12 March, 2023
What is Smart Bangladesh really?
What was a dream on March 7, 1971—Independent Bangladesh—became a reality on December 16, 1971....
Date: 27 March, 2023
Reading Time: 5 Minutes
a2i catalyses experimentation and public-private partnerships applying a gender lens to unlock new services and untapped financial opportunities for Bangladeshi farmers.
Bangladesh is a thumbprint of a country geographically with the 8 th largest population in the world. A growing population with a density of close to 1,300 per km 2 means the land available for the country to feed itself is decreasing rapidly.
However, the foundation of Bangladesh’s success as a nation and an economy is the fact that it has managed to increase agricultural productivity at an astonishing 3.54 percent per year in the last two decades (1999-2019). The sector is at the centre of the Bangladeshi economy accounting for approximately 14% of the country’s GDP, decreasing poverty, ensuring food security and remains the main source of employment providing livelihood to 41 percent of the labour force.
If Bangladesh is to continue its progress towards achieving the SDGs, particularly in the face of the adverse effects of climate change, the country will need to leverage cutting edge technology and data to address issues including access to finance, weather/soil and inputs information, market intelligence, and capacity for data-driven, Smart Agriculture.
by Anir Chowdhury
Speaking at a World Economic Forum session on 4IR in agriculture, I spotlighted how 4IR has been prioritized by the cabinet ministry of Bangladesh and every ministry has been instructed to start incorporating 4IR technologies in their work with a view to establishing a developed country by 2041.
4IR potentially brings in an unprecedented set of actors together: the usual aspects in agriculture such as farmers, farmers cooperatives, input suppliers, market linkage companies, extension workers, policy makers, research labs, agri universities, banks and lenders and a new
set of actors: software companies, hardware companies for IoT devices and drones, data companies such as Telco’s, satellite companies, and many others.
Agriculture accounts for around 14% of Bangladesh’s GDP and employs about 41% of the country’s total labor force. The agriculture sector of Bangladesh comprises mostly of marginal producers who work on their own initiative on small plots of land. So, agriculture has not yet
become an industry which means low productivity and high cultivation costs.
Due to a lack of knowledge and information, farmers cultivate based on their ideas without observing soil and weather forecast. On top of that, people involved in agriculture are less educated, and they don’t have the capacity to understand modern data-driven agriculture.
In the Bangladeshi agri sector, many different gaps exist: access to market intelligence, access to finance, access to weather/soil and inputs information. So, any gap filling in reality creates new services and contributes to financial sustainability of 4IR initiatives.
The reality in this region is that 70% of the farmers are smallholders and unbanked. Access to finance is often costly for farmers. Peer-to-Peer lending platforms and crowd funding platforms can offer low cost financing opportunities for farmers.
Cutting edge technology like blockchain can create a digital and verified identity of the farmers along with their credit and transactional history in a distributed network and accessible by relevant actors such as banks and insurance companies. There can be AI-based predictive
modelling of prices, market arrivals, local consumption and export potential.
So, a lot of new services and hence a lot of untapped financial opportunities for old and new actors and farmers.
Based on a2i’s experience in Bangladesh, we recommend 3 stages of financial sustainability:
The first stage has to be funded by the govt, large input suppliers and large data and tech companies through creative public private partnerships.
The second stage will bring in thousands of farmers cooperatives who will start paying for these new services.
The third stage will bring in millions of individual farmers who will start understanding the value of these services which will become micro services within the affordability of the small farmers.
But for now, we have to prepare for a lot of experimentation and public private partnerships.
Bangladesh is an agri-centric country with limitless potential and opportunity. The emergence of Digital Bangladesh from 2008 to 2021 has started the momentum of an optimized agricultural ecosystem. Since its emergence, the total market size of the agriculture sector has grown from 34.9 million dollars to 47.5 million dollars in the time period of 2016 to 2021. According to FAO, 48.4% of the entire population is employed in this sector, with 70% of land dedicated to agricultural purposes. The momentum of the optimized ecosystem started by the Digital Bangladesh initiative will now be accelerated by Smart Agriculture vision 2041. Thus, nurturing the agriculture sector in a precise way has become crucial for Bangladesh to hold on to the momentum. Agriculture is considered one of the main consumers of water in Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, irrigation is an effective and important factor for the agriculture sector and plays a key role in ensuring food security and enhancing crop production. However, overuse of such methods can become a challenge for Bangladesh to enhance crop production in the long run. Too much stress in the groundwater system can potentially speed up the spread and severity of dangerous contamination. In addition, overuse of water can reduce the crops’ growth sustainability and increase overall operational costs. Hence, the precise use of irrigation water is important to play a role in increasing agricultural production.
Precise water management in agricultural production can produce higher yields. Therefore, the farmers require advanced technology to manage their crops with appropriate levels of water irrigation. IoT-based smart meter/switch for irrigation pumps is a potential solution for farmers to reduce their operational costs and increase crop production.
The smart irrigation pump monitors the sensor data to control the water pump automatically. The sensors measure the environmental factors(i.e. temperature, humidity, and soil moisture)to estimate the time for water irrigation. Machine learning algorithm plays an important role as well to support the decision of automatic control of IoT-based irrigation systems, managing water absorption effectively.
The implementation of the IoT-based smart meter/switch for the irrigation pump will enable a farmer to adopt precise farming and reduce the overall operational cost and produce more crops. In addition, the use of this given solution will ensure that irrigation efficiency to raise to 50 percent from 38 percent by 2030. Benefits for farmers from IoT-based smart meter/switch for irrigation pumps
• The farmers will be able to save 50% of water usage with the smart irrigation pump
• The farmers will be able to save a significant amount of money on water and electricity bills
• The farmers will be able to increase crop production with the proper water management through a smart irrigation pump
The preservation of soil health is a key driver behind the acceleration of agricultural productivity. Maintaining food security issues and environmental sustainability in the agriculture system requires an approach that holds the potential to catalyze crop production while mitigating the degradation of soil health and nutrients. Soil health status and agricultural productivity in Bangladesh vary significantly because individual farmers have small pieces of land causing variation in the management of each fragmented land. As a result, this leads to large variation in fertility levels and degrade soil health. Most of the soil in Bangladesh is in urgent need of replenishment with proper fertilizers and irrigation management if productivity has to be increased. Intensive pressure on cropping to increase productivity accelerates changes, which also depletes soil fertility and as a result, the degradation of the physical and chemical properties of soil takes place. Therefore, effective suggestions and data-driven management are necessary in order to keep soil nutrients and moisture in balance to preserve soil health.
The solution proposes the use of IoT-enabled handheld devices to monitor the soil condition of farming land, where a farmer can easily know the need for irrigation or fertilizer usage in his field and show recommendations accordingly. This solution focuses on the affordability and user-friendliness of the device for the farmers. The solution will integrate crop data, weather data, soil data, etc. from relevant government and private stakeholders. Afterward, the analysis of all the required integrated data will recommend farmers based on the
soil health status. The recommendation system will be integrated into the device and function as an intelligent recommendation system for individual crops based on local agricultural knowledge. Once the data will be collected by the sensors, the system will analyze it to make an appropriate recommendation regarding irrigation and fertilizer usage.
The implementation of the proposed solution will provide farmers with the health readings of the soil. It will help farmers to facilitate the systematic assessment of soil conditions and act accordingly. As a result, the average crop production may increase significantly. According to sources, around 2 million metric tons of nutrients are removed from Bangladesh per year. Hence, land degradation due to nutrient removal causes 3 percent of crop output reduction or 1 percent of crop GDP reduction. So, the device will assist the farmers by recommending precise suggestions and prevent productivity or crop GDP reduction.
Benefits for Farmers from IoT-based Decision-making of Irrigation and Fertilizer Management
(An AI-based crop-disease suggestion, and solutions dissemination platform)
In the year of 2014, the idea of Krishoker Janala was developed by an upazila agricultural officer, Abdul Malek, who resides in Mymensing, Fulbaria Upazila. The idea was generated through the Empathy training designed by a2i and guided by the Cabinet Division and Prime Minister’s Office. Afterward, the idea was designed and structured by a2i and 15 lac taka was financed by a2i under the Service Innovation Fund (SIF). The app got the WSIS award in 2016 and Manthan (Asia) award in 2017. After the full development of the app, it was scaled by DAE in 2017. Until now, the app was downloaded by 150k users.
A study revealed that from extension service providers, 80% of Bangladeshi farmers typically seek information on pest management and disease prevention. However, due to the existence of a communication gap between the farmers and the extension agent, sometimes problems are identified in the wrong ways and inappropriate suggestions are provided to the farmers (Effectiveness of Krisoker Janala in Disseminating Agricultural Information: An Innovative Tool, January 2019). As a result, a farmer face problems with accessing the right suggestion and fails to achieve maximum yield.
Krishoker Janala v.1
Krishoker Janala v.1 is an information repository of multiple images (manually taken) of farmers’ 120 crop related data, problems (diseases, pests, fertilizer deficiency issues, etc.), and associated solutions. Here the user can easily identify any crop problem by looking at the image and the solution to the problem is visible by clicking on the identified image. The app was used by extension officers in reducing the time, cost, and frequent visits of the farmer in providing the service and increasing the quality of the service. According to research by a2i, the average time needed for acquiring agricultural services is thus reduced by up to 68% through this new resource. Similarly, average costs are reduced by up to 96%, when compared to the previous procedure. 66% of service recipients have been satisfied with the present procedure, and 30% have been very satisfied. The remaining 4% of respondents have been moderately satisfied (South-South Galaxy).
Krishoker Janala v.2
a2i now proposes to upgrade Krishoker Janala v.1 in a more human-centric way by holding onto farmers, agriculture extension officers, and other stakeholders’ requirement criteria. Krishoker Janala v.2 will first identify 9 crop-related suggestions, challenges, and solutions by clicking on the identified image and let the user communicate with the system seamlessly through voice automation and AI. Afterward, the model will incorporate the rest of the crop-related suggestions, challenges, and solutions. The upgradation will be a machine learning system to provide more immediate and accurate solutions for the users. Different dimensional of crop datasets like crop diseases, crop production, pesticides, etc., will be fed into the database to improve accuracy. For the inflow of datasets, a2i will use a crowdsourcing process for data collection from the farmers’ community.
Benefits for Farmers and Extension force from Krishoker Janala v.2
o Farmers will be able to identify crop diseases easily
o Farmers will be able to use a Precise amount of fertilizer
o Farmers will be able to use effective methods for pest prevention
o Farmers and extension agents will be able to access all the existing crops related diseases, solutions, and suggestions
o Reduced TCV (Time, Cost, and Visit) for farmers and extension agent
o The intervention of AI will give updated information to the extension force about pesticides, crop diseases, etc. from a single source
Bangladesh is home to 16.5 million farmer families, with nearly 6.8 million farmers cultivating other people’s land (BBS Agri Census 2019). Regarding employment generation, agriculture has consistently been the largest contributor to all the sectors in Bangladesh. About 40 percent of the population is employed in this sector, and about 60 percent of people depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Currently, 37.2% of the population is under financial coverage in the agriculture sector. Over the years, Bangladesh’s transformation in the agriculture sector was exemplary. However, despite the constant development, the agriculture sector is still performing well below its potential. Bottlenecks like low production, post-harvest loss, low innovation of agricultural devices, inadequate supply of agricultural inputs like fertilizers and seeds, discriminatory prices, lack of real-time data-driven responsiveness information, lagging technology adoption, etc prevent the agriculture sector to emerge to the peak. Moreover, Climatic disaster is a large issue that Bangladesh faces, as it ranks seventh on the list of countries most vulnerable to climate devastation, according to Germanwatch’s 2021 Global Climate Risk Index. Bangladesh has suffered economic losses worth $3.72 billion and witnessed 185 extreme weather events due to climate change, it incurred Tk3.5 billion (US$34.4 million) worth of agricultural losses from Cyclone Sitrang alone. Worsening weather events cause river erosion, flooding, and intrusion of salinity into the land, and the rise of sea levels and rainfall variability have considerable impacts on the country’s agricultural production.
The adoption of technological innovation in the agricultural sector of Bangladesh is poor compared to other developing nations. Lack of e-literacy in using mobile-based apps by farmers is a bottleneck to developing informed and smart farmers. As a result, these challenges are accelerating major issues like food insecurity in a developing country like Bangladesh where 16 crores of the population are needed to be fed continuously. Therefore, it is pertinent for Bangladesh to develop smart agriculture climate within the country’s sector, as it contributes 12.91% to the Bangladeshi GDP while accounting for 42.7% of the labor force occupation.
Specific Problems to Address
Smart agriculture interventions can play a key role in increasing productivity, accessibility, and quality of agricultural products along with uplifting farmers’ living standards. a2i has been associated with the Smart Bangladesh Vision 2041 since its emergence. Smart Bangladesh is about being inclusive, about the people, the citizens of Bangladesh, built on the 4 pillars: Smart Citizens, Smart Government, Smart Economy, and Smart Society. Smart Agriculture is one of the key pillars and with respect to it, a2i has set specific milestones which align with the Smart Agriculture vision. The milestones under the Smart Agriculture initiative are listed below:
In the last decade, the digitization of agriculture systems in Bangladesh has created a large database of public and private agriculture stakeholders bringing significant benefits to both providers and farmers but still falling short of the desired outcomes. The primary reason for this is that Bangladesh’s digital agriculture ecosystem is functioning in silos. Farmers have to repeatedly provide the same information to different public and private organizations and, as a result, it is impossible for the government and private stakeholders to build complementary services because the data functions in a fragmented approach. Overall, the missing architecture of the data-driven ecosystem is preventing the government of Bangladesh to enhance public sector intelligence, depleting the capabilities of
developing comprehensive policies, and effective services and enabling smart solutions. Also, the current architecture is already outdated not allowing the incorporation of new data sources.
With the recent government’s declaration of building Smart Bangladesh by 2041, integration of silos is a must, and when done properly, will allow much better access to information, access to finance, and access to markets in a seamless manner for farmers, extension workers, input suppliers, logistics providers, NGOs, fintech and e-commerce organizations. At the same time, this will allow the government to formulate evidence-based demand-driven policy responses to climate change issues.
The major elements of this initiative are:
Agri services will be designed according to the farmers’ and decision-makers’ requirement criteria emphasizing a reduction in time, cost, and a visit by the farmers, as well as dissemination of information catered for farmers’ needs such as accessing inputs (seeds, fertilizer, pesticide) with their just market price and nearest availability.
The primary services of the platform will be focused on the following:
Krishoker Janala v.2
Statistics show that 80 percent of farmers in Bangladesh lack knowledge of various agricultural-associated challenges. Most of the farmers are not aware of crop diseases and challenges, and hence, cannot explain their problems to the agriculture extension officers. As a result, a farmer’s face fails to achieve maximum yield due to not accessing the right information, guidance, and inputs. Therefore, a2i proposes to develop Krishoker Janala v.2. This platform will ensure a seamless journey for the farmers and extension officers to identify crop diseases easily and act accordingly. The app will let the user communicate with the system seamlessly through voice automation and AI. The app will be a machine learning system to provide more immediate and accurate solutions for the users. Different dimensional of crop datasets like crop diseases, crop production, pesticides, etc., will be fed into the database to improve accuracy.
Data-driven decision-making is pivotal to the agriculture sector from both farmers’ to policymakers’ perspectives. Different crops have a diverse variety of biodiversity. Farmers need granular data on rainfall patterns, water cycles, fertilizer requirements, and more because these metrics differ from one crop to another. Big Data Farming has
proven to be an interesting technique for gathering and analyzing agricultural data from sources such as social media, sensors, GPS, and other internet sources. Big Data farming is a highly automated operation that necessitates accurate production estimates and optimal resource management. The use of technology such as the internet of things (IoT), Big Data Farming, cloud computing, and analytics has enabled farmers to significantly enhance the entire process in real-time. Thus, a2i proposes to develop a multilayered dashboard for tracking and monitoring agriculture data to assist the policymakers in making data-driven decisions for the betterment of farmers in terms of allocating agriculture inputs like seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides along with managing resources.
Unfortunately, the inadequate presence of service delivery options, absence of Agro processing industries, poor business enabling environment, poor distance, and digital connectivity, and fragile market structure dominated by cartels of middlemen (Bepari) is hindering growth in the Agricultural sector in the marginalized area of Bangladesh. Farmers need a shortened and more efficient supply chain to reach their consumers living in densely populated cities in Bangladesh. An effective supply chain and standardization intervention in regard would benefit the farmers and the local economy tremendously. Interventions may be proposed using a fusion of innovative digital and physical solutions or individually. Proposed specific interventions in this regard are demonstrated below:
Under this proposed solution, a2i will develop a platform called ‘Food for Nation’ which can be used by everyone involved in the agricultural value chain, from farmers, agri-merchants, warehouse keepers, mokams, large super shops, and small retailers to consumers. Local market prices, starting from farmer prices, will be available so that everyone can easily understand the value addition in terms of supply and demand. Arrangements will be made so that all businesses related to agricultural supply (e.g., transportation, processing) can be easily associated with it. Proper use of digital media in financial transactions and business transactions will be ensured. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a pilot version of this platform was implemented and used for emergency situations. Through this digital platform, A2i hopes to integrate a national supply-chain solution network capitalizing on the lessons learned from the pilot intervention.
a2i proposes to address the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution in Bangladesh by establishing an emerging technology-driven 4ir lab focusing on the national farmers’ access to cutting-edge automated farming technologies,
techniques, and 4IR devices and transforming the overall agriculture sector of Bangladesh. All industry 4.0 (4IR) stakeholders must be connected to hasten the growth. Coupled with other 4IR actors, research institutions, universities, and academics will significantly enhance digitalization and agricultural innovation through continuous piloting. High-priority issues extracted from the field can be addressed, monitored, and mitigated. These challenges include livestock, fisheries, farming, traceability for farmers, risk mitigation for farmers, etc. Such initiatives include:
There are 64 agriculture research organizations that work in siloed nature and generate output individually. The nature of their functionality determines duplication of work and ineffective dissemination of output to farmers.
Through the establishment of i-lab: Center of Experience, a2i will ensure collaboration between the research organizations, startup-hub, the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), and farmers in order to ensure proper coordination of work among them and eradicate duplication of work. This network linkage will ensure the proper dissemination of research-driven solutions and create a pathway for emerging challenges back to research organizations.
Moreover, harnessing a2i’s partnership with 40+ nations under South-South Cooperation will develop a multinational agriculture network hub for developing a shared vision of agriculture and sharing best practices to scale up within the network. This network will play a catalytic role to transfer agriculture innovation and 4IR technologies from one country to another.
Farmers-centric policy addressing access to finance, market, inputs, and technologies is important for agriculture production improvement. It ensures ease of farming, harvesting, marketing, and proper value addition in the supply chain. Commercialization of agricultural goods in Bangladesh, as well as irregular supply chain management in Bangladesh, is hampered by a lack of transportation infrastructure, increased transaction costs, various market middlemen, a lack of understanding, and a number of other socioeconomic issues. Effective supply chain management aids in securing a stronger competitive position and increasing the efficiency of the agricultural industry. These logistical problems can be solved through automation. By implementing the right policies, addressing these challenges will boost agriculture production in the country. a2i aims to work on drafting necessary policies for the agriculture ministry so that these challenges get addressed. Also, findings from agriculture research aren’t utilized properly. a2i will develop policy briefs from the research finding and will arrange workshops/seminars and conferences to disseminate those briefs for inclusion into the policy implementations. a2i will also conduct the necessary research on identifying gaps/challenges and will propose solutions for those challenges.
|Integrated service delivery & data-driven decision-making platforms to enhance Agri Production
▪ Krishoker janala v.2
|● Farmers will be able to identify crop diseases easily
● Farmers will be able to use a Precise amount of fertilizer
● Farmers will be able to use effective methods for pest prevention ● Farmers and extension agents will be able to access all the existing crops related diseases, solutions, and suggestions
● Reduced TCV (Time, Cost, and Visit) for farmers and extension agent ● The intervention of AI will give updated information to the extension force about pesticides, crop diseases, etc. from a single source
|Data-driven decision-making platforms for policymakers
|● Multilayers Dashboard & Apps
● Immediate solution to agri challenges
● Farmers’ driven policy
● Establishment of farmers and crop database
|Digital Agriculture Supply-chain and Standardization
|● Digital platform for agriculture supply-chain
● Access to market
● Digital agri-logistics eco-system
● Farmers’ participation in digital financial systems
|Smart Agriculture Tech Lab to accelerate farm mechanization
|IoT-based Smart Fish Farm
● Farmers will be able to identify crop diseases easily
Automation of the Dairy Industry in Bangladesh
● The farmers will be able to monitor the health and vitality of livestock in real time, enabling them to quickly treat animals and prevent the spread of illness or disease.
e-Traceability for Agriculture management
● Tracing the agri/food supply chain empowers consumers and foreign buyers to ensure the quality and safety of their food
e-Traceability of ruminants for smart livestock management
● The consumers will be able to access the livestock location, vaccination, antibiotic history, and so on
IoT based Decision making of Irrigation and Fertilizer Management ● The farmers will be able to carry this device to different sections of their cultivated land and take several readings
Smart Food Supply Chain Processing (Vaccum Frying Machine) ● The device will be able to reduce food wastage and strengthen the food-supply chain processing
IoT-based smart meter/switch for irrigation pumps
● The farmers will be able to increase crop production with the proper water management through a smart irrigation pump
|● Commercially scalable innovations that will address specific agriculture-related challenges
|Collaboration network hub between Farm Extension-Research to ensure global best practices
|● Seamless ecosystem to disseminate research output into the fields ● Shared vision for agriculture digitization
● Best practices scalability at national and international level
● Best practices scalability under south-south cooperation
● Branding of best practices in international platforms
|Smart Agriculture Policy Support
|● Policies addressing access to finance, market, inputs and technologies
Bangladesh is the 5th largest aquaculture-producing country in the world. Fish farms are the most extensive aquaculture production unit used in Bangladesh. The total production of fish was 7.54 (0.7 million) lakh tonnes in the 1983-84 fiscal year. In 33 years, the production has increased to 41.34 lakh tonnes in the 2016-17 fiscal year. Meaning, in this period, the total fish production has increased 5.5 times. In addition along with the production, the demand for aquaculture products is rising day by day. According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the daily fish consumption amount of Bangladeshis has increased as well up to 62.58 grams from 60 grams. Active and proper fish farm management is essential to maintain the maximum aquaculture production level and to ensure the world demands the best quality aquaculture products.
With the continuous expansion of aquaculture scale and density, contemporary aquaculture methods have been forced to overproduce resulting in the accelerated imbalance rate of the water environment, the frequent occurrence of fish diseases, and the decline of aquatic product quality. Maintaining accurate water quality for nurturing aquatic products is highly crucial and due to a lack of frequent observation, the challenge has become tough to mitigate. The main challenges are the lack of farm labourers, an increase of ammonia in water, a decrease in oxygen, a high price of fish feed, a lack of nutrition in feed, etc. The four main water parameters to be maintained properly for profitable aquaculture cultivation are; dissolved oxygen (DO), the temperature of the water, salinity, and hydrogen potential (pH). The perfect content of these parameters varies with the type of aquaculture and the species to be cultured.
Under this project the automation of a fish farm through the automation of fish feed application system, water distribution and exchange system, Aeration system, water quality, and environmental parameter monitoring system. Overall the solution will make a total solution for communicating and control of all electrical devices through internet-based smart management. The solution involves a microcontroller-based IoT device that will be able to read the sensor data and operate a machine from anywhere. The IoT-based water quality monitoring system monitors the water quality in real-time and reduces the cost of production, increases efficiency, reduces human dependency, and thus ensures sustainable development economically and socially.
The proposed system monitors the water quality in real-time and sends a notification to the user instantly, which reduces the risk. Upon using the proposed solution, a farmer will be able to get real-time information on water pH, Dissolved Oxygen, etc. The device will be able to reduce 5 to 20% of the application of fish feed, which reduces water pollution and increases the fish farm productivity and income. It is possible to integrate more water quality sensors such as pH, turbidity, oxygen, etc. As per the sources, the overall installation of the smart device will cost a farmer 1.5 lac taka per acre.
Benefits for Fish Farmers from IoT-based Smart Fish Farm
Livestock plays a catalyst role in balancing Bangladesh’s food security, nutrition, unemployment, earning foreign exchange, empowering women, etc. The livestock sector has significant contribution to balancing the country’s daily animal protein requirements. As per the Department of Livestock Service, the average growth trend of the sector was rated at 5.30 percent over the last five years. Currently, a person in Bangladesh consumes 120 grams of meat per day, which is supplied by the country’s livestock sector. Moreover, about 20 percent of the country’s population is directly, and 50 percent of the population is indirectly dependent on this sector. Moreover, government sponsorship and institutions working in the livestock sector’s expansion in their activities have caused the investment rate to rise significantly over the years. Due to this, the amount of livestock in the country has also increased.
The livestock’s contribution to food security and the integration of national economies is significant. However, an equal effort of nurturing is not maintained while transporting the livestock product to consumers. Transparency of livestock supply chain management is a significant problem in Bangladesh due to the unavailability of data and information accessible by the stakeholders of livestock supply chains. Due to the difficulty of proper monitoring, and control in the livestock supply chains, some risks of insecurity and uncertainty of livestock conditions remain unsolved along the supply chains. There are challenges of disease products or lack of standardization within the supply chain. This kind of issue requires the provision of an easily and securely accessible traceability and transparency system to ensure quality.
E-traceability employing 4IR technology would offer simple access to resources and transform the livestock sector by tracking movement, location, vaccination and antibiotic history, and so on. Each cow will be tagged with a unique, ultra-high frequency RFID tag that registers it and its owner onto the blockchain. If the animal is dipped, vaccinated, or receives medical treatment, the tag records the information into the traceability system. The recorded data will provide a secure and tamper-proof trail of each animal’s history. For farmers, the blockchain system provides an irrefutable record that proves ownership and can allow them to obtain a loan by using their cattle as collateral. Consumers can also rest assured with such a guarantee of product quality, instilling confidence, trust, and awareness into the supply chain.
With each passing day, the demand for livestock products will continue to grow at a higher rate. However, along with the growing trend, it is also necessary to ensure the quality of the livestock products within the supply chain. The implementation of effective e-traceability systems will better the ability to implement verifiable safety and quality livestock products. The implementation will enable livestock businesses to better manage risks and allows for quick reaction to emergencies, recalls, and withdrawals. Effective e-traceability systems will significantly reduce response times when an animal disease outbreak will occur, by providing more rapid access to relevant and reliable information that helps determine the source and location of products. As per sources, e-traceability can reduce product wastage by between 50% and even up to 95% in some cases.
Benefits for farmers, businesses, and consumers from e-traceability of ruminants for livestock management ∙ The consumers will be able to access the location, vaccination, antibiotic history, and so on
∙ Farmers and Livestock businesses will be able to enable businesses to utilize their resources and processes more effectively and efficiently and increase their long-term profitability
∙ Farmers and Livestock businesses will be able to make more informed management decisions, leading to increased market penetration, and reduced operating costs
Bangladesh, a country of greenery, comprised 168.07 million population. From mass starvation in 1974 to achieving self sufficiency in food production Bangladesh has touched every economic pillar. Unfortunately, Bangladesh has not been able to move an inch toward reducing food waste. Post-harvest loss is the core part of food wastage and a major matter of economic and food security issues in Bangladesh. According to a source, the annual economic loss of Bangladesh was estimated as 2107.5 crore taka and the maximum loss was incurred for Bananas 705.79 crore taka, followed by pineapple 550.58 crore taka, and mango 508.95 crore taka and the lowest was for orange 1.12 crore taka. The effect of food waste on the economy of Bangladesh is substantial. Moreover, according to FAO, food waste leads to waste of land, labour, water, and energy. According to the global food security index Bangladesh was ranked 89th in 2017 and in 2018 Bangladesh was ranked 83rd on the Global Food Security Index with zero growth (Food Security Index). Enterprises based on seasonal fruit chips are advantageous from many corners. It is well known that fruits and vegetables are seasonal and location-specific. In the harvesting period, they are available in plenty and do not fetch a fair price for the producers; while in other seasons they are not available at any price. At the same time, bulk produces in remote areas faces a great challenge to get quick and even supply throughout the country due to poor infrastructure and inefficient transportation system. These constraints result in huge post-harvest loss of agro-produces every year in the country (almost 40%) and the producers face economic loss every year. Jack-fruit, pineapple, mango, guava and papaya are some of the seasonal fruits which are susceptible to huge post harvest loss. If they are processed into high-quality popular snack products like chips, their post-harvest loss will be minimized, farmers will get a fair price, production of them will be increased and finally, food and nutrition security of producers and consumers will be obtained. Value addition to strengthening food processing is advantageous from many corners starting from loss minimization (loss of 40%) to generating employment. However, quality improvement is an emerging issue to attain food and nutritional security in the country where many people especially young kids and women are suffering from malnutrition. Hence, technology concerning to developing high-quality and first market-driven products from seasonal fruits and vegetables is obvious.
The proposed solution, smart vacuum frying technology, addresses the mentioned post-harvest challenges. By this method, frying will be carried out under vacuum pressure at precise temperatures and hence, product quality will be improved, nutrition loss will be minimized, the degree of fried oil deterioration will be reduced and finally processing costs will be greatly reduced, including food wastage. Vacuum frying is an advanced method where the quality of the fried chips is maintained at lower temperatures with pressure. This technology has great potential in the Snacks Processing Industry of Bangladesh. It is an ideal alternative to preparing environmentally friendly, safe, and quality fried products. Using this technology, various chips products can be easily processed from various fruits and vegetables such as jackfruit, pineapple, potato, banana, sweet potato, carrot, papaya, taro, etc. at the distinct temperature (100-130oC) and frying time (5-25 minutes). The low-cost vacuum frying (VF) machine developed by BARI will undoubtedly assist the SME level in the agro processing industry to play an important role in increasing family income and alleviating poverty by producing various types of fried chip products.
This machine will be applicable all over the country to produce quality vacuum-fried chip products using different types of fruits and vegetables. The proposed solution will be able to reduce the food wastage of various fruits and vegetables significantly. Through the implementation and scalability of this solution, the postharvest loss of fruits and vegetables in Bangladesh can be reduced by 25-50%, for instance, brinjal is highly perishable.
Benefits of Smart Food Supply Chain Processing
∙ The price of the device is much cheaper than the imported device.
∙ The machine is small in size and can be easily moved anywhere and placed in a small space.
∙ The device is very easy to operate so anyone can use it easily.
∙ The device should be fabricated in a local workshop and repaired and maintained at a low cost.
∙ Quality fried chips (jackfruit, pineapple, potato, banana, etc.) should be easily prepared from different producers. ∙ The device will be able to reduce food wastage
∙ Strengthen food supply-processing
Unsafe food creates a continuous cycle of disease and malnutrition, particularly affecting infants, young children, and elderly people. As per recent sources, fruits and vegetables from local bazaars are injected with dangerous formalin-containing infected matters, which will greatly harm citizens’ health. As food safety is a significant challenge for a developing nation like Bangladesh, an effective level of monitoring is required in the supply chain while transporting agricultural (i.e. fruits, vegetables) products from producers to consumers. However, the difficulty of proper monitoring, and control in the agriculture supply chains, risks of insecurity, and uncertainty of agricultural productsremain unsolved because of the lack of data availability along the supply chains. Another case of ensuring food safety is that export is considered important to modern economies as it plays a core function in diplomacy and foreign policy between governments. Due to increasing tension in safe food issues, foreign buyers and brands are demanding to integrate traceability technology such as Blockchain with the existing supply chain to retain data transparency across the value chain. This integration is required for Bangladesh because a safe food supply chain will contribute largely to the national economies, and trade, enhancing sustainable development. Therefore, mapping out, introducing, and integrating of all stakeholders from specific sectors starting from the root level of the supply chain and cross-checking at every possible point has become essential to bring digitalization and ensure food safety.
The proposed solution to address the mentioned challenge is the implementation of e-traceability in agriculture. The solution is important in food supply chains to track agricultural products through all steps of production. Consumers and foreign buyers demand more information on production practices. As per a source, 91% of consumers and buyers prioritize the source of their food. Therefore, E-traceability employing 4IR technology would offer simple access to resources and transform the agriculture sector by tracking the movement, location, and formalin history of the products (i.e., fruits, and vegetables). Each fruit and vegetable will be traced from the field to the buyer with a unique code that registers it and its owner onto the blockchain. Each farm will have a traceability system of order which will ensure the farmer to track the produce from the field to the buyer. For farmers, the blockchain system provides an irrefutable record that proves ownership and can allow them to obtain a loan by using their farm as collateral. Consumers and foreigners can also be rest assured with such a guarantee of product quality, instilling confidence, trust, and awareness into the supply chain.
Blockchain technology for Bangladesh is a step toward complete modernization and improving the quality of business. With Blockchain, the leather (currently exports $784.98 million with a yearly growth rate of 29.61%) and food processing industry (currently exports $1 billion) or any other industrial sector can completely modify itself for better export opportunities. E-traceability will create supply chain visibility and creates a quality control system. It provides privacy and security in a decentralized system. The implementation of traceability in the market will increase agricultural export beyond 7.5%. Along with raise in the export market, foreign direct investment will also increase because of the food safety assurance from the government. The overall system will be developed in a cost-effective manner so that every smallholder farmer do not face challenges while using the system.
Benefits for farmers, businesses, and consumers from e-traceability for Agriculture management ∙ Tracing the agri/food supply chain empowers consumers and foreign buyers to ensure the quality and safety of their food
∙ Farmers’ will be able to utilize their resources and processes more effectively and efficiently and increase their long-term profitability
∙ Farmers will be able to make more informed management decisions, leading to increased market penetration, and reduced operating costs
∙ Local businesses will be able to export agricultural products with the assurance of food safety
Bangladesh currently holds the position of the 25th largest milk-producing country among other countries in the world. Since 1970, dairy product has seen substantial growth over the years. Back then, annual production was approximately 1 million tons of milk, while current production is around 11 million tons. Despite the high growth trend in Bangladesh’s dairy industry, self-sufficiency still remains a bottleneck. The imbalance between national production and requirement causes a lack of self-sufficiency. Currently, the availability of milk per capita is 175.63 ml/day, while the recommended minimum daily intake is 250 ml. Various factors like inefficiency in drugs, additives, and feed for cattle fuel high operation costs, and low-quality products. As a result, consequences of the confluence of the above factors lead to the inefficient sel-sufficiency of dairy production nationwide. Therefore, effective monitoring and a data-driven approach is necessary in order to preserve livestock nutritional profile, avoid extra costs and improve farm efficiency.
The solution proposes the use of IoT-enabled devices to track and monitor the health of livestock, most commonly cattle, to ensure livestock management, also known as livestock monitoring or precision livestock farming. Traditional methods of livestock monitoring involve individually inspecting animals for signs of disease or injury. This method is both costly and highly unreliable.
IoT-enabled livestock management solutions take the guesswork out of herd health. Using a wearable collar or tag, battery-powered sensors monitor the location, temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate of animals and wirelessly send the data in near-real-time to farmers’ devices. This allows farmers to check in on the health and location of each individual animal in their herd from anywhere as well as receive alerts if something falls outside of the normal range. Rather than physically check the vitals of each individual animal to see if an illness has spread, they know immediately which livestock is affected and which is not. Besides tracking health, livestock monitoring solutions can use GPS tracking to gather and store historical data on preferred grazing spots or use temperature tracking to determine the peak of the mating season.
The implementation of dairy automation will provide significant labor savings, time flexibility, and more output. According to DoL, about 23.113 million livestock products are slaughtered at the time of Eid-ul-Azha. Also, the mortality rate of livestock products for various diseases puts extra pressure on the supply chain. As a result, the price of the livestock product increases and causes product scarcity in the market. Dairy automation will ensure precise monitoring of the livestock and generate healthier products for the market. As a result, the mortality rate will reduce, and stress on the livestock supply chain will reduce.
Benefits for Farmers from Automation of dairy farm
∙ The farmers will be able to monitor the health and vitality of livestock in real-time, enabling to quickly treat animals and prevent the spread of illness or disease.
∙ The farmers will be able to track grazing animals to prevent loss and to identify grazing patterns ∙ The farmers will be able to gather and analyze historical data to identify trends in cattle health or to track the spread of illness.
∙ The farmers will be able to monitor readiness to mate or give birth, preventing the loss of new calves and optimizing breeding practices.
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