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1 Introduction

The Evaluation Department of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (EVAL) has commissioned Nordic Consulting Group (NCG) and Orbicon A/S to undertake an independent evaluation of support provided to the Agricultural Growth & Employment Programme (AGEP) in Bangladesh during the period 2013-2018.[6]

There is a very long history of Danish assistance to the agriculture, livestock and fisheries sectors in Bangladesh, dating back to the 1970s. In the 1990s, Danida supported efforts to improve soil fertility through a balanced use of fertilizers and by dealing with crop losses through the introduction of integrated pest management (IPM) in farming systems. Since the 1990s, the “farmer field school” (FFS) approach has constituted a key element in the sector programmes funded by Danida. The evaluation concerns AGEP in the period 2013-2018 which succeeded the agricultural sector programmes. In AGEP, the FFS approach was practiced within the Integrated Farm Management Component (IFMC) implemented in Dhaka, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Barisal, Khulna, Chittagong and Sylhet regions by the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE); and the Agriculture and Food Security Project (AFSP) in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) implemented by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). In addition to this, AGEP included an agri-business development component (Katalyst), which ended in March 2017 and is not part of this evaluation.

IFMC I was initiated in 2013 and was finalised by end 2018 with the intention to initiate the IFMC II in the beginning of 2019. This did, however, not materialize as an agreement with the DAE had not been signed by the time the evaluation was launched. AFSP II was completed in 2017 and AFSP III was initiated immediately after. An end-evaluation of AFSP II was finalised in 2018[7] and the focus of this evaluation is therefore primarily on FFS implemented under IFMC I and, secondarily, on AFSP II.

1.1 Objectives, scope and purpose of the evaluation

According to the Terms of Reference (Annex 1), the objectives of this evaluation are threefold: i) To document the achievements of the AGEP since 2013; ii) To analyse the outcomes and impact of IFMC and AFSP, where a particular emphasis will be on the adoption of new farming techniques and practices, as well as marketing knowledge promoted through the project components; and iii) On the basis of the lessons learned through the AGEP, to prepare recommendations for the future to be used as inputs for the design of a new country programme for Danida in Bangladesh (for five years, from 2021 to 2026). Thus, the evaluation covers both IFMC and AFSP as two components of the AGEP which use the FFS approach but with the main emphasis being on the IFMC, which is by far the largest component of AGEP. This also means that the analysis of AFSP in this report is not done with the same depth as is the case for IFMC, and some areas (e.g. institutional and M&E aspects) are mainly dealt with in relation to IFMC.

1.2 Brief introduction to AGEP

AGEP is a continuation of Danish support to the agriculture sector in Bangladesh. The support was implemented as a sector programme from 2000 to 2013 where the support shifted to a thematic programme under the country programme, as reflected in Table 1.

In 2011, Danida evaluated the FFS approach in Bangladesh and studies of FFS in different regions of the country were undertaken. The evaluation found that more than 500,000 rural households had benefitted from knowledge and techniques acquired through participation in these FFSs. Furthermore, it was found that there had been a significant impact on household nutrition and food security, notably among the poorest. Household incomes had increased in comparison with control groups and production had diversified. In short, the evaluation concluded that the FFS approach had been very successful in terms of improving livelihoods, not least for many women in the rural communities and for the poorest households.

Table 1. Danish sector support to the agricultural and growth sector (million DKK)
Programme Period Danish contribution GoB contribution
Agriculture Sector Programme Support II (ASPS II) 2006-2013 531 79
Agricultural Growth and Employment Programme (AGEP) I 2013-2018 330 75*
Agricultural Growth and Employment Programme (AGEP) II[8] 2019-2021** 90 30

* Only for IFMC.
** The period for IFMC II only, the AFSP III runs from 2018 to 2021.

The overall (development) objective of the AGEP was defined as contributing “to an increased pro-poor and inclusive growth and sustainable employment creation”. Although the programme was not intended to directly generate employment, it was anticipated that job opportunities would emerge from interventions that increased the value of farm produce and thus would create more jobs. AGEP has three components, as listed in Table 2 below, but only IFMC and AFSP included FFS.

Table 2. Overview of AGEP I components, objectives and budget
Agricultural Growth and Employment Programme I (AGEP I) 2013-2018


Immediate Objective

Implementing Partner

Budget (million DKK)

Integrated Farm Management Component (IFMC)

Agricultural production of female and male marginal and small farm households increased through Integrated Farm Management (IFM) Farmer Field Schools.

Dep. of Agricultural Extension (DAE)


Agriculture and Food Security Project (AFSP) II in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT)

1. Agricultural production of female and male marginal and small farm households increased and diversified through IFM FFS in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

2. Implementation of the CHT1997 Peace Accord accelerated through further devolution of agricultural services to the Hill District Councils.

UNDP/Ministry of CHT


Agro Business Development Component (ABDC)/Katalyst*

Strengthening the competitiveness of the agricultural and agro-business sectors

Swiss contact/ Ministry of Commerce


Reviews/unallocated funds


Total budget million DKK


* This component is not included in the current evaluation.
**DKK 75 million Government of Bangladesh (GoB) contribution and Danida contribution of DKK 330 million.

1.3 Overview of the evaluation report

This introductory section (Chapter 1) is followed by a presentation of the methodology and approach (Chapter 2). Chapter 3 provides a presentation of the context for the AGEP programme with a specific emphasis on political-economic issues, and on agricultural and rural sector development. Chapter 4 presents the programme design with a brief description of the institutional set-up, the evolution of FFS and a description of the differences between AFSP and IFMC. Chapter 5 builds on the programme design and analyses the implementation and results of FFS. FFS Costs and Organisations are analysed in Chapter 6, and Chapter 7 considers sustainability issues of the FFS and the Future for FFS in Bangladesh. Chapter 8 provides conclusions and recommendations.

Unless specifically mentioned in the text, the abbreviation FFS refers to FFS under IFMC. When dealing with AFSP, this is particularly mentioned.

[1] Dhaka, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Barisal, Khulna, Chittagong and Sylhet.

[2] DKK 75 million were contributed by the Government of Bangladesh.

[3] DKK 50 million were allocated for Katalyst and DKK 10 million were unallocated funds.

[4] End-Evaluation/Impact Assessment for Agriculture and Food Security Project (AFSP) Phase II, prepared by IRG Development Services Ltd. on behalf of UNDP, July 2018.

[5] See the 2011 Evaluation Report.

[6] The evaluation team comprises: Carsten Schwensen (Team Leader), Eva Broegaard, Steffen Johnsen, Louise Scheibel Smed, Mofarahus Sattar, Rabeya Rowshan and John Rand. The Bangladesh Center for Advanced Studies (BCAS) assisted with planning and implementation of a household survey.

[7] End-Evaluation/Impact Assessment for Agriculture and Food Security Project (AFSP) Phase II, prepared by IRG Development Services Ltd. on behalf of UNDP, July 2018.

[8] AGEP II is not part of the evaluation but is included to provide an overview of the Danish agriculture support. NB AGEP II 2019-2021 has not yet started except for AFSP.


This page forms part of the publication "Evaluation of Agricultural Growth & Employment Programme (AGEP), Bangladesh – October 2019" as chapter 1 of 8.
Version no. 1.0, 2020-01-16
Publication may be found at the address http://www.netpublikationer.dk/um/evaluation_agep_bangladesh_oct19/index.html