A non-linear approach to the establishment of local biological control agent production units: a case study of fall armyworm in Bangladesh
Published: July, 2022
Strides have been made in Bangladesh to promote the utilisation of biological control agents (BCAs), however farmer utilisation remains sub-optimal. The establishment of local BCA production hubs, although touted as a panacea to this problem, has no proven business case. This study makes the case for a non-linear business model.
Qualitative and quantitative data from maize growing areas in Bangladesh was collected via telephone interviews from key informants representing four key stakeholders—national research institute, regional research stations, farmer producer organisations and agro-dealers.
Farmer uptake of BCAs in Bangladesh for FAW management is hindered by several factors—lack of BCAs availability in local markets, negative farmer and agro-dealer perceptions, poor input industry linkages for the supply of BCAs products to agro-dealers and inadequate institutional finances for capacity building of and technical support by research scientists and extension agents. Given these challenges to BCAs uptake, an innovation systems-based business model that links researchers, extensionists, agro-dealers and farmer producer organizations in a non-linear pathway is proposed for Bangladesh. This translates into the establishment of local BCA production hubs owner-managed by farm entrepreneurs, with scientists providing them with nucleus culture, while extension services provide technical support for quality assurance. The interaction between all stakeholders is non-linear with all actors intellectually consulted and engaged, with technical capacity on BCAs available for any actor requiring it. Multi-disciplinary research, that takes into account feedback from stakeholders, complements the process thus generating robust and relevant knowledge for feedbacking to improve the business model, capacity building initiatives and farmer engagement.
Mentoring and capacity building leveraged via engagement of research institutions; and demonstration of technology use and guidance utilising extension services and agro-dealer networks, will promote the utilisation of BCAs for FAW management and enable local farm entrepreneurs to meet the increased demand via establishment of local BCA production hubs.