Seminar on “Transforming Conventional Agriculture to Smart Agriculture: the way forward”

The agriculture sector is one of the key economic pillars of Bangladesh. Agriculture has always played a critical role in the economic development of Bangladesh, contributing to the livelihoods of millions of people in the country. However, the sector has been facing various challenges, including food insecurity, low productivity, land degradation, and climate change impacts. Smart agriculture, also known as precision agriculture or digital agriculture, offers a promising solution to these challenges. Smart agriculture is an approach that utilizes technology and innovative practices to improve productivity, increase efficiency, and reduce environmental impact. It encompasses a range of activities, from soil and water management to crop selection and monitoring, and relies on data-driven decision-making.


In recent years, there has been a growing interest in smart agriculture practices including Crop, Livestock, Fisheries in Bangladesh. Several initiatives and pilot projects have been implemented in the country to demonstrate the potential of smart agriculture in increasing productivity, improving food security, and mitigating the impacts of climate change. However, there is still much work to be done to scale up these practices and ensure their widespread adoption across the agriculture sector. In this regard, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry organized a Seminar titled “Transforming Conventional Agriculture to Smart Agriculture: the way forward” on Wednesday, April 12, 2023 at Renaissance Dhaka Gulshan Hotel. Barrister Md. Sameer Sattar, President, DCCI moderated the seminar after delivering his welcome remarks. Dr. Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, Hon’ble Minister for Agriculture, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh graced the occasion as the chief guest. Mr. Md. Shamsul Arefin, Secretary, ICT Division, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh was present at the seminar as the Special Guest while Mr. Domenico Scalpelli, WFP’s Country Representative and FAO’s acting Country Representative in Bangladesh was present at the seminar as the Guest of Honor.


The keynote was presented in the seminar by Emeritus Professor Dr. MA Sattar Mandal, former Vice-Chancellor of Bangladesh Agricultural University.


Summary of Recommendations

·         Precision agriculture to maximise benefits in the context of growing population and climate change adopting 4.0 support intelligent systems in all spheres of farming, harvesting, irrigation.

·         Using Blockchain to create a digital and verified identity of the farmers and AI-based predictive modelling of prices, market arrivals, local consumption and export potentials.

·         Low-cost technology adoption fund generation and financing for farmers through fintech.

·         Post- Harvest Loss reduction needs climate friendly storage, packaging, logistics, skills and capacity building.

·         Post- Harvest Loss Management involves huge investment where financial institutions have a big role to play.

·         In Bangladesh, cold storage facilities are yet to fully develop in the private sector.

·         Need to get the private sector as the key players- manufacturing, import, distribution and R&D for smart technologies.

·         Need to emphasize on consolidate backward linkages linking rural entrepreneurs with the agricultural service markets.

·         Need to strengthen forward linkages connecting small farmers’ production with emerging agro-processing and food industries (e.g. PRAN, ACI- Agro, Square).

·         Need to introduce smart agriculture in haor, hill, Barind, coastal region.

·         We should exploit marine fisheries using smart technology.

·         Need to strengthen R&D for smart agriculture: public- private partnership as well as public- public partnership. Especially, private sector R&D for SA needs gearing up.

·         Reforming policies (e.g. seed policy, animal breed/ siemen import, subsidies).

·         Rationalizing fiscal measures (e.g. machinery import duties/ VAT).

·         Updating formal permission system for import, distribution and use of automated/ precision equipment (AI, agricultural drone etc.).

·         Arrangement of easy access to bank financing for smart agriculture.

·         To feed 170 million people, Bangladesh has to increase production in crops and livestock farming.

·         Most importantly, the government must make certain hard choices to drive the country ahead and begin thinking about value-added agriculture plans. With the support of the government, entrepreneurship for smart agriculture should emerge from the villages. If they become more entrepreneurial, smart agriculture may flourish in no time.

·         Together, the private sector, farmers and the government can create a magnificent Bangladesh and make the smart agricultural concept a reality.

·         The participation of the business sector in all facets of Smart Agriculture is very much desired.

Published on: 2023-04-23

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