Gap between Plan and Practice

I found a dashboard of an agro-meteorological information system during the trip to the 16 unions of Patuakhli and Gaibandha districts last September to conduct disaster and climate readiness assessment with team CPE. Logo of the World Bank was placed on the dashboard. It means the project was implemented with the financial support of the World Bank. But the dashboards were a useless item hanged to the wall of the Union Parishad Offices. There is no updated information on the `information board– captioned news on Rajshahi District published in the Daily Prothom Alo on 13 November 2022, also found online. Seeing and reading such an example of wastage of lending money, feel pained. 

Bangladesh can increase its crop production by at least 7.0 per cent through using weather forecast, the farmers can raise their income by at least 30 per cent by using weather forecast in this direction. Considering a very limited land area of the country, the government to act properly to ensure that the peasantry get weather forecast easily. Unfortunately, the usual weather forecast for farmers in Bangladesh is very low as only 5.0 per cent farmers generally use weather forecast during farming. And the rest 95 per cent are totally unaware of such forecast made by different government agencies.
– Dr Nazmun Nahar Karim to the Financial Express

The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) implemented the project in 2017, reviewing the online documents it was known. A huge research paper on the importance of agro-meteorological information was also found online. Got a presentation from the department of agricultural extension (DAE) on agro-meteorological systems on Google. There are huge pieces of research papers, I think. But in practice, it is found, these are useless and a waste of money. 

According to the information of the Rajshahi Agricultural Extension Department, these boards have been installed through the Agriculture Meteorological Information System Improvement Project by the Bangladesh Agricultural Extension Department. The project started in July 2016 and ended in June 2021. Under the project, a total of 73 Agricultural Meteorological Boards were installed in Rajshahi’s 72 Unions and Agriculture Extension Directorate.
This initiative is mainly taken to reach the farmers with high quality and reliable information about the weather and the overall condition of the rivers. At the same time, this project was implemented with the aim of increasing the capacity of DA in using advanced methods of data collection.
It has been seen on the grounds that the Agricultural Meteorological Information System Improvement Project is supposed to make agricultural meteorological advisory services available to farmers and all those related to agriculture in order to increase agricultural production, but in reality it has not happened. This project has been completed with only one board installed. Somewhere the boards are already broken. Which is again wasted.
55 Union Parishads of Rajshahi have been visited. Out of 55 Union Parishads, only 10 unions provide this information. The rest are blank. No information is provided on these. Birds and bees nested on some boards. Instead of providing information, these boards have now turned into garbage.
The Responsibility is over by hanging the weather message board, the information is not updated | 14 October 2022 | The Jagonews24.com

​Discussing the availability of meteorological information on FGDs to conduct disaster and climate readiness assessment, the respondents from 16 union parishads have given the same opinion that there isn’t any system to provide them with meteorological information; few have said they got information from the government (early warning system); a samll segment said, they get mobile message. Nobody mentions the dashboard of the agro-meteorological system launched by the agricultural extension department.

Assistant Agriculture Officers are supposed to update this information. New projects are in the works to automatically update information. if the new project is approved, the union councils will also work.
– Mr. Shah Kamal, Project Director, Agro-meteorological information system project.

We must re-think about these differences between research, project planning and action to provide the maximum benefits to the stakeholders and minimum uses of investing money.   

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