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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

October 27, 2020

Bangladesh Minister of Agriculture and Other Speakers and Panelists Appreciate Mechanization Consortium Activities of the Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab

Submitted by Layne Wilson

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification (SIIL) hosted the Appropriate Scale Mechanization Consortium (ASMC) annual workshop in Bangladesh on September 23, 2020. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the workshop was held virtually. The ASMC, based and led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), in partnership with the Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) organized this annual workshop, “Appropriate Agricultural Machinery: A Key to Sustainable Food Security in Bangladesh.”

The UIUC and BAU have jointly implemented the Appropriate Scale Mechanization Innovation Hub (ASMIH)-Bangladesh research project through the SIIL and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The Chief guest was Honorable Minister of Agriculture, Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, Member of Parliament, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Razzaque is one of the forefront visionary leaders of smart agriculture and agricultural mechanization for sustainable food security in Bangladesh. Other speakers of the inaugural session of the workshop included Lutful Hassan, Vice Chancellor of BAU as the Chief Patron; P.V. Vara Prasad, Director of the SIIL at Kansas State University (KSU) as the Special Guest; and Prasanta Kalita, Director of ASMC at UIUC; as the session Chair. Md. Monjural Alam, Project Director of ASMIH-Bangladesh and Professor at BAU, presented their achievements, and Chayan Kumar Saha, Professor at BAU, facilitated the annual workshop.

Razzaque stressed the necessity of agriculture machinery to aid in harvest. This is because of a variety of factors — including, though not limited to, increases in production cost, geographical effects on crop yields and labor crises.

“Our government is emphasizing on mechanization,” Razzaque said. “We have been giving incentives to farmers for adapting agricultural machines, which will help them to increase production, to move from traditional agriculture to modern agriculture.”

Prasad said the Bangladesh government has great potential for leadership in multiple areas of agricultural science and technology. Particularly, he said, they have potential in the areas of natural resource management, adaptation to climate change, diversification and mechanization.

“There are several Government programs targeted directly toward the welfare of farmers,” Prasad said. “This is commendable and noteworthy as this speaks directly to the leadership and commitment of the honorable Minister of Agriculture and the Government of Bangladesh. Strong and sustained support from the Government and private sector is key to success for agricultural programs.” He further appreciated the current and past leadership of the ASMC and specially thanked the ASMIH-Bangladesh lead investigators, students, all partners, participating farmers and private sector agencies for their hard work, commitment and support.

The inaugural session was followed by a discussion of the main theme of the workshop, “Appropriate Scale Mechanization: A Key to Sustainable Food Security in Bangladesh.” This session involved several distinguished panelists from Bangladesh.

“It is fantastic to see a collaboration like this for the ASMIH-Bangladesh project,” Kalita said. “And it only happens because of people who care about our farmers, food sufficiency and nutrition for the people who are working every day — who don’t have enough food to eat.”

To view the full recording of this workshop, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygmIfb49_yQ&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3FsIcDmFlLaIe1ac4RVKBiGsjDhM8_7agePNaDt2_2THu31sIjtNKKJIQ.

About ASMC and ASMIH-Bangladesh

The ASMC was established by the SIIL at UIUC. The ASMC intends to introduce multifunctional and modular mechanized technologies that are technically, environmentally and economically appropriate for use by smallholder farmers in four countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso. In line with the ASMC goals and objectives, the projects in ASMIH-Bangladesh were established for overcoming challenges in the southern delta of Bangladesh. The overall objective of the ASMI-Bangladesh project is to ensure food security by using appropriate equipment to save time, labor, and money and increase efficiency by using agricultural machinery as per the demand through research for the development of agriculture in Bangladesh. Engagement with private sector and working with farmers is a key component of activities.

About the Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification (SIIL) was established in 2014 at KSU as part of the United States’ Government global hunger and food security initiative Feed the Future, addressing the root causes of poverty, hunger and malnutrition through innovations in agriculture practices. The lab operates in several focus countries in Southeast Asia and Africa. The vision of the SIIL is to become the global leader in interdisciplinary research, knowledge sharing and capacity building on sustainable intensification by working hard to reduce global hunger and poverty and improving the nutrition of smallholder farmers.

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To stay up to date about the SIIL, follow along on:
• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/siilksu
• Twitter: https://twitter.com/SIIL_KSU
• Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/siil_ksu/

For more information, please contact Layne Wilson at laynewilson@ksu.edu.