangladesh and the worse food situation. Many of the
devastating micronutrient deficiency forecasts at that time turned out to be
among the poor households in rural areas; futile. We can only hope that we shall be
the rice biotechnology issue should be left able to find a judicious path for our
neither to rhetoric nor to emotions. In the survival.
seminar mentioned before, I sensed
emotions engulfing economics and

3
Suggested citation:
Bayes, A. 2007. Biotechnology for food security: risks and rewards. Reprinted from The Daily Star, September
30, 2003. In: Magor, N. P., Salahuddin, A., Haque, M., Biswas, T. K. and Bannerman, M., editors. PETRRA - an
experiment in pro-poor agricultural research. Newspaper reprint no. 4.1. Dhaka (Bangladesh): Poverty
Elimination Through Rice Research Assistance Project, International Rice Research Institute. 4 p.
Newspaper
article no. 4.2

Shrimp culture: deaths or dollars?
Abdul Bayes

While in Khulna, in connection with
Poverty Elimination Through Rice
September 02, 2003 Research Assistance (PETRRA) sub-
projects, I visited the Coastal
The purpose of my visit to Khulna - the Development Partners (CDP) office.
first ever in my life - was not anything CDP, along with 15 other small non-
relating to shrimp culture, although I governmental organisations (NGOs), act
knew that greater Khulna holds the key to as partners of the various projects that
the culture that grew out of our dire need PETRRA tends to support. Akhtarul
of dollars from foreign countries. As time Alam Tutu heads this organisation. The
passed, shrimps began to show potential posters pasted on the wall of the office
as an important source of foreign gave me the impression that CDP is
exchange, accounting for, perhaps 6% of involved mostly with issues relating to the
our export earnings and about 3% of poor. It is not a micro-credit organisation
world export of shrimps. At a global level as classical definitions of NGOs would
today, about one-third of the shrimps are suggest, but an organisation engaged in
reported to be farmed here compared to facing human rights violations,
barely 5% in the 1980s. environmental hazards, repression of
This is the dollar-side of the women and above all, highlighting human
development. We should never be values. And of late, the organisation
oblivious to the dark side. Since shrimp associated itself with the dissemination of
culture started to surge, local conflicts rice diversity technology to the poor in
emerged with land grabbing, the coastal areas.
environmental degradation, a considerable It is there I came across the 'unknown'
number of people were dashed below the costs of shrimp culture that CDP has
poverty line and a host of adverse been striving to dig out. It goes beyond
impacts were felt. The imputed costs of the calculus of the principles of profit
such hazards should be added to the maximisation. I have newspaper clippings
revenue earnings to arrive at sustainable with me from August 2003. Throughout
development of the sector. For a long the month, cases of terrorist attacks,
time I have been hearing newspaper
human rights violations and other vices
stories about the socio-economics and
surrounding shrimp culture are reported
politics of shrimp culture. In fact, if one
almost every day. During the last three
scans through the news and views relating
years, I was told, 55 persons were killed,
to the deteriorating law and order
and 42 incidents of assaults and 17
situation in greater Khulna one could,
instances of poisoning of fish/shrimp
perhaps, come to the conclusion that the
ponds took place.
lion's share of this deterioration is owed
to shrimp cultivation and related issues. Hearing the horrors, I expressed interest
Newspaper
article no. 4.2
Shrimp culture: deaths or dollars?

in visiting some shrimp ponds called farming was developed in some places but
chingri gher - places I have never visited the poor were deprived of their due
before. Next day, I drove to the ghers shares from the farms. And now, in many
located in a village named Magura Ghona places, small farmers are themselves doing
under Dumuria thana. A narrow the cultivation - instead of renting out
semipucca road passes through the heart land - to eke out a living but problems
of the village and I had to step down mounted rather than mitigated.
from the vehicle for a walk of a kilometer One example should suffice to show the
or so to the ghers. My a priori reasoning severity. Recently, a 6 km. long canal was
suggested that people of that village occupied by goons to develop ghers and
should be relatively better off than others, cultivate shrimps in the water of the said
since infrastructure development and canal which is a common access resource
other linkages connected with shrimp passing through nearby villages. Water
culture should shower positive benefits on flowing to and from was stopped by
the villagers (besides the fact that they building barrages causing a host of
could increase their earnings from the adverse impacts. The poor villagers
culture). objected to this barrage in the canal and
As I stood at the fag end of the village, I were threatened by the powerful mastans.
could see vast tracts of lands turned into Some of the villagers were reportedly put
ghers by developing polders. These are under criminal cases. While the police
agricultural land that historically the were looking for those poor villagers to
people of that locality leaned on to meet arrest, they were, allegedly, least interested
the food security need by producing rice. to kick out the devils from the dens. As I
In the past, when cultivation of crops was was told, huge sums of money from the
the mainstay, ecological balance was goons and the powerful gher owners
maintained, indigenous technologies were force them to turn a deaf ear to the
adopted and an egalitarian approach to 'development' that took place in the canal.
the preservation of common properties More interestingly, the day I visited the
was in evidence. But gone are those days spot, the local member of parliament
with the advent of shrimp cultivation. (MP) came to the place to remove the
Unplanned growth of the projects, barrage and thus allow access to common
absence of proper regulations and above resources by all people. This was an
all, lack of governance grievously gave appreciable job done by the local MP. But
way to an unsustainable development. unfortunately, no sooner had he left, the
My hypothesis turned out to be wrong as villagers complained, than the barrages
I began to talk to the villagers. People of inside the canal were put back again.
the village that I met seemed to be I was told that the rent from leasing
perturbed, panicky and powerless in the out land for shrimp cultivation - Tk.
face of known man-made catastrophies. 1,200 per bigha - is much less than that
They informed me about three phases for rice cultivation. The soil fertility is
that shrimp cultivation passed through seriously affected due to the intrusion of
over time. First, there was a time when the saline water into the fields and the
the owners of the ghers - with money and yield rate is down by 20%-30%.
muscle power - used to grab land of the Witnessing a decline in the yield of
poor without paying them a penny. This agricultural crops and the lack of access to
was the early stage of the so-called blue common resources, poor farmers are
revolution and a business of the 'big'. gradually forced to lease out land for
Second, then came a time when collective shrimp cultivation. There are no winter

2
Newspaper
article no. 4.2
Shrimp culture: deaths or dollars?

crops anymore - pulses, oil seeds and both economic and non-economic costs
vegetables and the collapse of cattle are duly calculated to point to sustainable
raising has had serious economic and development of the sector.
nutritional consequences not usually
To this effect, many steps need to be on
counted in the economics of shrimp
board but allow me to cite a few: a) the
culture. "There have been many reports of
industry should fully acknowledge its
'khas' lands (government owned lands) being used
responsibility in using the best of
for shrimp farms illegally by influential members
resources to ensure environmental
of the society, sometimes in possession of false
property deeds, and in some cases with the sustainability, economic viability and
support of the local police or government officials. social equity; b) there should be an
Violence and intimidation towards small-scale unrestricted access for third party
shrimp farmers in order to appropriate their monitoring all aspects of production,
lands is also reported to be widespread", says distribution and technology used; c) there
one report on shrimp cultivation and its should be improvement in pond design,
impacts. water exchange and pollution control;
d) existing farms should comply with
And to visit some of the developing national land use polices, strategies and
countries counting on shrimps, look at the legislation; e) future development of the
following observation. "Shrimp farmers in sector should be based on consultation
Thailand left behind an ecological desert. These with the local community; f) specific
farms are hardly useful for other economic commitments to uphold human rights
activities. Outside investors are enriched, local
should be at the top of the agenda; and
people are pauperised. Development runs above
finally g) all farms should fall under the
the heads - very little trickles down to them".
seal of quality to meet the environmental
I recall that a few years back, Bangladesh and humanitarian needs of the industry.
shrimp exports shrank following
I now draw the attention of the readers to
European Union (EU) objections to some
news paper reporting of 15 days of July
of the aspects relating to production and
to justify the title of the write-up: 'Shrimp
distribution. Quite obviously, the buyers
culture: deaths and dollars'. In fact, the
need not be blamed and gracefully some
following reports are just the tip of the
of our exporters took the pains to
iceberg. Everyday, on average, one
upgrade their processing plants and
production process. The wake up call incident of death or other crime was
helped create an atmosphere where the reported to take place in greater Khulna.
non-economic costs of shrimp cultivation Perhaps this drives home the point that
deserve attention. deaths and dollars have unfortunately
become regular phenomena:
The above mentioned observations
should not be taken as a negative attitude July 1: Tk. 100,000 stolen from shrimp
towards shrimp cultivation and export. farmer in Demra, Bagherhat
After all, we all want dollars but not at any (Janakantha);
cost. We want the growth of shrimp July 4: Firearms and ammunition seized
cultivation to take place under a regime from a shrimp farm in Rampal (Daily
where a) access to common properties are Shebok);
not encroached upon; b) small farmers
have the freedom to reap the rewards July 10: Court cases filed by widow
from shrimp cultivation; c) productivity of against 10/12 persons for the murder
agricultural land is not adversely affected; of Yakub, a shrimp farmer (Daily
and d) the rules of the game are such that Shebok);

3
Newspaper
article no. 4.2
Shrimp culture: deaths or dollars?

July 10: Fries worth Tk. 100,000 looted The government should take the situation
from shrimp farm in Rampal upazila very seriously before this vital sector
(Daily Purbachal); and becomes sick resulting perhaps in deaths
and loss of dollars.
July 12: A gang fired at Abdul Malek
(48), a shrimp owner from Zamira
village, Phultala upazila (Daily Shebok);
July 14: No arrests following the
murder of shrimp farm owner in
Phultala upazila.

Suggested citation:
Bayes, A. 2007. Shrimp culture: deaths or dollars? Reprinted from The Daily Star, September 2, 2003. In: Magor,
N. P., Salahuddin, A., Haque, M., Biswas, T. K. and Bannerman, M., editors. PETRRA - an experiment in pro-poor
agricultural research. Newspaper reprint no. 4.2. Dhaka (Bangladesh): Poverty Elimination Through Rice
Research Assistance Project, International Rice Research Institute. 4 p.
Newspaper
article no. 4.3

The veritable vegetable grower
Abdul Bayes

died and he had to marry Parul Begum to
look after the children and the household.
August 12, 2003 Khairul was confident that he could
overcome the crisis but the constraint was
I was visiting a few projects that are cash money. Desperate as he was to feed a
reported to be 'pro-poor'. We have been family of five and another to join very
hearing about 'pro-poor growth', 'pro- soon, he went to a mohajan and borrowed
poor policies' etc. for a long time. Closer Tk. 20,000 at an interest of 10% per
scrutiny sometimes, showed that there month. All that he had of his own were:
was often a slip between the cup and the a) a house made of mud and straw; b) 10
lip. It allegedly, appears pro-poor serves decimal homestead land and c) a jug of
but the rich. I wanted to know whether all seeds of lal shak (red leafy vegetable).
that were called 'pro-poor' projects were Somebody told Khairul that NGOs could
in reality just that, or if 'pro-poor' was a help him with credit to carry out income
rhetorical term. Thanks to the Poverty earning opportunities. He approached
Elimination Through Rice Research RDRS but, painful as it was, the prayer
Assistance (PETRRA) project under the was rejected on the plea of poor credit
aegis of IRRI for allowing me to visit worthiness of Khairul. A few days later,
some of their 'pro-poor' projects. On the one Shamsul Huq of RDRS stood beside
way to my mission, the Rangpur Dinajpur him and paid on his behalf a cumulative
Rural Service (RDRS) officials of savings amount of Tk. 140 at a time.
Thakurgaon engaged in PETRRA Meantime, the family's economic crisis
projects introduced me to a person. They began to mount. It was very hard to get
were narrating how a penniless person three meals a day. There was no option left
rose to the prominence among the poor. I for him other than begging or borrowing.
wanted to meet him and he courteously However, after joining the group formed
called on me. by RDRS, Khairul got training in vegetable
production and poultry rearing and
Deprivation and desperation applied for a loan. While other applicants
Khairul Islam (45) never thought that were given a loan of Tk. 4,000 to 5,000, it
doomsday was at his doorstep. Nor was only Tk. 2,000 for Khairul. However,
should he have thought so. Because, his with the money in hand, he leased one
father owned 11.5 acres of land to be bigha land for one year with Tk. 1,000 to
inherited by three sons. But the brothers, grow vegetables and decided to set aside
allegedly, betrayed Khairul by managing the rest of the amount for petty trading
all lands from the father and thus and buying inputs.
depriving him of his due share. At that
Valuable vegetables
time of the disaster, he had three sons
and a wife. Soon after, in 1991, his wife Khairul went for the production of
Newspaper
article no. 4.3
The veritable vegetable grower

cucumber on the leased-in land. The Turning the table
decision was based mainly on the demand
Khairul, for the first time in his life,
for the product in the market that he
decided to go to Dhaka to sell his outputs.
could ascertain. Fortunately, he soon
He reckoned that the margin that goes to
became a contract grower of BRAC to
the middlemen could pour into his
supply seeds. Thus, output and seeds
pockets provided he established direct
from cucumber fetched him about Tk.
connection with the buyers. There were,
16,000. Excluding all costs, Khairul
of course, risks involved since he knew
reaped home Tk. 8,000 as net income!
nothing about Dhaka and the deals there.
Lucrative profits from cucumber lured
But as I mentioned, the person was
him but for food security of the
desperate to go up the income scale and
household, he also went for paddy
risks had to be taken to overtake others.
cultivation. Then potato. He excelled in
One fine morning, Khairul got out of his
both. Seeing his promising and profitable
home with 40 bags (70 maunds) of
performance, the landowner leased out
raddish, and rode on a truck that was
another 75 decimals at Tk. 3,500 for one
carrying stones. With an address of a
year. Khairul grew vegetables and began
merchant at Kawran Bazar collected from
to sell in the roadside arats. In 1994, he
his local arat, he reached the place and the
sold vegetables worth Tk.32,000. With
person with his bags of raddish. They
that money, he mortgaged in 2.5 bigha
were sold at Tk. 240/maund to give
land at Tk. 20,000 and bought 50 decimal
Khairul Tk. 17,000. After deducting the
of paddy land.
costs of transport, seeds, labour/draft
animals, fertiliser/water etc., reportedly,
Bridge as boon he got a net return of Tk. 6,000. A
In 1998, Bangabandhu bridge (Jamuna second time, also from the same land, he
bridge) over the Jamuna was opened up took to Dhaka 15 bags but price went
for traffic. Khairul had read up to eighth down due to over supply. This time, at Tk.
grade but could read well the realities on 130 per bag, he reaped home about Tk.
the ground. He realised that the biggest 2,000.
bridge could help better business and The next trip, again for the first time, was
trading, especially of perishable products. to Chittagong in 2001. His bus from
In his lifetime, he saw farmers growing Thakurgaon started at 5 pm and reached
vegetables but failed to fetch a fair price Chittagong at 6 am next day and after
due to the lack of communication to selling the products he returned the same
market the crops. About half of the day because of the bridge that was once
products used to perish in the absence of a dream. Khairul carried 6 cages
disposal. But those days appeared to have (18 maunds) of karala to fetch home a net
gone with quick contacts, facilitated by return of Tk. 13,000. Just a week later the
the Bridge, between his region and all same kind of journey took place with 6
other parts of Bangladesh. Imbibed with cages (27 maunds) of karala.
the new insights, Khairul began to devote
more land to vegetable production. To be
Farm and fortune
specific, he used his newly mortgaged-in
2.5 bigha land to grow raddish and other And so the rewards continued. Khairul
vegetables. A party from Dhaka came to started producing karala bitter gourd to
see his farm and expressed the desire to sell in Khulna and Dhaka markets. In
buy products on a regular basis from him. 1999, sales from raddish and karala were
A silverlining loomed large in Khairul's hefty and he bought 2 bigha (1 acre) of
life. Neighbours began to visit his fields. land at Tk. 44,000. Meantime, he devoted

2
Newspaper
article no. 4.3
The veritable vegetable grower

no less attention to the education of his During the discourse, it was nice to hear
children, meeting non-food needs of the that RDRS now knocks at the door of
family and saying prayers regularly. His Khairul whose loan prayer was once
children are getting a good education in rejected on the plea of poor
schools and colleges/training institutes. creditworthiness. The reason they look
"But, I also use them in the early morning to for Khairul is to train other vegetable
harvest the daily crops that I take to the local growers coming from different areas.
'arats' for sale. This is mainly to teach my family Khairul teaches them with great
that fortunes come from farms. I also employ earnestness, not textbook type economics,
children of poor neighbours just to give them some but economics originating from the
cash money", Khairul described to me. practical experiences of his fields. "It is not
"Nowadays, the number of vegetable growers in the size of the land but hard work, a small
this region has increased substantially, especially amount of capital, some knowledge on production
the poor farmers who used to keep land fallow. and marketing and above all a good
They are now vying to grow vegetables because of communication system that could improve the fate
the opening up of markets due to the big bridge. of people like me", Khairul told me. In other
In the past, farmers used to go to the roadside words, according to him, the poor only
with vegetables and, more often than not, used to need a small amount of land, institutions
throw away the unsold surplus. Nowadays, to provide small cash, training in new
nothing like that happens. Earlier, we produced cropping systems and a good
vegetables and we perished but now it is the communication network to market their
reverse: if we do not produce we perish". products. Thus infrastructure, innovations
Khairul continued his conversation, as if, and institutions seemingly constitute the
with a student who knows little about the core of any approach to poverty
role of Jamuna Bridge and the realities reduction especially of the resource-poor
around the poor farmers. farmers.

Truthful trainer Still with dreams!
Starting with zero amount of land in 1992, At the fag end, as I was wishing him
within the span of 11 years or so, Khairul success, Khairul said: "Sir, I have two dreams
now owns four acres of land plus he to come true. First, to buy a pick-up van so that I
leased in another one acre to grow karala. myself can carry the commodities and second, to
I saw signs of happiness in him. However, write a book". "Writing a book?" I gave a
he was looking at his wrist watch at 9.30 surprise look at him. "Yes sir, about my life. I
pm reminding me, perhaps, that a have already named the book as 'Paruler
businessman like him has not much time Songshar' (Parul's family)". "Why not
left for a gossip with a university professor 'Khairuler Songshar'?" I wondered. "Because
who draws upon a definite salary throughout the journey so far, my wife Parul
(irrespective of the output delivered!) at stood beside me to share the sorrows and
the end of each month. But Khairul will silverlinings. In fact, she played the pivotal role in
have to go home, take stock of things for relieving us of the rigours", said Khairul, the
tomorrow's markets, rise up at 5 am and veritable vegetable grower to live in my
then again go to bed at 12 midnight. memory for years to come.

3
Suggested citation:
Bayes, A. 2007. The veritable vegetable grower. Reprinted from The Daily Star, August 12, 2003. In: Magor, N. P.,
Salahuddin, A., Haque, M., Biswas, T. K. and Bannerman, M., editors. PETRRA - an experiment in pro-poor
agricultural research. Newspaper reprint no. 4.3. Dhaka (Bangladesh): Poverty Elimination Through Rice
Research Assistance Project, International Rice Research Institute. 4 p.
Newspaper
article no. 4.4

Research for rich rice
Abdul Bayes

posh hotels. Reportedly, Bangladesh
imports roughly 50 thousand tons of fine
July 30, 2003 and aromatic rice (worth about US$ 25
million) each year from neighbouring
When we talk about our self-sufficiency in countries. According to experts, few of
rice, we generally refer to the coarse rice the fine and aromatic varieties grown in
grown and mostly used for domestic Bangladesh could comfortably compete
consumption. There are other types of rice with bashmati rice for which India and
that Bangladesh farmers have historically Pakistan have the monopoly to mould the
been growing - not in countable quantities international market. In fact, some
though. Fine, aromatic and glutinous enterprising exporters have already started
(FAG) rice are the counterparts to the vying for exporting FAG rice and, in the
course rice grown in this part of the world. meantime, about 100 tons have so far
Glutinous rice is said to be produced and been exported, we are told. It has been
consumed mainly in Korea, Japan, and the opined that given proper knowledge
Philippines. But in some parts of the about varieties, know-how to grow,
greater Sylhet district of Bangladesh, one marketing channels and initial incentives,
could come across such a variety of rice. I Bangladesh could easily capture 15%-20%
was told by some farmers from Habiganj of the world market for FAG rice in
and Maulvi Bazar that, in the past, future. This would be no mean
glutinous rice used to be grown extensively achievement given the fact that 100% of
in that region. They also enlightened me the value addition on this count would
with the news that glutinous rice, emerge domestically. On the other hand,
compared to the traditional coarse the domestic demand would also go up
varieties, requires smaller quantities for the pari passu the rise in per capita income.
same appetite and, at the same time, According to the famous Engle's law,
appears to provide more energy to the income elasticity of demand for coarse
body. rice would decline with a rise in income
demanding more of these varieties of
Rich rice rice.
On the other hand, some areas of the
Finding FAG rice
districts of Mymensingh, Rajshahi and
Dinajpur have long been the hinterland of Appreciably, two of the non-
fine and aromatic rice like kataribhog, governmental organisations (NGOs) in
chinigura and kalijira. They are mostly Bangladesh have been trying to encourage
consumed during festivals by almost all farmers to grow FAG rice. Interestingly,
classes of people but on a regular basis by these institutions supplied seeds and
the richer section of the community. Fine fertilisers on experimental basis to some
and aromatic rice is also being supplied to of the resource-poor farmers of
Newspaper
article no. 4.4
Research for rich rice

Habiganj, Maulvi Bazar and Rajshahi During the discourse, the sample farmers
districts. The Poverty Elimination that I met in greater Sylhet zone
Through Rice Research Assistance expressed their satisfaction over
(PETRRA) project of International Rice experiment with FAG rice. They cultivate
Research Institute (IRRI) and Department kataribhog, rataboro, parbatjira, BRRI
for International Development (DFID) dhan34, khasra etc. devoting, on average,
tends to support the partners. However, 10-40 decimals of land in last aman and
my own interest of research lay in seeing boro season. For some of them, the
to what extent and how marginal farmers opportunity cost of growing FAG rice
would behave in the event that growing was zero since fallow lands were used to
FAG rice mostly means catering to the grow crops and for others, it was very low
market needs. Because, poor farmers since earlier crops were grown on lands
could hardly afford to grow such which used to grow low yield aus. By and
expensive varieties (almost twice the price large, the farmers expressed their desire to
of coarse rice) only for home double the land availability in the next
consumption. The issue of the niche season leaning mainly on the following
between the marginal farms and the lessons. First, there are various varieties of
markets appeared as an interesting topic FAG rice that farmers have been told
to me. I, therefore, made up my mind to about and they are ready to accept them.
visit a few of the spots where marginal Second, the yield rates of FAG and
course rice are almost the same. In the
farmers have been induced to go for FAG
event that coarse rice has a yield
production. Regrettably though, the
advantage, FAG rice holds the price
remarks presented below are not of a
advantage by a big margin (market price is
researcher related to rice but that of a
two to two and half times alternative rice).
traveler telling something on the heels of
Third, FAG rice could be an important
hectic parleys.
source of cash needs of farmers where
cash crops are difficult to grow.
HEED and seed
Health, Education and Economic Attempts by APEX
Development (HEED) is an NGO that
In greater Rajshahi district, another NGO
has been working in greater Sylhet district
called APEX has also been involved in
for a long time. The heads of HEED told
inducing farmers to grow fine and
me about their project and invited me to aromatic rice. Following PETRRA-
visit some of the farmers experimenting perspectives, it has selected some
with the new source of survival. HEED resource-poor farmers. The sample
took up the challenge and provided the farmers tested BRRI dhan37 and BRRI
farmers with seeds free of cost. They dhan38 in their small parcels of land. The
collected seeds of 16 varieties of FAG farmers informed us that growing fine
rice from different parts of the country and aromatic (FA) rice has benefited
and supplied them to the farmers. In the them. Some of them had already explored
demonstration plots, however, HEED the demand in the local market. A private
paid for both seeds and fertilisers. The miller named Raj Automatic Rice Mill is
farmers are 'resource-poor farmers' with reported to have decided to buy FA rice
cultivable land upto 100 decimals, options from the poor farmers at a price higher by
to work in others' land and food Tk. 10 per maund. Besides, the sample
provisions for 6-7 months from own farmers also informed me that more
farms. A total of 40 farmers have been farmers expressed their desire to grow FA
selected to test the new technology. rice. BRRI dhan37 especially is being

2
Newspaper
article no. 4.4
Research for rich rice

considered better than kataribhog in terms cognisance the importance of FAG rice in
of yield and fineness. Some poor farmers the economic uplift of poor farmers as
who grew FA rice informed me that they well as in earning or saving foreign
bought goat and calves by selling FA rice. exchange. To this effect, the following
It appeared to me that in both Sylhet and policy options could be taken on board to
Rajshahi zones, poor farmers welcomed increase the supply of FAG rice. First,
FAG rice as a source of cash resources various varieties of FAG rice should be
for buying cash-intensive inputs for boro made available to farmers through
crops. Again, the opportunity costs of extension networks. Special attention
cultivating FAG rice are reported to be needs to be given to areas where the
lower than other varieties of rice and opportunity costs of growing such rice is
more importantly, the yield disadvantage either zero or low. Mapping cropping
is more than compensated for by the patterns in different areas could easily do
price advantage that FAG rice has. The that. Second, at the initial stage, the
observations are borne out by the fact government should invest in buying mills
that all of them targeted to increase the or help the private sector with credit to
area under FAG rice in the ensuing establish mills. Third, the government
seasons by a respectable margin. should subsidise farmers and traders - for
a period of time to come - for exporting
FAG in the international market. It may
FAG and the fog
be mentioned here that in India, rice
However, wishes are not horses. exports are subsidised. Fourth, to start
Noticeably, there are a few fogs before the with, contract growers should be
FAG rice. First, there is a knowledge gap identified and special preference should
among the rank and file. Policy makers, be given to poor farmers.
producers and purchasers tend to know
little about the economics of FAG rice. Concluding remarks
Some call it rich but risky rice. Second,
milling is a major problem. Traditional Quite contrary to the common notions,
mills account for a sizeable portion of the fine and aromatic rice has a growing
system loss for FAG rice and hence market in the economy. Our presumption
special mills for FAG rice are needed. is that given proper incentives,
Second, marketing channels are at the Bangladesh could also capture a portion
nascent stage. The marketing networks of the international market for bashmati
that we come across are created to cater rice or at least substitute imports of fine
for the needs of coarse rice. Third, poor and aromatic rice through domestic
farmers can sell their coarse rice production. That could save a portion of
throughout the year and thus can take our hard earned foreign exchange. But to
care of the cash needs whenever that effect, we would require, inter alia,
necessary. But FAG rice can be sold only technology, training, milling and
during festivals. Again, FA rice is being marketing facilities and on occasions, cash
bought in bulk by a few traders; so much incentives. However, we suggest that
so, that small sellers have no berth in the more research be carried out on rich rice
business. And finally, there is lack of before embarking on the growth of FAG
rice. Perhaps, IRRI and our prestigious
publicity about the quality and price of
national organisation, BRRI could come
FAG rice in the international market.
forward in this regard.
Policy for promotion
The government has to take into

3
Suggested citation:
Bayes, A. 2007. Research for rich rice. Reprinted from The Daily Star, July 30, 2003. In: Magor, N. P., Salahuddin, A.,
Haque, M., Biswas, T. K. and Bannerman, M., editors. PETRRA - an experiment in pro-poor agricultural research.
Newspaper reprint no. 4.4. Dhaka (Bangladesh): Poverty Elimination Through Rice Research Assistance Project,
International Rice Research Institute. 4 p.
Newspaper
article no. 4.5

What they need is new knowledge
Abdul Bayes

To become a member of the federation,
the farmer groups have to be associated
July 22, 2003 for at least five years with Rangpur
Dinajpur Rural Service (RDRS). They
Allow me to talk about two federations of should display some degree of social
farmers. One lies in Tushvandar union of awareness, ability to absorb training inputs
Lalmonirhat district called Tushvandar and eke out a substantial part of the
Federation of Farmers (TFF) and the livelihood from farming activities. And
other, in Mohendranagar union under the admittedly, RDRS acts from behind the
same district and is named as scene as a 'friend, philosopher and guide'
Mohendranagar Federation of Farmers for the federations. An elected committee
(MFF). Both the locations are 1 to 2 through direct franchise is running the
hours drive from Rangpur. Farmers' federations. Women have reserved seats
cooperatives or federations are not a new to be contested by women only but voted
phenomena in this part of the world and by both men and women. They can also,
hence should not inject any interest, if they wish, contest in the open seats
whatsoever. The reason I wanted to visit against their counter parts and some of
them already established their supremacy
was to see the client composition of the
on that count.
federations' committees. The members
are drawn exclusively from households Both the federations came into being in
owning up to 100 decimals of land, called 1992 and at the moment own, on average,
functionally landless and marginal 50 decimals of land. Meantime, semi-pucca
households. It means, by and large, the office-cum-training sheds, pucca seed
federations that I am referring to are of godowns, drying facilities, rice mill and
the poor, by the poor and for the poor. In dryers have been made available on the
other words, these are not associations of premises of the federations. However,
the 'haves' but of the 'have-nots'. Quite in much of the infrastructural facilities have
contrast to some of the federations and been financed by RDRS, possibly, to be
cooperatives that we come across; the recouped in due time.
federations seemingly have higher levels The federations have been fighting for the
of homogeneity. I was told that roughly economic uplift of their members fraught
one-third of the members are drawn from with financial crisis. By the time I reached
functionally landless groups (owning up there to talk about their hopes and
to 50 decimals), one-third from marginal aspirations, the members had learnt that
farm groups (owning 50 to 100 decimals) credit is not the panacea to move out of
and 40% member households have only pervasive poverty. "Credit does help at the
homesteads. The federations average 350 initial stage to buy a few bullocks, poultry birds
members with women having due etc. but to keep going for ever, you need something
representations. else", some male and female members said
Newspaper
article no. 4.5
What they need is new knowledge

with some confidence. I pretended to be shikhaks'", the participants told me. I was
ignorant of the subject and asked, "What informed that these poor farmers get
is that 'something else' "? One female together in the field to exchange views
member explained: "We never used the credit about problems and prospects. They call
for agricultural production because we thought, it 'field schools'.
given limited land and knowledge that we had
before, agriculture would not be profitable for us. "What are the federations doing for you?" They
Vagaries of nature was another constraint. So, talked of some services that are provided
we banked on non-agricultural pursuits by by the federations. For example, long
utilising credit from RDRS. But, now we know before the food for education (FFE)
that even 50 decimals of land can work like 100 scheme got under way, the federations
decimals or so if we can apply knowledge about pursued a moral persuasion programme to
production practices. Second, we realised that we bring back children to schools. In fact,
can produce our own food at no higher costs on MFF made frantic efforts and succeeded
our own land and buy non-food items through to a large extent. It was in fact a chiming
income generation in the non-farm sector. So, we challenge in an area where children are
told our husbands that we should directly help considered as 'assets' for households in
them in cultivation of crops so that they have two generating income in a regime of
hands to reap harvests. Of course, still we need pervasive poverty. Second, the federations
credit but, perhaps, not so much as we need are reported to fight against assault on
knowledge". women and children and against dowry.
They hold processions, raise concerted
"But you have not attended schools, colleges or
voice and approach administration against
universities. How can you gain knowledge and
any menace, whatsoever. The family feuds
apply them for your uplift?", I asked. "Yes, it is
of the poor families are settled through
true that we are not 'moha shikhak' (meaning
university professor) like you, but the poor like us the federations. Likewise, the federations
do not need to be 'moha biggani' (big scientists) to are also carrying out health, nutrition and
survive. We need to know what to grow, how to sanitation programmes. The MFF has
grow it and when to grow it in the fields. That's plans to perform during its tenure.
enough to put us on an even keel. Farms are our Hanging on the wall, posters indicated
best friends and, perhaps, for ever. We never plans of creating voters' consciousness,
knew what farms could do for us. Now, with giving khas lands to members, fish culture,
these three things i.e., what, how and when to do etc.
it, we do not need schools, colleges and universities More importantly, some members of the
to teach us. You see, recently, PETRRA-RDRS federations have become sellers of seeds.
sponsored by IRRI-DFID, gave us some training The federations buy seeds from farmers
on how to keep seeds and plant seedlings. We when they need cash and store them for
have been keeping seeds but not the way they told the future. That reduced their dependency
us. We found that seed health is as good as on Bangladesh Agricultural Development
human health. You see, we had no idea about Corporation (BADC). Yield of paddy
seedlings maintaining distances or using one or almost doubled due to new knowledge
two instead of five or more to get more output. and ideas imparted through informal
We sowed, as we liked. But now, we feel the
channels. "We are now more educated and
difference. There are many varieties of paddy we
united than before", they claimed.
never heard of although they are high yielding
and produced by our institutions like BRRI. An important aspect here is the
Thus whether, water or pest management, or crop involvement of 13 students from the
diversification, we learnt from the schools at our Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU)
homesteads and fields rather than from 'moha who completed 13 Masters dissertations

2
Newspaper
article no. 4.5
What they need is new knowledge

working with the farmers of the owned land. This time, tempted by the
federations. In fact, a trio of training took training on agriculture especially paddy
place here: poor farmers, trainers and cultivation, she decided to go for paddy
students. production on rented in land. In 54
decimals she got 30 maunds compared to
Srimoti Bulbuli Rani (45) of MFF claimed
20 maunds historically observed with old
to me to have lifted her household above
technology and techniques of production.
the poverty line. She is a member of the
Good seed, line sowing and economising
executive committee of MFF. Just a
on seedlings, irrigation and fertiliser
decade back, she lived in a thatched
application resulted in increased output.
house, owned only homestead land and
could hardly manage three meals a day for Ismail Hossain (40) of TFF read up to
the family. Very enterprising as she is, her class V but has to shoulder a family of
training on tailoring paid her good six. The new ideas from the training on
dividends. She now trains females and agriculture brought him back to
draws Tk. 6,000 a month. On the agriculture that he ignored once. He
agricultural front, she rented in some land established a nursery that provides half
to grow crops. "I did not know that I could of the household income. Vegetable
broadcast seeds in muddy fields. I always thought production, reportedly, provides 20% and
that I needed to transplant them. Now, new increased food production (including
knowledge gained through training brought good sales of seeds), 20% of the income. His
results for me. I am trying to grow hybrid rice on household no longer faces a food deficit.
25 decimals and am growing BRRI dhan28, Amjad Hossain came with his wife Latifa
BRRI dhan39", Bulbuli Rani expressed. I Begum. Three years ago, they lived in a
went to Bulbuli Rani's house nearby. thatched house. Now they live in tin shed.
Unfortunately she was not at home but Both of them are involved in vegetable
her husband waited to welcome me. I production, for home consumption in the
found two tin sheds and one shallow past, but now for the markets. Two years
tubewell that the household owns. The ago, they harvested 50 maunds but now 80
children are going to schools and colleges. maunds of paddy from the parcels of
Meantime, she bought back a few parcels plots.
of land adjacent to the household, which
While I was meeting the moderate-poor, a
were mortgaged earlier. "Rani does most of
group of ultra- or extreme-poor women
the work. I only support her", said Rani's
assembled in the training hall of TFF. I
husband who has been living in Rani's
was told that they were called in for
village as ghor jamai.
training on food for work (FFW)
Jamila Begum (40) of MFF requires 2.5 programmes. The training pertains to
kg of rice everyday to feed a family of some basics on social awareness. With
five. She owns 75 decimals and rents in permission from the organisers, I went to
another 54 decimals on a 50:50 share meet them. There were 30 women most
cropping arrangement in the aman season. of whom had no homestead land. They
But in the boro season, provided the live on others' homestead land. Many of
owner bears no costs, the share is 2:1. them lost their homestead land due to
Jamila told me: "buddhir obave ami gorib riverbank erosion. Half of them are either
chhilam" (I was poor due to the lack of separated or divorced and most of them
intelligence). Noticeably, she did not come from areas prone to river erosion.
mention about the lack of land! Imbibed They cannot feed their families - at least
by training, she has been cultivating two meals a day due to the lack of
mustard, potato and vegetables on her purchasing power.

3
Newspaper
article no. 4.5
What they need is new knowledge

The contrast appeared quite clear to me. of the ultra-poor. I could glean from their
The moderate-poor that I met are taken faces, they are no less smart than the
care of by the non-governmental group I met just a few seconds before.
organisations (NGOs) and other What they need is some land and some
government organisations. Through knowledge. The vast tracts of khas lands
various training and credit progarmmes, could be allocated to them. In fact, the
most of the moderate-poor were enabled last Awami League government made
to uplift themselves. To meet the modest attempts at that by giving this
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), group land and a house. Give them some
we need to take account of the ultra-poor land and provide land-based training. That
that stand with no chance of graduation. I would, possibly, work to see them above
hope that innovative ideas, institutions the poverty line.
and researchers will address the problems

Suggested citation:
Bayes, A. 2007. What they need is new knowledge. Reprinted from The Daily Star, July 22, 2003. In: Magor, N. P.,
Salahuddin, A., Haque, M., Biswas, T. K. and Bannerman, M., editors. PETRRA - an experiment in pro-poor
agricultural research. Newspaper reprint no. 4.5. Dhaka (Bangladesh): Poverty Elimination Through Rice
Research Assistance Project, International Rice Research Institute. 4 p.
Newspaper
article no. 4.6

The ladies with the lamps
Abdul Bayes

Females in fields
"Where is Khuku Moni?", I asked the
July 17, 2003
resource-poor female farmers who had
courteously come to see me. "She is in the
It was about eleven in the morning when paddy field planting 'aman' crop as a wage
I reached Shibpur village under Pirganj labour", I was told. Soon she arrived with a
upazila of Thakurgaon district. My only smiling face and informed me that, in
aim was to meet some female farmers addition to working in her own plots
who were reported to be recently trained (with her husband), she also works on
in agricultural production practices by the others' land as daily wage labourer. The
Poverty Elimination Through Rice wage rate is Tk. 40 plus a meal.
Research Assistance (PETRRA) project Reportedly, she works for 4 to 5 months
under the aegis of International Rice as an agricultural wage labourer starting
Research Institute (IRRI) and the from planting to harvesting. In fact,
Department for International Khuku Moni has no other option but to
Development (DFID). The sponsors call work hard both inside and outside the
it integrated crop management (ICM) house as she is forced to feed a family of
training and, intentionally, imparted it to seven. She can only sign her name and her
the resource-poor females so that they household owns 50 decimals of land. The
could add some value to the process of household also rents out some land to
production of their households. En raise farm output. I was told, this applies
passant, in the context of Bangladesh, to half of the group members that
female farmers mostly go to mean those Khuku Moni seemingly leads to move up
involved in post harvest activities at the the economic ladder.
household levels. I also had that notion in
my mind and hence, mentally prepared Powerful knowledge
myself to throw some questions on that
score. However, while waiting in front of Knowledge is power but, perhaps, all
the house of poor Urubala, I sensed that knowledge is not equally powerful as far
all whispers were hovering around one as earning bread and butter is concerned.
Khuku Moni (35) who was yet to appear The female farmers that I was faced with
before us. I reckoned that she must have were trained for a few days and then left
been the leader of the ladies in the group to upgrade themselves. Every month, they
of ten formed by the Rangpur Dinajpur gather to gain additional insights on farm
Rural Service (RDRS), a non- practices through a participatory path.
governmental organisation (NGO) and a They discuss their problems, try to find
solutions and in the event of a failure,
longtime friend of the poor in that
seek suggestions from RDRS.
region. Mentionably, RDRS is a partner of
the PETRRA project. "What have you learnt about farming?", I
Newspaper
article no. 4.6
The ladies with the lamps

posed to the resource-poor participants household to meet the cash requirement
after explaining to them the purpose of from her own resources. Therefore, in the
my visit. "We learnt a lot. First, traditionally boro season, her household had to borrow,
for ages, we used to grow only two crops in 'aman' Tk. 2,500 or so to be paid in 90 days. The
and 'boro' seasons. In between, the lands were principal and the interest rate amount
kept fallow. Now, we grow three crops with thereupon totaled Tk. 3,750! Gone are
mustard in the middle. Second, we now use one or those days. She now cultivates an
two seedlings - compared to five or more before - additional crop, Mustard, in between aman
to see that output is not affected at all. We had and boro instead of keeping the land
the wrong idea that more seedlings mean more fallow. Last season, she cropped mustard
output. That means, more lands are now being in 9 decimals of land and reaped 2.5
covered with the same amount of seedlings. It maunds of output valued at Tk. 1,800-
saves money. Third, we did not know that 2,000. "Mustard is not a very water and
growing 'dhaincha' gives green fertiliser. We do it fertiliser intensive crop. So, by growing and selling
now and save huge costs on urea. Fourth, we it, I have been feeding resources for the 'boro'
cultivate 'mug dal' as an additional crop to help crop. Now-a-days I do not need the money from
raise the fertility of the land. Fifth, there are 41 'mohajans' at an exorbitant rate of interest", a
varieties of paddy in our country but we only proud Moni told me. Her 'comrades' only
heard of two or three and they are low yielding. confirmed the contentions of their leader.
BRRI dhan29, BRRI dhan39, BRRI dhan33
are high yielding but were beyond our The poor and paddy
imagination. Sixth, we used to waste a lot of
irrigation water through seepage. Now, we know Urubala's son was also sitting there. He
how to water the fields through canals to save told me that his mother regularly
water. Recently, we have been using pipes to save conveyed the tone of the training to him.
more water. Seventh, we used to grow vegetables "My mother cannot keep in mind everything all
just to meet household needs. But the training on the time. So I come to her help through
ICM showed how to reap better harvests, implementation of her wishes", Urubala's son
especially high yielding potatoes. Vegetables are submitted. He informed me that in his 3
now grown for commercial purposes also. Last, bigha plot (90 decimals), he got 45 maunds
but not the least, we have been trained in seed of paddy this year just because of
growing, preservation and seedbeds. All these systematic and cost saving farm practices.
experiences we gained through training from In the past, the same amount of land
PETRRA-RDRS", the female farmers brought forth only 27 maunds. As I could
narrated to me in the same breath. understand, for every resource-poor
person in the village, paddy output more
Penny to the rich, pound to the poor than doubled per unit of land. In other
words, their land endowments also
Khuku Moni came to quantify some of doubled in one sense. In a regime of
the benefits of the ICM training. The pervasive poverty, such a rise in rice
gains might sound a penny to the rich but output is really remarkable. Thanks to two
appears as a pound to the poor like the 'Ts': technology and training.
'ladies with the lamps' that I met in
Shibpur village of Pirganj. Just two years Khuku Moni, Urubala, Kironbala, Josna,
back, Khuku Moni used to grow boro Shefali and others who gathered before
paddy by borrowing money from village me also depicted their developments on
mohajans. Since modern varieties of rice food security. "I always faced a food deficit of
need fertiliser, water and involve other six months or so. That meant either I had to
costs which amount to a sizeable margin, borrow money to buy rice or borrow rice to pay at
it was not possible for her poor a later time. In any sense, it was not dignifying.

2
Newspaper
article no. 4.6
The ladies with the lamps

Now I know, how to get good crops in a cost mentioned", I invoked. "It is true that we got
effective manner. Costs are saved and at the same credit from RDRS to buy bullocks, poultry birds,
time outputs are raised. I now have a little set up grocery shops etc. But you see, we now get
surplus to sell in the market. The sons and 20 maunds of paddy per 'bigha' compared to
daughters are in schools. They are fed and clothed 13-14 maunds in the past. It is mainly due to
better than in the past", Khuku Moni our previously unknown new varieties. We now
continued to confirm her comfortable grow additional crops to raise income. That is the
present conditions. Urubala's son joined product of our newly gained knowledge. So, we
in the joy with the news that his family reckon that income from growing crops increased
can now meet a whole year's food need and hence we would put ICM training at the
plus save Tk. 2,000-4,000 by selling the top." The spillover effect was brought on
surplus. board: "Ashe pasher manosh bole hamrao
The spillover effects of their training were bichon nebo (neighbours say we shall also
also on the discourse. Some villagers take the seed)".
already requested for BRRI dhan31, BRRI
dhan30. Their relatives from far and wide Costly credit!
have become fond of their farm practices. During the discourse in both the villages,
The most important spillover effect has I wanted to know whether they would
been in terms of growing an additional prefer a) Tk. 10,000 credit at 15% interest
crop, growing dhaincha or mug dal rate; or b) a ten-day training on such types
immediately after the harvest of wheat. of activities; or c) both. Surprisingly, out
of the 17 female farmers from both the
Rose smells the same villages, 10 opted for (b), 2 for (a) and 5
From Shibpur, I went to Uttar Shibpur for (c). The proponents of (b) held that
that lies few kilometers from Shibpur. their option was not repayable but, at the
There I met seven female farmers. The same time, riskless and rewarding. The
utterances and the upshots were almost other two options were repayable at a
the same. Per acre yield increased by a big certain date, risky and in case of an odd
margin due to the development of ideas situation, could even turn out to be
on cropping patterns, new varieties, seed unrewarding. The supporters of (c), on
management at household levels, water the other hand, argued that knowledge
and fertiliser application etc. Asiran without implementation is useless and the
Begum (55) said: "In the past, we needed 3 only way to implement ideas of this kind
litres of diesel for watering one 'bigha' of land. is possible through credit to the poor. The
Now, 2 litres. By adopting a canal and pipe difference between a rich and a poor
system in irrigation, we have saved water and farmer - so they argued - is the
hence diesel cost by Tk. 22 per 'bigha'. This difference in terms of resource availability
meagre amount matters most for us". The during the boro cultivation period. The
participants reported that, over the years, former fawns upon its own sources while
they improved upon their housing, the latter, on costly credit.
children's education and clothing, health
etc. They are now able to eat more than Ladies lit lamps
before. Some of them also bought land or
As I drove back, I found females planting
released the earlier mortgaged land.
aman seedlings in muddy fields in the
scorching heat. It was surprising to see
Correlation and causation that the resource-poor females along with
"But that could be due to factors other than the their male counterparts were sweating
training on crop management that you under the sun for a sustainable livelihood

3
Newspaper
article no. 4.6
The ladies with the lamps

through upgrading their skills and education and some about housing and
expanding their frontier of knowledge. I health etc. But sitting at the corner was
take my hat off to the 'informal sweet and shy Shanaz (19) who wanted
professors' that I met in those two stoppage of the hartal. I was taken aback
villages. I am told that a lot of such ladies by the answer and asked: "Why? How come
are being trained in several places in you are affected by 'hartals' living in a remote
agricultural practices. Let ladies like them village of Pirganj?", Shanaz covered her
carry the lamps all over Bangladesh. To smiling face with her sari amidst laughter
this effect, what they need is new from others. An old lady later explained
knowledge, new ideas and new to me that due to the last hartal, her newly
technology. married groom could not come from
Chittagong.
Epilogue 'Necessity is the mother of invention', I
"What would you expect from your politicians?", uttered in my mind. It is true for Shanaz,
I asked the female farmers. Some of them for the females that I met and perhaps for
talked about training, some about all of us.

Suggested citation:
Bayes, A. 2007. The ladies with the lamps. Reprinted from The Daily Star, July 17, 2003. In: Magor, N. P.,
Salahuddin, A., Haque, M., Biswas, T. K. and Bannerman, M., editors. PETRRA - an experiment in pro-poor
agricultural research. Newspaper reprint no. 4.6. Dhaka (Bangladesh): Poverty Elimination Through Rice
Research Assistance Project, International Rice Research Institute. 4 p.
Newspaper
article no. 4.7

Tales of the tail-enders
Abdul Bayes

Definitional dilemma
There is perhaps, neither a dearth of data
July 08, 2003
dealing with the poor and poverty, nor
a dearth of definition on the poor.
In the context of rural Bangladesh,
Economists have long been at
generally, females are expected to feed
loggerheads over detecting the attributes
family first and themselves last. They are
of the poor and their poverty levels.
supposed to go to sleep late but rise early.
Consensus on this count is yet to come,
The males mostly take household
but one concept is clear from all sides: the
decisions, although females have largely to
look after the activities. Working outside poor and poverty are multi-dimensional
the homestead boundary is almost banned aspects, not to be left to the domain of
for them. By and large, females are, income or any other single criterion of
regrettably, tail-enders in the realm of causation. Therefore, the definition of the
rural realities in Bangladesh. Such resource-poor that we shall use in
treatment of females, and the traditions subsequent submissions could, possibly,
growing around them, trace back to time produce a storm in a teacup. But let us see
immemorial. the justification behind the definition.
But things seem to have been changing,
PETRRA's poor
albeit at a slower pace, over the years. The
last decade, especially witnessed the The Poverty Elimination Through Rice
development of females on different Research Assistance (PETRRA) project of
fronts. Females in rural areas are now IRRI adopted the concept of 'resource-
reported to be in the front line in poor farmers' (RPFs) in their project
many ways. Maybe that pervasive paraphernalia. One could cast serious
presence of poverty propelled a change of doubt as to whether poverty of a segment
perceptions in the whole spectrum of of population can be eliminated even
societal superstitions. There are, in fact, after deploying all the arms in the
many stories in circulation where females armoury, not to speak of rice research
are reported to be in the frontline of alone. But one could equally agree with
education, business, services, social work the view that poverty could be curtailed
etc. For my readers, however, I shall pick by a respectable margin only through
up a few resource-poor females who are rice research. Anyway, the resource-poor
basically farmers - looking after both farmers of PETRRA-led projects are
pre-and post-harvest operations of their supposed to have several features. First,
agriculture. They seem to struggle to farming should be their main source of
survive and survive to struggle but never income and employment. Second, they
surrender. However, first, a few words on cultivate a meagre amount of land - 100
the resource-poor. decimals or so. This could be either own
Newspaper
article no. 4.7
Tales of the tail-enders

land, others' land or a combination of concern. The objectives should be
both. Third, they tend to generate to provide them with information,
additional income by working for 100 knowledge and technology that they can
days per year or so on others' land. And easily sail in to survive, given their
finally, they have provisions for rice from resource endowments. For example, we
their own farms for 6-7 months of the can provide them with a) foundation
year. seeds to grow more seeds to exchange
Quite understandably, PETRRA's poor with other farmers; b) training with regard
are not extreme-poor. With the to rouging and preservation techniques of
endowments of land and labour, they seeds in the wake of a 15%-20% loss of
would have at best fulfilled the 2,200- output from sick or bad seeds; c) training
calorie needs of the household members in the uses of balanced fertiliser in the
and can be described as 'moderate-poor'. face of their preoccupation with urea only
They are poor because of limited and losing fertility of soil and hence
resources and not because of a lack of it output; and d) introducing the economics
which applies for the extreme-poor. of growing FAG - fine, aromatic and
However, such poor are always on the glutinous - rice that has higher income
fringe of a fall and once fallen, could elasticity of demand and better chances of
swell the ranks of the extreme-poor. export. Admittedly, the prices of these
PETRRA's purpose is to arrest the fall of rice varieties are two to three times the
today's moderate-poor or the rise of rice they are growing at almost the same
tomorrow's poor. cost and with the same care.
Arguably, that could occur if the RPFs
Lady with the land
could utilise their land optimally by
devoting the full potential of male and Very recently, I met 16 resource-poor
female members of the households and females, engaged in and enlightened by
by using the most cost-effective means of the various projects of PETRRA-partners
managing resources - at their disposal - in the village of Krishnanagar. The
for increased output. Since rice accounts training in farm seeds, modern varieties
for three-fourths of their calorie intake, a (MVs), input management, and others are
lion's share of employment and two- led by Agricultural Advisory Society
thirds of household budgets; then it (AAS) in this village, both for males and
would seem any attempt to raise the females. The village is almost half way
productivity of tiny rice lands would be between Dhaka and Sreemangal, Sylhet. It
tantamount to a titanic outcome. has a population of 2,000 and households
Unfortunately, in the past, the RPFs have of 200 or so (imagine the density!). Half
hardly been addressed by the non- of the households are landless with only
governmental organisations (NGOs), homestead land, and half also are pure
governmental interventions or even by tenants. So, the features of the village,
researchers. All roads led to either the possibly, justify the name 'Krishnanagar', a
'haves' (large, medium) or the 'have-nots' place under the dark.
(landless or functionally landless) with I was curious to talk to Masuda Begum
little focus on those lying in between. (45), Ayesha Begum (40) and Minara
Their proportion as farmers is reportedly Akhter (30) as I was told that they are
rising. I reckon that they would even female farmers. In our rural areas, females
become the soldiers of the future self- mostly carry out post harvest operations
sufficiency in rice in Bangladesh.
but these three females have been at the
Ipso facto, targeting them is a timely forefront of the agricultural operations of

2
Newspaper
article no. 4.7
Tales of the tail-enders

their households. Thus, they are engaged seemingly signaled an option from the
in seed-to-seed activities i.e., growing agricultural side where they could manage
seeds to harvesting seeds. Reportedly, they their own food provisions from growing
roam around their rice plots to see that more rice from the same amount of land.
things move as per prescriptions. All of All of them agreed that preservation of
them know about soil conditions and seeds, growing MVs, use of balanced
types, crops to be grown in different fertiliser etc. are the technologies that
plots, hiring labour and other inputs etc. would suit them. The only problem was
During planting time, they are reported to that they were not aware of these and
sit in the aisle to see for themselves that especially if available, these were for
proper distances are maintained between males only. The females in Krishnanagar
plants and rows - the teaching they village gave me the impression that
received from training. During the last females could be equally good farmers -
boro season, Masuda Begum and her if not better - than the males. According
husband harvested the whole crop of to them, the new techniques of seed
their 28 decimal plot. Masuda also carried preservation, growing MVs and resource
the harvests home. "Otherwise I would have management increased the yield of rice
to pay Tk. 700-800 for contracting out", she almost two times!
told me. Ayesha appeared more agile,
active and energetic. Minara appeared
Poor and puzzle
relatively shy but sagacious. According to
the villagers, the ladies who got training in On the last leg of our long discussions, I
agricultural operations, especially these put before all of the 16 females a puzzle:
three front liners, are doing extremely "Mention three (as per importance) things that
well. "You need not have to have sons if you you would expect your 'pro-poor' politicians to do
have daughters like them", a wealthy villager for you". I observed that 10 of them
who praised their efforts towards uplift, mentioned seed first, saplings second and
told me. That does not, however, mean education (primary) third. Four of them
that their males have no role to play. "They noted saplings first, training second and
reportedly play a minor role", some of the seed third. And finally two of them
females who were present during the mentioned, in order of priority, help for
dialogue said to me. housing, goat/bullock, education.
Of course, I could detect the degree of Notice, first, that although called poor,
their developing dominance from a simple none of them expected any relief or dole
question: who is your household head? from their 'dear' political leaders. Second,
Masuda looked at her husband sitting none of them expected consumption
nearby, smiled and said, "Actually my items e.g., cash help, clothing, wheat or
husband. But I do the most work for the family rice etc. Finally, all of them expected
and hence you can say both of us are household investment items from their leaders.
heads!", Ayesha and Minara expressed the Surely, seed, saplings and education, if
same sentiment. properly provided, could go a long way in
The females that I met there informed me alleviating their poverty and generating
that their economic conditions have been future income. Among them, Ayesha said
improving over the years. I presumed that to me: "Ekjone bish khaile ekjone morey, kintu
the Dhaka-Sylhet highway passing by the ekjone beej khaile ghorer shobai moray"
village and the operations of some NGOs (drinking poison kills one but eating up
could have contributed to that on the seeds as food, kills everyone in the
non-farm side. The PETRRA-partners house).

3
Newspaper
article no. 4.7
Tales of the tail-enders

However, the puzzle that I threw to them Driving back to Sreemangal, I was
bounced back to me. I wondered how recollecting their responses. The road
these resource-poor females could be so was patchy and bumpy. Economic
rich in perceptions about the future development - said a famous economist -
stream of benefits and costs of seed, is a treacherous road. I hoped the females
saplings and education. I presume the that I met would be able to overcome
NGOs working there might have caused their barriers and have smooth sailing.
some influence and the electronic media, There seems light at the end of the
some impact. But the most important tunnel.
cause could be the Chaynovian hypothesis
of subsistence pressures.

Suggested citation:
Bayes, A. 2007. Tales of the tail-enders. Reprinted from The Daily Star, July 8, 2003. In: Magor, N. P.,
Salahuddin, A., Haque, M., Biswas, T. K. and Bannerman, M., editors. PETRRA - an experiment in pro-poor
agricultural research. Newspaper reprint no. 4.7. Dhaka (Bangladesh): Poverty Elimination Through Rice
Research Assistance Project, International Rice Research Institute. 4 p.
Newspaper
article no. 4.8

As they sow, so they reap
Abdul Bayes

Bangladesh, the landlord does not share
the costs of inputs. In that sense, Varaura
July 01, 2003 village is still backward.

The village is called Varaura - 2 km. west
Old is not gold!
of Sreemangal. Mr. Abdul Hamid (78) of
the village told me that the word 'Varaura' While modern varieties (MVs) of rice
comes from vara meaning a vast container began spreading fast in Bangladesh,
- made of bamboo canes - to store Varaura village continued to cling to the
paddy. The height of a container could cultivation of traditional crops. The per
stretch up from the floor to the ceiling. acre yield of these crops are very low, say,
The old but still active pure tenant told 7-8 maunds per kare (30 decimals). Such a
me that, in the past Varuara was very yield reminded me of the 1960s when my
much a rice village. But growing own villagers used to bring home poor
urbanisation and development of road harvests from local varieties. However,
communication robbed Varuara of its recently the Agricultural Advisory Society
rich rice heritage. In this Hindu (AAS), a non-governmental organisation
dominated village, half of the households (NGO) working for Poverty Elimination
are reported to be pure tenants, one-third Through Rice Research Assistance
owner-tenants and the rest, owner- (PETRRA) project - stepped into helping
cultivators. The average size of owned resource-poor farmers (RPFs). The
land - as reported - is 80 decimals, and purpose of PETRRA is to help
family size 6. Two to three years back, the moderately-poor farmers or future-poor
resource-poor households could hardly farmers with cost effective technologies
afford 5 months' food from their own to raise rice output so that they can
fields. graduate from their present position.
By and large, Varaura is a poor village but, These targeted resource-poor farmers
I suppose, lies in a rich location. The have land endowments not exceeding 100
Dhaka-Sylhet highway passes by the side decimals or so, they work for others' land
of the village and Sreemangal is 5 and can meet rice needs of 6-7 months
minutes' walk from the village. from own sources. It is assumed that if
Reportedly, land lies in the hands of the these resource-poor could be provided
businessmen and Londonis (settlers in with suitable technologies and some
London). Some of the villagers lost land knowledge about rice cropping practices,
when they wanted to go to London but possibly, they would rise up and not join
were cheated by the middlemen. The the ranks of the poor. However, as per
dominant form of tenancy in the village is PETRRA-path, AAS came forward to
share cropping with traditional fifty-fifty introduce MVs like BRRI dhan28 and
arrangements. But unlike elsewhere in BRRI dhan29 to Varaura villagers. It is
Newspaper
article no. 4.8
As they sow, so they reap

estimated that the yield rate of these MVs. No more free lunch! (There is no
crops is three times the traditional ones. free lunch after all). Farmers are now
ready to pay for seeds and fertilisers and
But risk-averse as they were, the resource-
other input costs to reap a harvest that
poor farmers of the village refused to
had never been dreamt of. Meantime, they
accept an unknown, unseen and unheard
also learnt about the balanced doses of
of package at the initial stage. AAS then
fertilisers and some of the farmers I met,
selected a sample of resource-poor
even taught me about the impact of
farmers and provided them with seeds
different types of fertilisers on rice plants.
and fertilisers free of cost. The risks thus
An extra benefit for them, is that the
were shared between AAS and the target
water is free and flows from the hills
resource-poor farmers. The selected
through narrow canals locally known as
farmers grew the MVs and demonstrated
chara. Food supply increased and pari
the developments in the fields where, like
passu food availability for households also
an industrial exhibition, farmers from far
went up. The food deficit has been
and wide came to visit 'paddy stalls' of the
reduced by 2-3 months, I was told by a
resource-poor farmers.
sample of farmers.
Not by seed alone
Good and bad luck
Seed is the source of growing rice but
could turn sour if not handled properly During my visit to the village, I talked to
and judiciously. Keeping this in mind, three young and energetic resource-poor
AAS also arranged training programmes farmers. They are Nikesh (26), Mozam
for both male and female farmers. The (20) and Fahim (25). The average size of
former were trained in rouging the fields their owned land is estimated at 85
and the latter, on preservation of seeds at decimals and they were shouldering the
the homestead. According to a farmer, his responsibilities of feeding their respective
wife now shares almost half the hard family of seven or so. Interestingly, at the
labour in sustaining good seeds. Farmers very outset, these young farmers
have been advised on how to grow seeds responded to the call of AAS and
from the foundation seeds that they were embraced the risks of growing MVs in
provided with and also how to prepare their fields. But at times risk is also
productive seedbeds. Farmers told me rewarding. In the 2001-'02 boro season,
that, the training is paying dividends in Nikesh produced 6 maunds of seeds and
terms of increased yield per unit of land stored it in the house in suitable
containers. It was bad luck for
and seeing the size of the crops grown,
Bangladesh, that a serious seed crisis
the villagers of Varaura have been vying
broke during 2002-'03 boro season. At that
for MVs. As Janab Abdul Hamid said to
time BADC seeds of Tk. 16 per kg. were
me: "BRRI dhan28 and BRRI dhan29 are
sold at Tk. 30 per kg. on the black market.
good for the poor because 2 'kares' of land now
Many other organisations, allegedly, sold
take care of 5 'kares'". Mr. Hamid wanted
their seeds also at Tk. 25-30 per kg.
to indicate that what used to be grown in
Seemingly there was no light at the end of
5 kares in the past are now being grown in
the tunnel for the resource-poor farmers
2 kares of land. For the poor with little
of Varaura. But the bane became a boon
endowments of land, this also meant that
for Nikesh and his friend Fahim. Nikesh
the endowments of their lands doubled
sold out 5.5 maunds of seeds at Tk. 600
over time!
per maund and reaped home a rich return.
By the time I visited the village, three- His friend Fahim also sold 3 maunds. The
fourths of farmers had already adopted buyers were from their own village and

2
Newspaper
article no. 4.8
As they sow, so they reap

from far and wide. The crisis reminded to the endowments of resources,
the said villagers to be cautious as far as knowledge and technology. An expansion
seed is concerned. Now they keep seeds of the frontier of knowledge through
with due care and do not sell them unless training, extension and at times by the
driven by dire distress. The farmers of provision of subsidy could enhance their
Varaura and especially the resource-poor production possibility frontier. The earlier
have learnt a lot about seed - growing and position of clinging to age-old cultivation
preservation. Of course, a sudden flood by the Varaura farmers was perhaps the
or heavy monsoon could create problems product of those factors. Meantime, new
for them. But since the fluctuations in knowledge and technology have expanded
yields narrowed down substantially, any their frontier. This valuable message
shock of that kind may cripple them for seems to have been given by the villagers
a while but, perhaps, not kill them - the of Varaura.
sample farmers said to me. The
As they sow, so they reap. Allow me to
technologies and the techniques of
add: as they see, so they sow.
production became the saviour of the
poor in Varaura village.

Promising poor
According to T. W. Schultz, the Nobel
Laureate in economics: small farmers are
very rational and efficient. They try to
maximise the objective function subject

3
Suggested citation:
Bayes, A. 2007. As they sow, so they reap. Reprinted from The Daily Star, July 1, 2003. In: Magor, N. P.,
Salahuddin, A., Haque, M., Biswas T. K. and Bannerman, M., editors. PETRRA - an experiment in pro-poor
agricultural research. Newspaper reprint no. 4.8. Dhaka (Bangladesh): Poverty Elimination Through Rice
Research Assistance Project, International Rice Research Institute. 4 p.
Newspaper
article no. 4.9

Seed for survival
Abdul Bayes

however glean information from a report
on seed health and its consequent costs.
June 25, 2003 "..BRRI estimate a national yield loss due to all
diseases of 10%-15% of which it is further
As you sow, so you reap - runs an adage estimated that two-thirds are fungal, giving a
from ancient times. Seed is the source of yield loss of 6%-10%. The technical advice is
all crops, including rice. In Bangladesh, that perhaps 20% of these losses is estimated to
rice is the staple food accounting for originate from seed borne inoculum, implying that
more than three-fourths of the calorie 1.2% to 2% of the total rice crop is lost... . This
intake of population lying at the lower is likely to be a conservative estimate;
end of the income scale. Rice cultivation experimental use of clean seed in farmers' fields
occupies three-fourths of the cultivable in the Philippines has given yield improvement of
land and is mainly an occupation of the 5%-20%... .
poor. The development of seed is thus a Assuming also conservatively, that the rice crop
determinant of the fate of the 'ill-fated' averages 18 metric tons per annum, these losses
farmers. But seeds per se do not seem to translate into 2,16,000 to 3,60,000 tons forgone
support survival. They do however, availability annually due to diseases... .
impact upon improvements in livelihoods.
At the current farmgate price (i.e., 1999), this
What farmers need is good seed for a
equates to Tk. 1.3 to 2.2 billion (18 to 31
good yield. The relationship is like that of million pound sterling) per annum which indicates
a healthy mother and a healthy child. that the economic problem is on a scale worth
Healthy seeds mean healthy harvests. The tackling."
correlation is confirmed on an empirical
plane. But sordidly, seeds always remained
Pains of the poor
on the sideline in the realm of discussion
on rice research. Scientists and farmers The loss of yield on account of seed
have long been harping on varietal quality falls heavily on the poor farmers.
developments and improvements without The marginal disutility of parting with a
paying due attention to the preservation loss in production is different for
and promotion of good seeds. Perhaps, different land size groups. The larger ones
the necessity of growing more rice at that can possibly afford the loss since it would
time knew no law! not stand in the way of their survival. But
in the case of poor farmers - who hardly
own one acre or so of land and have a big
Expensive evasions
family to feed, such a loss could throw
Such an evasion of emphasis appeared them down the poverty line. Therefore,
expensive. However, the damage due to the marginal benefit of regained yield
'sick' seeds sown has never been through seed improvement could be large
quantified, nor could they be quantified in and lucrative for the small as opposed to
the presence of a paucity of data. We can the large.
Newspaper
article no. 4.9
Seed for survival

PETRRA and the poor sent their spouses who seemed to be no
With the above-mentioned premises in less knowledgeable than the males that I
mind, the Poverty Elimination Through encountered.
Rice Research Assistance (PETRRA) All of the 17 persons present were from
project of IRRI initiated a project called resource-poor households with the
seed health improvement project (SHIP). following attributes: a) average size of
For the villages I visited research by the owned land was 68 decimals (only 3 of
formal scientists of BRRI and other them had more than 1 acre with a
organisations on seeds are passed on to maximum of 1.64 acre in the case one
the informal scientists - the farmers, household); b) only 6% of them were
through Bangladesh Rural Advancement pure tenants and the rest equally divided
Committee (BRAC). The project is between owner and owner-cum-tenant
participatory in nature in the sense that cultivators; c) average household income
farmers sit with scientists and exchange per year was reported to be Tk. 21,118
experiences. The resource-poor farmers, and given a family size of 6.5, the per
as PETRRA calls them, are selected on capita income estimated was about
the basis of the following features: a) Tk. 3,249 per year; d) most of their
households owning not more than one houses are of straw roofs; and e) most of
acre of land; b) households' supply of them had provisions for rice from their
rice from own fields does not exceed own farms for 6-7 months at the
seven months requirement; and c) they beginning of their involvement with
spend 100 days or so in working on SHIP.
others' land etc. The selected sample
farmers are then trained about roguing Learning is light
the lands (at least thrice each unit of land)
The participants in the dialogue informed
and their spouses are trained in
me that their forefathers had no idea
preservation of seed - on how to sort out about seed health in terms of promotion
seeds and preserve them in proper and preservation and so they had to pay a
containers. price for that inherited ignorance. "What
is that price?", I asked. "Our present poverty",
On board the 'SHIP' they replied. But through their
I personally visited one site of SHIP that involvement in the SHIP, they have learnt
PETRRA sponsored in which BRAC and a) How to clean rice fields through
BRRI collaborated. The selected 3 villages roguing 3 times to weed out the
are located at Sutang under Habiganj competing crops. Each time roguing
Sadar thana, about 60 km. west of requires 2-3 hours; b) How to sort seeds
Sreemangal. I sat with 17 resource-poor manually one by one to ensure balanced
farmers and they accounted for half of seeds; and c) how to prepare and preserve
the target farmers selected for SHIP. An them in suitable containers that ensure
interesting point to note is that only five seed health.
of the participants that I met were males Another village that I visited was
and the rest of the male farmers were Sirajnagar under Sreemangal thana. The
represented by their counterpart females. project is managed by the Agricultural
Indeed, the males could earn Tk. 80 to Advisory Society (AAS). Besides, seed
100 per day in this busy season of aus preservation training, AAS also supplies
planting rather than listening to a foundation seeds to resource-poor
university professor of no practical use to farmers for growing their own seeds. The
them. But courteous as they were, they resource-poor that I met there also had

2
Newspaper
article no. 4.9
Seed for survival

the same features as mentioned before they reported, all improved in food
and the impact of the training was more security. To quote Hasina (40): "I have 7
or less the same. But for the sake of this members to feed and 5 'kares' to cultivate. Four
column, I shall concentrate on SHIP as years ago, my own production from land could
experienced from my visit to Sutang and meet five months' need of rice. The rest would
make reference to the other, if and when come from borrowing or help. Now both my
needed. husband and myself are working hard with
SHIP and fetching good fortunes. Now we get
Rewarding lessons 100 maunds of rice from the same amount of
land compared to 50 maunds before."
Admittedly, the sample size was small and
the effects of SHIP could not be captured Fourth, one-third of the respondents
quantitatively. But allow me to submit reported that they were selling rice after
some impressional improvements that I meeting family needs. In Sirajnagar, half
could glean from the deliberations of the of the sample respondents reported to be
resource-poor farmers that I sat and selling rice after meeting family needs.
chatted with. Fifth, they invested in sanitary latrines,
First, came the knowledge. Messrs Feroz repairing houses, buying land and
Ali (80) and Abdul Bari (70) submitted bullocks, turning straw-houses into tin
that for ages, they harvested 8-10 maunds sheds etc. Four years ago, they could
per kare (30 decimals) of rice. Since they hardly dream of such developments.
were born, they heard about the same And finally, before being with SHIP or the
figures from their forefathers. But for the farm seed project of AAS, they could
last four years or so and without a break, hardly afford to have three rice-meals a
they have been harvesting 15-20 maunds day with two curries. Now, they have
per kare of rice. It means an increase of regularly three rice-meals with two curries.
output by 50% or so. But taking the
average from all, I reckoned that the Admittedly, the above mentioned impact
rise could be around 40%-50%. Thus, could originate from other sources also
knowledge pertaining to seed health led to and a decomposition of the effects are
more output for the resource-poor also difficult within the short span of
farmers. The same sentiment was echoed time and in the absence of in-depth
household level income and expenditure
by farmers at Sirajnagar.
data. But the participants revealed their
Second, the income of sample strong assumption that increased yield
households increased. For example, the and output resulting from the
average income of SHIP farmers was Tk. improvement of seed quality and seed
19,000 per year compared to 22,000 now. growing, largely helped them to be on an
Pari passu, the per capita income also rose even keel.
over the years.
Third, the increased yield enhanced food Teachers and teasers
entitlements for the households. As noted The spillover effects of SHIP and the
before, four years ago, the sample other project also need mentioning. When
households had 6-7 months provisions the project started in 2001, the
for rice from their own farms. Now nine participants under SHIP were teased by
of the 17 farmers can feed their family fellow villagers on the plea that the
for 12 months from their own exercise was just sparing a pound for a
production. Another five have food penny. This meant that they were
security for 10 months. By and large, as labouring hard for no hefty gain. "What

3
Newspaper
article no. 4.9
Seed for survival

else can we do to change our lot? Let's try it and varieties or the green revolution. But rice
see what happens in the future", the sample research needs to target the resource-poor
farmers used to tell the skeptics. But now, in Bangladesh since a) they are actively
proudly pointed out by the participants, engaged in rice production and
the skeptics approach them to teach the increasingly they are becoming a
methods of seed promotion, preparation dominant group among farmers; b) they
and preservation. Sometimes they even could be the victims of the vagaries of
ask for good seeds to be exchanged for nature to join the line of the extreme-
rice for consumption. The exchange takes poor; and c) they are poor because they
place provided the participants have lack knowledge about the proper
surplus seed. It was also reported that management of their meagre
neighbouring villagers and richer sections endowments. Sometimes extension
within the village also approach them for services could be more powerful and
the same reasons. One female farmer offer tools of sustainability rather than
from Sirajnagar informed me that her merely being providers of micro-credit.
brother from a remote village saw her The PETRRA efforts seem to point to
seeds and requested her to supply him. these observations.

Sustainable survival? Epilogue
But what will happen when the SHIP At the end of our cordial conversations at
leaves the port of the participants? Will Sutang, I posed a question: "what do you
they be dropped down? In response to mean by poor?" The participants were silent
my questions, all of them answered 'No'. for a few moments till Mrs. Razia of
Why? "Because, we shall teach our children and Noagaon broke the silence and said: "A
grandchildren about this cost effective technology blind or a lame person without capacity to work
so that they do not inherit ignorance like us and is poor." "But why did you enlist yourself as poor
fall into the poverty trap. Even if we die, our in SHIP without being blind or lame?", I asked
knowledge will keep us alive to following Razia. "It is because you call us so. I am not
generations", some replied. poor. I have hands to work and legs to walk.
Why should I be poor?", replied Razia.
Rice research and the resource-poor
Driving back to Sreemangal and seeing
Rice research has rarely helped the farmers planting aus in the muddy fields, I
resource-poor directly and decisively. recollected Razia's reactions. Perhaps
Undoubtedly they benefited, among poor, not because they are poor but
others, from the introduction of modern because they are called poor.

Suggested citation:
Bayes, A. 2007. Seeds for survival. Reprinted from The Daily Star, June 25, 2003. In: Magor, N. P., Salahuddin, A.,
Haque, M., Biswas, T. K. and Bannerman, M., editors. PETRRA - an experiment in pro-poor agricultural research.
Newspaper reprint no. 4.9. Dhaka (Bangladesh): Poverty Elimination Through Rice Research Assistance Project,
International Rice Research Institute. 4 p.
Newspaper
article no. 4.10

K…wl‡Z ev‡qv‡UK‡bvjwR Ges evsjv‡`k †cÖw¶Z
(Biotechnology in agriculture in the Bangladesh context)
Ave`yj ev‡qm

(Bwi)-i mgvRweÁvb wefv‡Mi cÖavb W. gvnveye
†nv‡mb| wZwb ej‡jb Rxeb-cÖ h y w ³i
October 3, 2003 Av_©mvgvwRK w`K wb‡q Ges AewnZ Ki‡jb
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Newspaper
article no. 4.10
K…wl‡Z ev‡qv‡UK‡bvjwR Ges evsjv‡`k †cÖw¶Z

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Lv`¨ Drcv`‡b EaŸ©MwZ| Avš—R©vwZK avb Avg`vwbi wnwoK c‡o hvq Ges cwigvY †e‡o

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Newspaper
article no. 4.10
K…wl‡Z ev‡qv‡UK‡bvjwR Ges evsjv‡`k †cÖw¶Z

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Newspaper
article no. 4.10
K…wl‡Z ev‡qv‡UK‡bvjwR Ges evsjv‡`k †cÖw¶Z

†m wel‡q KviI m‡›`n Av‡Q e‡j g‡b nq bv| eyw×gv‡bi KvR bq| gv_v _vK‡j gv_ve¨_v
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fv‡jvfv‡e cix¶v K‡i †be| B‡gvkbm& †hb
B‡KvbwgKm‡K Qvwc‡q bv hvq †m w`KwU j¶ bq.
ivL‡Z n‡e, †hgb K‡i j¶ ivL‡Z n‡e †kl K_v| avb wKš‘ GL‡bv evsjv‡`‡ki cÖvY|
B‡KvbwgKm †hb Avevi Bw_Km Avi AK…wlRvZ Kg©KvÊ wKsev Ab¨vb¨ Lv`¨`ª‡e¨i
Gbfvqib‡g›U‡K Gwo‡q bv P‡j| abx mieivn e„w× ZLbB NU‡Z cv‡i, hLb avb
†`k¸‡jvi ev¯—eZvi wbwi‡L Avgiv †hb Lvjvm Ki‡e kªg I Rwg| evsjv‡`‡k fviwUK¨vj
Avgv‡`i c_ nvwi‡q bv †dwj| AvR †_‡K 20 ev EaŸ©gyLx m¤cÖmvi‡Yi †Kv‡bv weKí Av‡Q e‡j
eQi c‡ii `„k¨cU Kíbv Ki‡j, evsjv‡`‡ki g‡b nq bv| ev‡qv‡UK‡bvjwR n‡”Q Drcv`‡bi
DwPZ n‡e GLb †_‡KB K…wl‡Z ev‡qv‡UK‡bvjwR †mB EaŸ©gyLx nvwZqvi| Avkvi K_v, bgybvK…Z
wb‡q M‡elYv Kiv| Ges Avgv‡`i RvZxq AwaKvsk DËi`vZv, we‡klZ mykxj mgvR K…wl
cÖwZôvb¸‡jv Avš—R©vwZK cÖwZôvb¸‡jvi †hŠ_ cÖwZôv‡b ev‡qv‡UK‡bvjwR e¨env‡ii c‡¶ ivq
cÖqv‡m GKUv w`Kwb‡`©k w`‡Z cvi‡e e‡j w`‡q‡Qb| Z‡e kZ©nxb bq| Avgvi mg_©bI
Avgv‡`i wek¦vm| †h‡Kv‡bv cÖ‡kœi DËi †LuvRv wKš‘ kZ©nxb bq|
eyw×gv‡bi KvR, cÖkœwU Qz‡o †djv †Kv‡bv

Suggested citation:
Bayes, A. 2007. Krishitey biotechnology abong Bangladesh prekhhit (Biotechnology in agriculture in the
Bangladesh context). Reprinted from Bhorer Kagoj (Bangla daily), October 3, 2003. In: Magor, N. P., Salahuddin,
A., Haque, M., Biswas T. K. and Bannerman, M., editors. PETRRA - an experiment in pro-poor agricultural
research. Newspaper reprint no. 4.10. Dhaka (Bangladesh): Poverty Elimination Through Rice Research
Assistance Project, International Rice Research Institute. 4 p.
Newspaper
article no. 4.11

avb M‡elYv I Ôm¤ú`-`wi`ªÕ GKwU ågYe„Ëvš—
(Rice research and the 'resource-poor' -- a travelogue)
Ave`yj ev‡qm

`yB. †Kb bZzb fvebv?
September 12, 2003 cÖ_gZ, meyR wec-‡ei mydj me A‡j mgfv‡e
we¯—vi jvf K‡iwb| ïay AbyK‚j A‡jB meyR
wec-‡ei e¨vcK cÖmvi N‡U‡Q| A_P cwi‡ek-
Avš—R©vwZK avb M‡elYv Bbw÷wUDU (Bwi) g‡b
cÖwZK‚j A‡j (†hgb LivcÖeY, DcK‚jxq Ges
K‡i, avb M‡elYvi gva¨‡g m¤ú`-`wi`ª
eb¨vcÖeY) meyR wec-‡ei †Zgb †Quvqv jv‡Mwb|
Rb‡Mvôx‡K mnvqZv w`‡q `vwi`ª¨ `~ixKiY
cÖvß M‡elYvq cÖZxqgvb nq †h, cwi‡ek-
m¤¢e| cÖm½Z D‡j-L Kiv hvq, `wi`ª `y ai‡bi
cÖwZK‚j AÂj¸‡jv‡Z †gvU RbmsL¨vi 65%
n‡Z cv‡i| GK, hv‡`i Ôm¤ú`Õ ej‡Z wKQzB
evm K‡i (DcK‚jxq 13% Ges eb¨vcÖeY
†bB Zviv `wi`ª n‡Z cv‡ib| `yB, hv‡`i †gvUv
35%)| †gvU wbR¯^ Rwgi 73% GZ`‡j
`v‡Mi bv n‡jI †gvUvgywU wKQz m¤ú`, we‡klZ
A_P gvÎ 22-50% Rwg †m‡Pi AvIZvaxb| Zv
Pvl‡hvM¨ Rwg Av‡Q ¯^í cwigv‡Y, Zviv, hw`
Qvov gv_vwcQz Pv‡ji cÖvwß me‡P‡q Kg, 250
†`q m¤ú‡`i mylg e¨envi bv Ki‡Z cv‡ib|
†_‡K 290 †KwR/eQi, hv wKbv MocoZv 303
ZvB, †PvL _vK‡ZI †hgb AÜ _v‡K gvbyl,
†KwRi wb‡P Ges G jf¨Zvi nvi 1987 mv‡ji
†Zgwb _v‡K `wi`ª, m¤ú‡`i mwbœ‡ek m‡Ë¡I|
Zzjbvq 20% n«vm †c‡q‡Q 2000 mv‡j| Ges
BwiÕi g~j j¶¨ avb M‡elYvq mnvqZv cÖ`vb
me©‡kl, Pv‡ji Drcv`bkxjZv Ges Pvj †_‡K
K‡i m¤ú`-`wi‡`ªi mvnv‡h¨ cÖZ¨¶fv‡e GwM‡q
Avmv| c‡iv¶fv‡e Ab¨ivI jvfevb n‡Z DrmvwiZ DcvR©b GZ`‡j me‡P‡q Kg Ges
cv‡ib| wZh©Kfv‡e wbgœMvgx| myZivs meyR wec-‡ei
ÔAvkxe©v`Õ ewÂZ GZ`‡ji Pvwl‡`i Rb¨
Avi Zv Ki‡Z wM‡q Bwi †cUªv Dc-cÖK‡íi jvMmB cÖhyw³ D™¢veb I weZiY AZ¨š— Ri“wi
AwffveK‡Z¡ †ek wKQz Dc-cÖKí nv‡Z wb‡q‡Q| e‡j †cUªv g‡b K‡i| wØZxqZ, AvR‡Ki Ôm¤ú`-
G Dc-cÖKí¸‡jvi mvwe©K `vwq‡Z¡ i‡q‡Q †cUªv, `wi`ªÕ PvwlivB fwel¨‡Zi cÖK…Z `wi`ª Rb‡Mvôx
wKš‘ ev¯—evq‡b wb‡qvwRZ i‡q‡Q wKQz cvU©bvi ev wn‡m‡e Avwef©~Z n‡eb e‡j aviYv Kiv n‡”Q|
mn‡hvMx cÖwZôvb, hviv gvV ch©v‡q `wi`ª‡K AvcvZ`„‡ó `wi`ª cÖZxqgvb bv n‡jI G‡`i
wb‡q, `wi‡`ªi Øviv Ges `wi‡`ªi Rb¨ KvR K‡i A_©‰bwZK Ae¯’vb LyeB bvRyK Ges †h‡Kv‡bv
hv‡”Qb| D‡j-L Kiv cÖ‡qvRb, 2003 mvj ch©š— cÖwZK‚j cwiw¯’wZ‡Z Giv Ôm¤ú`nxb `wi‡`ªiÕ
†gvU 45wU Dc-cÖK‡íi AvIZvq 551wU MÖv‡g KvZv‡i kvwgj n‡Z cv‡ib| Z…ZxqZ, Ôm¤ú`-
†gvU 11 nvRvi 36 Rb K…l‡Ki Kv‡Q †cUªv- `wi`ªÕ Pvwl K…wlKvVv‡gv‡Z cÖavb Ask| mgx¶vq
cÖm~Z cÖwk¶Y †cuŠQv‡bv n‡q‡Q| G‡`i g‡a¨ †`Lv hvq, 1987 mv‡ji 57% †_‡K 2000
AskMÖnYKvix cyi“l K…l‡Ki msL¨v 6 nvRvi bvMv` G‡`i Ask `uvovq 67%| PZz_©Z, Ac~Y©
667 (67%) Ges gwnjv K…l‡Ki msL¨v 4 I AcÖwZmg Z_¨cÖevn A_©bxwZ‡Z eûav fvimvg¨
nvRvi 379 (40%)| we›`yi Rb¥ †`q| G‡`i g‡a¨ †Kv‡bv †Kv‡bv we›`y
m¤cÖwZ Gme Dc-cÖK‡íi K‡qKUv Ny‡i †`Lvi ev fvimvg¨ Ae¯’vb fv‡jv ev `¶ Avevi †Kv‡bv
†mŠfvM¨ Avgvi n‡q‡Q Ges eZ©gvb wbeÜwU †mB †Kv‡bv Ae¯’vb Lvivc ev A`¶| MYLv‡Zi ev
AwfÁZvi Av‡jv‡KB Dc¯’vcb Kiv n‡jv| cvewjK †m±‡ii cÖavb `vwqZ¡ n‡q‡Q Lvivc
Newspaper
article no. 4.11
avb M‡elYv I Ôm¤ú`-`wi`ªÕ GKwU ågYe„Ëvš—

fvimvg¨ Acmvi‡Y Kg©‡KŠk‡ji gva¨‡g ﮋ †gŠmy‡g †ev‡iv avb Drcv`b I jeYv³
n¯—‡¶c Kiv| Ges cÂgZ, †h‡nZz Pvj cÖavb cvwbi m‡½ mvgÄm¨c~Y© bZzb avb D™¢veb
Lv`¨ Ges Pvj Drcv`b cÖwµqv‡K †K›`ª K‡i Ab¨Zg †KŠkj| Ges me©‡k‡l, `wi`ª Pvwl‡`i
cÖavbZ MÖvgxY A‡ji Avq I Kg©ms¯’vb myMwÜ wPKb Pv‡ji exR mieivn K‡i D”Pg~‡j¨i
AvewZ©Z, myZivs Pvj ev avb M‡elYv `vwi`ª¨ Pvj Drcv`b I evRviRvZ Kivi gva¨‡g
`~ixKi‡Y A‡bKUv c_ AwZµg Ki‡Z cv‡i| A_©‰bwZK m”QjZv cÖ`vb KivI Ab¨Zg †KŠkj
e‡j g‡b K‡i †cUªv|
wZb. Kviv Ôm¤ú`-`wi`ªÕ? lv‡Ui `k‡K D”P djbkxj (Ddkx) avb
Ôm¤ú`-`wi`ªÕ ZvivB : K. hv‡`i wbR¯^ Rwgi cÖeZ©bKv‡j g~j j¶¨ wQj `ª“ZMwZ‡Z Kg
cwigvY 100 kZvs‡ki g‡Zv; L. hviv c~Y© mg‡q AwaK avb Drcv`b| RbmsL¨vi `ª“Z e„w×
mg‡qi Pvwl; M. hv‡`i wbR¯^ Drcv`b †_‡K Ges Pvl‡hvM¨ Rwgi ¯^íZvi gy‡LvgywL mg‡q
Lv‡`¨i †hvMvb †`Iqvi ciI 4-5 gvm Lv`¨ cwi‡ekMZ cwiw¯’wZ, bvixi AwaKvi,
NvUwZ _v‡K Ges N. hviv A‡b¨i Rwg‡Z ÔRb Askx`vwig~jK Drcv`b †KŠkj BZ¨vw` ¸i“Z¡
wewµÕ K‡i RxweKv wbe©vn K‡i| cvqwb| †gvUvgywUfv‡e IB mg‡qi cÖhyw³ Lv`¨
Drcv`b e„wׇZ cÖ‡qvRbxq f~wgKv ivL‡jI Gi
Pvi. m¤ú`-`wi‡`ªi `y`©kv jvN‡e †KŠkj weiƒc cvk¦©cÖwZwµqv cieZ©xKv‡j †KŠkj
cwieZ©‡bi WvK †`q| †mB Wv‡K mvov w`‡qB
m¤ú`-`wi‡`ªi `vwi`ª¨ `~ixKi‡Y †KŠkj¸‡jv
m¤¢eZ †cUªv eZ©gv‡b beavivg~jK †KŠkj
Av‡jvPbv Kiv †h‡Z cv‡i| cÖ_gZ, M„n¯’vwj‡Z
MÖn‡Y eªZx nq| eZ©gvb †KŠkj¸‡jv‡Z ˆewkó¨
av‡bi exR Drcv`b, msi¶Y I wewbgq msµvš—
wbgœiƒc :
cÖwk¶‡Yi gva¨‡g Pvwl‡`i FZzwfwËK ÔexR
msKUÕ †_‡K i¶v Kiv| ¯§Z©e¨, evsjv‡`‡k †gvU K. Dc-cÖKí¸‡jv K…lK‡`i Pvwn`vgvwdK
exR e¨env‡ii gvÎ 5% Av‡m evsjv‡`k K…wl cwiKwíZ, hv‡Z K…lKiv Zv‡`i g‡a¨ Avjvc-
Dbœqb Ki‡cv‡ikb (weGwWwm) †_‡K, 6-7% Av‡jvPbvi gva¨‡g ¯’vbxq cwi‡e‡ki m‡½
ex‡Ri Drm GbwRI I e¨w³ LvZ Ges evwK m½wZc~Y© I ms‡e`bkxj Drcv`b †KŠkj
85% ex‡Ri Drm Pvwl wb‡R| myZivs, Pvwl hw` wba©viY K‡ib;
wb‡R ex‡Ri Ômy¯^v¯’¨Õ wbwðZ Ki‡Z bv cv‡i L. G¸‡jv Askx`vwig~jK-- †mLv‡b weÁvbx,
Z‡e fv‡jv dmj Avkv Kiv hvq bv| wkïi ¯^v¯’¨ K…lK I gvVKg©x‡`i †hŠ_ cÖqv‡m av‡bi RvZ,
†hgb A‡bKUv wbf©i K‡i gv‡qi ¯^v‡¯’¨i Ici, Drcv`b †KŠkj I e¨qmvkªqx cš’v D™¢veb Kiv
†Zgwb dm‡ji ¯^v‡¯’¨i wbqvgK n‡”Q ex‡Ri nq;
¯^v¯’¨| wØZxqZ, cÖ_vMZ av‡bi †P‡q D”P M. wj½-ms‡e`bkxj GB A‡_© †h bvix‡`i K…wl
djbkxj av‡bi Drcv`bkxjZv A‡bK †ewk Kg©Kv‡Êi g~j †mªv‡Z wb‡q Av‡m Ges
Ges D”P djbkxj avbexR msMÖn K‡i mxwgZ
N. `wi`ªgyLx, A_©vr ïay mvwe©K nv‡i avb Drcv`b
Rwg‡Z mvwe©K Drcv`b DrmvwnZ Ki‡Z n‡e|
bq, Kx K‡i we‡klZ `wi`ª Pvwl‡`i Rb¨ mwVK
Z…ZxqZ, AÁZvi Kvi‡Y mvi, cvwb I
avb Drcv`b †KŠkj †kLv‡bv hvq †mUvB g~j
†cvKvgvKo `g‡b AwZwi³ e¨q `wi`ª Pvwli
j¶¨|
Rxe‡b Ôgovi Ici Luvovi NvÕ Ges mgwš^Z km¨
e¨e¯’vcbv (AvBwmGg) msµvš— cÖwk¶Y Pvwl‡`i Avkv Kiv hvq :
Rb¨ e¨qmvkªqx Drcv`b †KŠkj Aej¤^‡b K. cÖK…Z cÖwk¶Y I DcKiY mieivn Ae¨vnZ
mnvqZv w`‡Z cv‡i| _vK‡j cÖwZeQi evsjv‡`k m¤ú`-`wi`ª Pvwliv 5
g~jZ G wZbwU Dcv`vb m‡gZ msMwVZ nq jvL Ub AwZwi³ Lv`¨ Drcv`b Ki‡Z cvi‡eb|
Technology uptake ev cÖhyw³MZ Dbœqb| Zv AwZwi³ G Drcv`b †gvU Avg`vwbi cÖvq A‡a©K;
Qvov DcK‚jxq AÂj¸‡jv‡Z b`x †_‡K e‡q L. Rwgi Drcv`bkw³ e„w×i nvi n‡e 35%;
Avmv Lvj¸‡jv‡Z e„wói cvwb msi¶‡Yi gva¨‡g
M. Avw_©K wiUvb© e„w× cv‡e 25% nv‡i;

2
Newspaper
article no. 4.11
avb M‡elYv I Ôm¤ú`-`wi`ªÕ GKwU ågYe„Ëvš—

N. 1915 mvj bvMv` MÖvg I kn‡i `vwi‡`ª¨i (we‡klZ gwnjviv)|
AbycvZ n«vm cv‡e 50%| L. AskMÖnYKvix Pvwl‡`i g‡a¨ ÔAv¯’viÕ fve
dz‡U D‡V‡Q| Kg Rwg, Kg Drcv`b, Kg
cuvP. A_©‰bwZK cÖfve AvqRwbZ `vwi‡`ª¨i `yóPµ †_‡K †ewi‡q
†cUªv I Gi cvU©bvi msMV‡bi Kg©Kv‡Ê G‡m‡Qb e‡j Rvbv‡jb| GLb Zviv Rv‡bb, Kg
AskMÖn‡Yi d‡j AskMÖnYKvix Pvwl‡`i Lvbv ev Rwg‡ZI †ewk dmj nq| LiP hZUzKz Ki‡Zb
cwievi ch©v‡q A_©‰bwZK mycÖfve c‡o| †hgb, ZvI Kgv‡bv hvq|
Pvwliv Rvwb‡q‡Qb, bZzb Rv‡Zi avb I Gi
M. Av‡M gwnjviv c‡iv¶fv‡e K…wlKv‡R,
cwiPh©vi d‡j weNvcÖwZ Drcv`b †e‡o‡Q 18
we‡klZ Pvj Drcv`‡b mnvqZv Ki‡Zb| GLb
†_‡K 25 gY| Avi c~‡e© †hgb †ewki fvM
mivmwi exR †Zvjv, msi¶Y, ¯^vgx‡K
†¶‡Î †`wk Rv‡Zi avb Pvl Ki‡Zb, GLb †ewk
Ae¨vnZfv‡e cÖwk¶YcÖvß Ávb m¤ú‡K©
K‡i AvaywbK avb Pvl Ki‡Qb| MocoZv
AewnZKiY BZ¨vw` Kv‡R c~Y©Kvjxb wb‡qvwRZ
Lvbvi Avq `y eQi Av‡Mi 12,000 UvKv
_v‡Kb|
†_‡K mgx¶vKv‡j (2003) 17,000 UvKvq
`uvwo‡q‡Q| wewfbœ cÖwk¶‡Yi d‡j e¨qmvkªqx N. `„wófw½ e`‡j‡Q| ÒmiKv‡ii Kv‡Q
c×wZ Pvwl‡`i A‡bK LiP euvwP‡q‡Q| †hgb, Avcbv‡`i cÖ_g I cÖavb `vwe Kx?Ó-- G cÖ‡kœi
cÖwZ weNvq 1 nvRvi 460 UvKv LiP n‡Zv exR, Dˇi 75% e‡j‡Qb mgqg‡Zv DbœZ exR
mvi I Ilya µ‡q| GLb LiP n‡”Q 780 UvKv| mieiv‡ni K_v| e‡j‡Qb `y eQi Av‡M n‡j
Zvi KviY cÖwk¶‡Yi Av‡M Zviv e¨envi Ki‡Zb PvB‡Zb kvwo wKsev N‡ii Rb¨ wUb| Ò†cUªv
10 †KwR/weNv, GLv‡b 5 †KwR/weNv| †Zgwb KZKvj exR, mvi I KxUbvk‡K fZz©wK †`‡e?Ó
AwZwi³ e¨envi Ki‡Zb mvi, †mP I Ilya| GB -- G cÖ‡kœi Dˇi AwaKvsk e‡j‡Qb Zviv
Avq e„w× I e¨q n«v‡mi cÖfve c‡o Rwgewnf©~Z mvnvh¨ Pvb bv, mn‡hvwMZv Pvb| iv¯—v-NvU,
m¤ú` mwbœ‡ek‡b| Zv‡`i g‡a¨ 75% ¯‹zj-K‡jR GLb cÖv‡Yi `vwe-- `y eQi Av‡M Zv
Rvwb‡q‡Qb, MZ `y eQ‡i M„n¯’vwj‡Z m¤ú` †hvM wQj bv|
K‡i‡Qb, †hgb cv¤ú †gwkb, wUDeI‡qj,
O. cÖwZ‡ewkZ¡ cÖfve : †bBeviûW B‡d±m ev
B‡jKUªwbK mvgMÖx, N‡ii wUb, Mi“, nuvm-gyiwM
cÖwZ‡ewkZ¡ cÖfve m¤ú‡K© M‡elKiv e‡j‡Qb,
BZ¨vw`| GLb Lv`¨NvUwZ gvÎ 1-2 gv‡mi|
wm×vš— MÖn‡Y e¨w³i Ici cÖwZ‡ekxi cÖfve
†fvMweb¨v‡m cwieZ©b G‡m‡Q| ÒAv‡Mi †_‡K
cÖKU| evsjv‡`‡k DbœZ av‡bi RvZ cwiMÖn‡Y
Anb fv‡jv LvBÓ e‡j Rvwb‡q‡Qb| me‡P‡q
cÖwZ‡ewk‡Z¡i cÖfve D‡j-L‡hvM¨| wdwjcvB‡b
¸i“Z¡c~Y© Drcv`‡bi Aw¯’iZv I IVvbvgv
K…lK‡`i gv‡S evRviRvZKiY cÖwµqvq
A‡bKvs‡k n«vm †c‡q‡Q e‡j Rvwb‡q‡Qb|
cÖwZ‡ewk‡Z¡i cÖfve i‡q‡Q| eZ©gvb †cUªv Dc-
†Kv‡bv †Kv‡bv RvqMvi (†hgb KvjxMÄ) Pvwliv
cÖK‡íI cÖwZ‡ewkZ¡ cÖfve †ek cÖKU e‡j
Rvwb‡q‡Qb, †cUªv Dc-cÖK‡íi cÖwk¶‡Yi ci
g‡b nq| †cUªv Dc-cÖK‡íi AskMÖnYKvix
Zviv ÔRb wewµÕ Kwg‡q w`‡q‡Qb, KviY wb‡Ri
Pvwliv Rvwb‡q‡Qb, Zv‡`i †`Lv‡`wL
Rwg‡Z g‡bv‡hvM w`‡q Pvl Ki‡j †h cÖvwß Zv
cÖwZ‡ekxivI DbœZ Pvlvev‡`i Kjv‡KŠkj †R‡b
ÔRb wewµiÕ †P‡q Kg bq| Ab¨vb¨ A‡j Rwg
wb‡q Pvlvev` K‡i‡Qb| `~i`~ivš— †_‡K exR
eM©v †bqvi cÖeYZv †e‡o‡Q Ges cwieZ©b N‡U‡Q
msMÖ‡ni Rb¨ †KD †KD Avm‡Qb| Dc-cÖK‡í
eM©v k‡Z©i|
AskMÖnY K‡ibwb, Ggb Pvwli m‡½ Avjvc K‡i
Rvbv hvq, ZvivI DcK…Z n‡”Qb|
Qq. A-A_©‰bwZK cÖfve
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N‡U‡Q| gvV ¯‹zj, bZzb Rv‡Zi avb, Drcv`b †cUªv Dc-cÖKí¸‡jv ev¯—evqb †k‡l Avkv
c×wZ, gvwU I jeYv³Zv cix¶v BZ¨vw` wel‡q Kiv hvq :
MZ `y eQ‡i Zviv †ek Ávb AR©b K‡i‡Qb
K. Lv`¨ Drcv`b e„w× cv‡e;

3
Newspaper
article no. 4.11
avb M‡elYv I Ôm¤ú`-`wi`ªÕ GKwU ågYe„Ëvš—

L. `vwi‡`ª¨i AvcZb n«vm cv‡e Ges DbœZ Pvj I ˆeivMx, wKmgZ dzjZjv MÖvg)
kvKmewR ißvwb K‡i ˆe‡`wkK gy`ªv AR©b/mvkªq 3. Òwk¶v wb‡j wf¶v jv‡M bv|Ó (Rbbx ms¯‹vi
m¤¢eci n‡e| gwnjv Pvwl, VvKziMuvI)
AvU. 4. ÒGLb ¯^v¯’¨ fv‡jv n‡e, KviY Ilya Kg
wQUvB‡Z nq|Ó (nv‡Riv †eMg, DËiY,
Av‡M D‡j-L K‡iwQ, eZ©gvb wbeÜwU iwPZ n‡q‡Q †`Dwbcvov)
†jL‡Ki wewfbœ †cUªv Dc-cÖKí cwi`k©bKv‡j
mswk-ó Pvwl‡`i m‡½ Avjvc Av‡jvPbvi gva¨‡g| 5. Ò`vwi`ª¨ †m †h AÜ Ges A¶g| Avgiv Mwie
G †`‡ki m¤ú`-`wi`ª RbMY †h gb I bv, ej‡Z cv‡ib NvUwZ Pvwl| Mwie KB‡j `ytL
gvbwmKZvi w`K †_‡K KZ DbœZ, Zv wb‡Pi cvB|Ó (wb‡Kk, fviwfiv MÖvg)
K‡qKwU e³e¨ †_‡KB †evSv hvq| 6. ÒMwi‡ei cqmv bvB, wKš‘ ¯^v` Avn¬v`I
1. ÒGKRb wel LvB‡j GKR‡b g‡i, GKRb bvB?Ó (†gŠjfxevRv‡ii K…lKMY) BZ¨vw`
exR LvB‡j N‡ii mevB g‡i|Ó (Av‡qkv †eMg, BZ¨vw`|
K…òbMi, nweMÄ)
2. Òmvnvh¨ PvB bv, mn‡hvwMZv PvB|Ó (`yjvj

Suggested citation:
Bayes, A. 2007. Dhan gobeshona o 'sampad-daridro' ekti brhomon britanto (Rice research and the 'resource-
poor' - a travelogue). Reprinted from Bhorer Kagoj (Bangla daily), September 12, 2003. In: Magor, N. P.,
Salahuddin, A., Haque, M., Biswas T. K. and Bannerman, M., editors. PETRRA - an experiment in pro-poor
agricultural research. Newspaper reprint no. 4.11. Dhaka (Bangladesh): Poverty Elimination Through Rice
Research Assistance Project, International Rice Research Institute. 4 p.
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