TAFSSA's market linkage initiative in Rangpur's char areas unlocks groundnut cultivation potential
Photo: Ground nut market linkage meeting. Photo credit: Maruf Hossain
Groundnut, a versatile and nutritious legume, has enormous potential to improve farmer livelihoods in Bangladesh, particularly in the char areas of the Rangpur region. As consumption has steadily increased, groundnut has evolved into a cash crop, providing a valuable source of income and sustenance for local growers. However, the path to reaching its full potential has not been without challenges.
Groundnut: a nutritional powerhouse with environmental benefits
Groundnut, an oil crop, is a low-impact crop to cultivate. It requires few inputs, making it an excellent choice for farmers on char lands. In addition to vegetable protein, the crop contains essential nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, vitamin E and various B vitamins, including folate, or folic acid.
Difficulties in cultivating groundnut: demand vs. price
During the kharif-1 season (February to June), groundnut cultivation has become established in the Rangpur region, covering an impressive 4,400 hectares. However, the total cultivable char area in the region is a massive 78,186 hectares, offering enormous potential for expansion of its cultivation. During the Transforming Agrifood Systems in South Asia (TAFSSA) Farmers Field Day in May 2023, farmers acknowledged that groundnut is the most cultivated crop in this area during kharif-1, and while demand is high, prices are relatively low (BDT 75–BDT 85/kg (less than $1) up to two to three months after harvesting). They also talked about market demand and linkage issues.
TAFSSA intervenes: bridging the gap
Despite its potential, the success of groundnut is hampered by a lack of quality seed, limited access to modern cultivation knowledge, inadequate storage facilities, and reliance on traditional market systems. This is where the Transforming Agrifood Systems in South Asia (TAFSSA) initiative comes in. TAFSSA recognized the untapped potential of groundnut cultivation and began efforts to address the market constraints that Rangpur farmers were experiencing. It then embarked on a journey with Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) to develop an integrated groundnut business model.
TAFSSA’s market linkage program: transforming two challenges into an opportunity
While farmers in Rangpur face low market prices for their groundnuts harvested in June, in Sherpur, where the crop is grown from September to January, farmers struggle to source good quality seed. So TAFSSA and BARI organized a market linkage program that connected these two groups of farmers to each other, and both groups to groundnut traders. The primary goal was to establish a strong groundnut seed marketing channel that would ensure fair prices for Rangpur farmers and good quality seed for Sherpur farmers.
Farmers’ empowerment through knowledge
Because of lower yields caused by low-quality seed, farmers identified the need for training in groundnut production and preservation. At the linkage meeting organized by TAFSSA and BARI, Dr. Monzurul Kadir, Chief Scientific Officer, BARI, Jamalpur, acknowledged the contribution of IRRI and CIMMYT and emphasized the achievement of establishing this linkage. Dr. Kadir also spoke about groundnut production technology, highlighting the importance of calcium, gypsum application, disease management, and post-harvest processing.
Outcomes of the linkage meeting
The meeting successfully established a formal link between Rangpur groundnut farmers (seed producers) and lead farmers from the Sherpur district.
Farmers gained valuable knowledge about groundnut production technology, post-harvest processing, and seed preservation.
This event established a new groundnut seed marketing channel, which is expected to increase TAFSSA farmers’ income as they sell directly to other farmers.
TAFSSA’s unwavering dedication to empowering farmers and expanding groundnut cultivation has the potential to transform the lives of countless people in Bangladesh’s char areas. TAFSSA initiatives are paving the way for a brighter future in agriculture by addressing challenges faced by smallholder farming households, fostering knowledge exchange, and creating new market opportunities.
TAFSSA (Transforming Agrifood Systems in South Asia) is a CGIAR Regional Integrated Initiative to support actions that improve equitable access to sustainable healthy diets, improve farmers’ livelihoods and resilience, and conserve land, air, and water resources in South Asia.