BANGLADESH: IMPROVED AGRICULTURE MARKETING INFORMATION EMPOWERS FARMERS
The need for marketing information
Agricultural marketing information can play an important role in improving food marketing systems and promoting food security. The market information service operated by the Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM) was designed primarily to fulfill food security functions but had little information of commercial value for farmers.
Emphasis on market intelligence.....
A TCP project was launched in 2002 with a budget of US$256 500 to improve the existing system and provide timely and accurate information to traders and farmers and reliable data to policy-makers.
Through the project, which ended in 2003, price collection was carried out in sixteen markets in ten districts; DAM staff were trained in market information concepts, data collection and processing and report preparation; training materials were prepared in the local language; and a system of data transmission by e-mail was developed. In October 2003, national Radio Bangladesh began broadcasting prices of cereals, pulses, vegetables, spices and fish three times a week. In December 2003, a web site providing daily price information concerning the pilot markets was formally launched by the Minister of Agriculture. For the first time, price and other related marketing information is being disseminated through the internet.
..... the key to poverty reduction
The improved system gives farmers accurate knowledge of price movements and enables them to identify trading opportunities in markets in short supply. Farmers can make more informed decisions and in this way maximize their returns and minimize post-harvest losses due to overproduction of certain crops.
The market information system is to be expanded to an additional 20 districts through a special programme funded by the Government. In addition, the DAM structure is being strengthened through an emphasis on market intelligence, which is now included in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and Action Plan. Several development projects, including the ADB-North West Crop Diversification Programme, have built on the work carried out under this project.
Farmers can make more informed decisions through improved agricultural marketing information.