Pilot Implementation of Farmbook in Bangladesh

The purpose of this proposal is to conduct a pilot of Farmbook and marketing learning modules to the extension environment in Bangladesh. 

Goal

To increase the quality of agricultural extension services and specifically to build capacity of extension officers to support the business planning of target farmers.

Brief on Farmbook

Farmbook is a field based application that the CRS agriculture team developed to enable field agents to help farmers plan their farm businesses more effectively and evaluate their productivity and profitability.  The system has also been developed as a means of helping to manage field agents, and support the needs of remote field agents to be able to share their data with project managers. Farmbook will provide farmers with access to a business planning process, that is focused on their product and market opportunity.  It provides customized business information, rather than general market information. 

Background

For most farmers and many agricultural field agents business development is a challenge. Smallholder farmers usually do not keep records of their farming activities and expenses.  On the other hand, most field agents have not received any formal education in business management and therefore they rarely have the capacity to help farmers to plan their enterprises. The focus therefore remains on productivity enhancement. However, for development processes and upgrading strategies to work successfully in a business environment, more attention needs to be given to monitoring the profits that different types of farmers gain from using technologies and linking to markets. In Bangladesh, BIID introduced Farmbook in collaboration with CRS and a local version has already been developed which needs to be tested at field level. The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) is supporting BIID to test the solution at field through its extension officers.

Scope of the work

In this project, BIID team will mobilize farmers and form farmer groups. BIID team will also select extension agents and provide training to a cadre of management and field staff. This cadre will then implement Farmbook service in the 20 selected locations. This training project will support a team of Sub Assistant Agricultural Officer (SAAO) / Business Promoters / Entrepreneurs who will be assigned for the Farmbook business service delivery. Through the network of trainers and field staff, the project will develop approximately 200 business plans. 40 field demonstrations will be carried out and a report incorporating 5 case studies will be generated at the end of the project duration. The BIID team will be responsible for localization and customization of local language training materials and background database of the software.

Timeframe

The duration of the project will be 6 months. This time will be required to provide the necessary training, deploy the service and then gather information and its impact before scaling up.

Activities

1.      Conduct training of the extension officers and Farmer Group formation

2.      Organize group meeting and build awareness among farmers on using business planning in their farming activities

3.      Upload Business Plan in the Farmbook System to securely store BIID project business data in a database segment accessible only to authorized BIID users.

4.      Translate the “7 steps of Marketing” into Bengali and ensure distance learning platform to provide access to the extension officers.

5.      Develop a case study in Bengali, providing information on a locally known crop to use within the training materials.

6.      Implement Farmbook in 20 locations for 6 months

7.      Partnership building and advocacy workshop with stakeholders at district level

Deliverables

·         List of farmers and beneficiaries and farmer groups

·         Training session for extension agents, youth entrepreneurs and managers

·         Communication plan and tools /materials

·         200 business plans in 20 locations

·         40 field demonstrations

·         Report with impact assessment and 5 cases

·         On-going support for and maintenance of the Farmbook System

 

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