Policy Research For Development Alternative

Economics of Producing Multiple Rabi Crops by Substituting Tobacco in Bangladesh A Case Study

UBINIG || Friday 20 November 2015 || বিষয়: Tobacco

UBINIG Research


The study was undertaken to investigate the economics of producing multiple rabi crops combination (multiple cropping) by substituting tobacco in Bangladesh. Three most concentrated tobacco growing areas of Bangladesh namely Kushtia, Cox’sbazar and Bandarban districts were selected for conducting the study. The data were collected through a structured questionnaire from 36 Nayakrishi and 24 tobacco farmers during 2009-10 rabi season. The prominent rabi crops combinati (Read More)

COP7 on FCTC: 7 – 12 November, 2016

UBINIG || Sunday 13 November 2016 || বিষয়: Tobacco

FCA created in 1999 and formally established in 2003 is made up of nearly 500 organisations from over 100 countries.

FCA works on the development, ratification and implementation of the international treaty, the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

The WHO FCTC is the world’s first modern-day global public health treaty. It requires Parties to adopt a comprehensive range of measures designed to reduce the devastating health and economic impacts of tobacco. FCA is also a leading advoc (Read More)

Financial Crisis led Garment Workers to work harder but less food to eat

Sramabikash kendra || Wednesday 01 November 2017 || বিষয়: Sramobikash Kendra

South Asia Regional Workshop on Global Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Women: A Human Rights Perspective.

Bangladesh: country perspective on the impact of the current crisis on women, their livelihoods and human rights

Bangladesh Economy in the face of global crisis

In Bangladesh, any change in the global economic situation is felt almost directly. The years from 2007 to 2009 have been very difficult because of th (Read More)

Beauty's death and the situation of Garment workers

Sramabikash kendra || Wednesday 01 November 2017 || বিষয়: Sramobikash Kendra

The socio-economic conditions of our country have made female labor very cheap to obtain. And therefore there is an overwhelming presence of women workers in the garments sector of our industry. There are more than 4,500 garments factories comparing to that of handful in the 1980’s. There are about 3 million workers working in this sector alone; of them 95% are female workers. Their hard labor brings in the much needed foreign currencies. The remunerations that are awarded to the workers are highly incompatible compared to the hard labor they put in (Read More)

Sramobikash Kendra, 2007

Sramabikash kendra || Wednesday 01 November 2017 || বিষয়: Sramobikash Kendra

Sramobikash Kendra has been actively engaged with issues relating to labor sector particularly to readymade garment workers in Bangladesh. The major activities include the following:

1. Workshop
2. Implementation of minimum wage
3. Compilation of Paper clippings
4. Networking

Workshop involving the retrenched works

Semiskilled workers have been retrenched in different garment factories on the false plea of (Read More)

Crop variability in Mamudpur Village: richness and diversity

Four Cell Analyses: richness, evenness of biodiversity- Participatory research for estimation of the state of biodiversity of a particular geographical location.

A discussion meeting involving some farmers of Mamudpur and other villages was organized on 16 June, 2019.

Participating farmers:

1. Surya Begum, village: Babupur, 2. Ali Hossain, village: Babupur, 3. Osman Ghani, village: Mushuria, 4. Amena Begum, village: Mamudpur, 5. Rina Begum, village: Mamudpur, Nabiron Begum came from Fazilhati village and participated as an observer.

These farmers have been involved with Nayakrishi for long and have been playing (Read More)

Seed, Agriculture and Life

Summary of the speech of Farhad Mazhar delivered to Nayakrishi farmers on 12 April, 2019 in Ridoypur Biddaghor, Tangail.

Nayakrishi Andolon is now known to the world as a strong farmers’ movement in Bangladesh. Those who work with farmers for preservation of seeds, biodiversity and environment are friends of Nayakrishi. Now people around the world are trying to find ways towards pesticide-fertilizer free agriculture, or ways to rebuild bio-organic foundation of agriculture. The future of agriculture is bound to rely on life-affirming biodiversity-based farming. Everyone understands the simple fact that no one will survive by p (Read More)

Deceptive IRRI strategy to get Golden Rice approved

ON MARCH 7, 2019 the director general of the International Rice Research Institute, Dr Matthew Morell visited Bangladesh Rice Research Institute. He discussed with the director general Dr Md Shahjahan Kabir on ways and means to strengthen collaboration on some frontier technologies and projects such as Golden Rice, C4 Rice, Zinc Enriched Rice, and Transforming Rice Breeding etc.

In the next few days, Dr Morell visited other institutions such as Krishibid Gobeshona Foundation at the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council and ACI Agribusiness. He also met the prime minister Sheikh Hasina at the prime minister’s office. His vis (Read More)

No Beginning No End: Celebrating the Cyclical Return of Time, Chaitra Songkranti 1425

30 Chaitra, 1425 (13 April, 2019) YOU ARE ALL CORDIALLY INVITED. Organized by Nayakrishi Andolon, Nabapran Andolon, Beez Bistar Foundation and UBINIG. T A N G A I L Celebrations, On 30th Chaitra, 1425 (13th April, 2019) special meals with shaks will be prepared by farmers, and everybody is invited to taste the food.

Nayakrishi farmers will collect at least 14 Shaks (leafy vegetables) from the pesticide-free environment of their Nayakrishi villages, along with other vegetables. They will cook them at Ridoypur Biddaghor. This will be a concrete entry to formal and informal discussions about the situation of biodivers (Read More)

Comments on IFPRI Study Report published in a national daily

Dhaka Tribune, a Bangladeshi daily, published a report by Reaz Ahmed on IFPRI ‘s Btbrinjal study on March 7th, 2019: “5-yr after releasing its first GM crop Bangladesh says farmers gain by adopting Bt brinjal”. Till now we have not been able to get a copy of the IFPRI report. Nevertheless, until we could put our hand on the full report and make our detail critique, we felt the media report demands some immediate response.

  (Read More)

Goats, Women and International Women’s Day

On the international women’s day, I would like to talk about goats and climate change and will argue why these issues are fundamental for women’s movement as an international concern. This is very important to bring our senses back and ground them on real and concrete life experiences of woman in order to prepare us to grasp a wider, meaningful and practical notion of ‘woman’. Urban elite middle class women cannot claim that their understanding of ‘women’ and accordingly shaping of the international woman’s day, as it is projected now a days, is indeed not about their own class, but about woman in (Read More)

When Bt brinjal is a failure, why Golden rice?

INTRODUCTION of genetically modified crop is a highly risky venture, particularly in a country like Bangladesh that is rich in biodiversity and bio-geographically known as the origin of diversity spot. Despite the known risks, Bangladesh has been targeted for experiment and field trials of GM transgenic crops such as Bt brinjal. This has been done despite the resistance from the farmers, scientists and environmental activists. Apart from the risk of biological pollution and health hazards, the debate over the scientific claims and agronomic value of Bt brinjal has not been settled. Promoter’s claim about the effectivity of this highl (Read More)

Victims of Jarda, Sadapata and Gul: Case Study-based information on health hazards

It is well-recognized fact through various public health research works, although insufficient, that smokeless tobacco consumption cause certain health hazards. Some smokeless tobacco products, such as Jarda and Sadapata are consumed with betel leaves, known as paan, along with lime and betel nut. This is an open and common practice among men and women. Another common smokeless tobacco is Gul, commonly used as an oral tobacco powder which is rubbed over the gum and teeth. Being a tobacco preparation, jarda, sadapata and gul are addictive in nature and cause harm to the users. As a public health concern, these are also included in the defin (Read More)

Tobacco ruins soil and water along Matamuhuri River, Bangladesh

Tobacco cultivation in Bangladesh has always been river-based to exploit the fertile soil. Tobacco, mostly Flue Cured Virginia (FCV) and Barley variety, is a company sponsored crop grown since the last five decades. According to official data for 2016, tobacco is grown on 46,472 hectares of land, producing 87,628 tons of tobacco leaf. Bangladesh ranks 14th for area under tobacco, 12th for production in quantity, and has a share of 1.3% of global tobacco production (FAOSTAT 2018).

Tobacco cultivation has been expanded in Bangladesh, not due to increased interest of the farmers, but to appropriate fertile lands, source of fuel woods a (Read More)

India asks about Btbrinjal: what Bangladesh can say?

SINCE 2014, Bangladesh has been commercially field testing four Btbrinjal varieties. In October 2013, on its last day of the session, the 9th parliament approved the genetically modified eggplants. The timing was strategic — a very agitated political situation prior to the national election was a convenient moment to introduce an inappropriate and unsafe technology. Btbrinjal has hardly any agronomic value but threatens Bangladesh with potential biosafety risks. Btbrinjal is the first GM vegetable crop that got the government approval despite protests from environmental and farmers’ organisations. Mahyco, the Indian counterpart (Read More)

BANGLADESH Tobacco Farming: A threat to food security, environment and human health

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) recognizes the need to promote economically viable alternatives to tobacco production as a way to prevent possible adverse social and economic impacts on populations whose livelihoods depend on tobacco production. Moreover, Parties agreed to have due regard to the protection of the environment and the health of persons in respect of tobacco cultivation and manufacture.

Article 17 regards the provision of support for economically viable alternative activities and Article 18 the protection of the environment in respect of tobacco cultivation and manufacture and the health of p (Read More)

Bangladesh: the importance of farmers’ seed systems and the roles of Community Seed Wealth Centers

The Nayakrishi Seed Network (NSN), known as the Nayakrishi Beez Shongho in Bangla, is the active farmers’ network of Nayakrishi Andolon with specific responsibility to ensure the collection, conservation, distribution and enhancement of seeds among the members of Nayakrishi Andolon. Women farmers are the key actors and leaders in the network. Community Seed Wealth Centers are run by farmers as the apex body of the Nayakrishi Seed Network linked with the Seed Huts (known as Beez Akhra) at the village level.

Here is a Policy Brief of UBINIG on farmers seed system supported and published by Bioversity International, a CGIAR Resea (Read More)

Nayakrishi Beez Shongho: Training on Challenges of Seed Conservation

 Healthy local seed is the key to ensure the natural and bio-productive foundation of the community. Nayakrishi Seed Network organized a training program to operationalize this principle of Nayakrishi Seed Network in Ridoypur Biddaghor, Tangail,  during 13 to 15 May, 2018. The objectives were sharing the experiences of management and operation of the Community Seed Wealth Centers (CSWC) and the Seed Huts(SD) and identify strategic conceptual questions for learning by solving problems and on management issues.  The anticipated outcome was to develop practical strategies to strengthen fa (Read More)

Exhibiting Seed as Farmers' Knowledge Practice

Seed exhibition in Lalon festival

The 'Sadhushongo', the congregation of the saintly practitioners of wisdom and intitiated by Fakir Lalon Shah as the "Gour Purnima" festival is an attraction for common people and for farmers. Cheuria, in the District Kushtia of Bangladesh, obtains a festive mood during the three Full-moon days with hundreds of thousands of people coming from all around the country as well as from across the border. This is also an opportunity for the Nayakrishi farmers to invite people attending the festival and demonstrate their art and wisdom of biodiversity-b (Read More)

The Joy of Biodiversity: Visible and Invisible Economy of Nayakrishi

The word ‘economy’, as originally derived from Greek, is not about numbers, quantities and calculations but about the management (νέμoμαι ) of the household (οίκος). Implicit in this notion of household is first of all the active role a household plays in the biological reproduction of both the members of the family as well as the ecological and material foundation of farming, i.e. the conditions of production and secondly, the exchange and distribution of the products that may or may not take monetary forms or calculated in monetary terms. Here we use the word ‘economy&rsq (Read More)

Prioritizing food production over tobacco farming in Bangladesh


Bangladesh must ensure food and nutrition for the people and prevent an alarming increase in non-communicable diseases caused by tobacco consumption and production. In order to achieve that goal, reclaiming all lands occupied by tobacco and immediately shifting to food production and agroecological restoration of damaged landscapes is a priority. As a fertile riverine delta with biodiverse agrarian systems with rich indigenous knowledge of food production, it makes no sense to allow tobacco companies to abuse Bangladesh’s fertile soils for a crop that hardly benefits economically, rather costs ha (Read More)

Maternal and child health care: Daighors & strategic services

Context of maternal health

Reduction of maternal mortality rate is one of the most important health goals of the government of Bangladesh. The present rate of maternal mortality is 194 per 100,000 live births showing that Bangladesh could not achieve the MDG target of 143 per 100,000 live births by 2015. However, the decline in MMR from 322 in 2001 to 194 in 2010, a 40 percent decline in nine years was significant achievement. Now the new goals are set for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The 17 new SDGs, also known as Global Goals, the target is to reduce the global maternal (Read More)

Monsanto Tribunal: Protecting Victims of Ecocide

The Monsanto Tribunal is an international civil society initiative to hold Monsanto accountable for human rights violations, for crimes against humanity, and for ecocide. Eminent judges heard testimonies from victims, and delivered a legal opinion following procedures of the International Court of Justice. A distinct and parallel event, the People's Assembly, was a gathering of social movements from all over the world that exchanged ideas and planned for the future we want. The Tribunal and People's Assembly took place between 14 and 16 October 2016 in The Hague, Netherlands. On Tuesday April 18th 2017, the judges publicly presented their (Read More)

‘Misrepresentation’ of Bt Brinjal farmers for corporate interest

Deb Carstoiu, Managing Director of plant biotech communications at CropLife International wrote a report on Bt Brinjal farmer Anisur Rahman Sheikh in a northern district of Bangladesh. According to Carstoiu, ‘Rahman Sheikh recently planted biotech eggplant for the first time. The biotech variety (Bt eggplant) repels or kills the fruit and shoot borer, and Rahman Sheikh is confident that it will make a difference for him and his family’. (see Deb Carstoui's 'PPPs: Planting the seeds of (Read More)

Dear honourable environment minister!

A snapshot of Newshour Extra Talkshow (ATN News) broadcasted on February 4, 2017.

WHAT is the role of the ministry of environment and forestry in giving approval to a government project? I wanted to ask the very question to the minister directly in a TV show in which he featured recently. I couldn’t get through. So here I am asking the question for his kind attention.

The Newshour Extra Talk show of ATN News on the night of February 4, 2017 invited the honourable minister, Anwar Hossain Manju, ministry of environment and forestry. The talk show is featured sadharaner janya prashna (questions for the public) as ekai eksh (Read More)

Can GM potato save poor farmers?

After repeated failure of Bt Brinjal another food crop, very common vegetable Potato is genetically modified and waiting for approval for field cultivation. This is Blight Resistant Potato (RB Potato). This is a matter of concern as Bangladesh is being used for easy introduction of GM crops for its weak regulatory authority.

Failure of field cultivation of Bt brinjal, the so-called first GM crop in Bangladesh, did not stop Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) from abusing the authority and resources of a public institution.

Without clarifying the criticisms ag (Read More)

Bt brinjal failed in farmers' field

Bt Brinjal affected by aphid

Brinjal is the most important vegetable in Bangladesh, a common crtop farmers grow for family consumption as well as for the market.  Nationally it is grown in about 50,000 hectares of land in two major seasons: winter and summer. However there are varieties that  can be grown round the year. However seasonal varieties are culturally preferred. Indigenous nutrinional knowledge claims that those fruits and vegetables are best for health  if they go by seasons.

Bangladesh is a country of wide range of varieties of brinjals. Despi (Read More)

Bt Brinjal: Put a label on it

Consumers have the right to know what they are buying

The field cultivation of genetically modified brinjal (also known as Bt Brinjal) was conditional. In October 2013, the National Committee on Biosafety (NCB) imposed seven conditions to be followed in field cultivation. One of these conditions was labeling -- if Bt Brinjal is brought to the market, they must be labelled, ie it should be clearly stated if it is GMO.

Since 2014, two rounds of cultivation showed very poor performance, and the brinjals which were brought to the market were not labelled. Consumers did not kn (Read More)

Third round of Bt Brinjal: farmers are not interested

Bt Brinjal, the genetically modified brinjal introduced in Bangladesh despite concerns and failures in performances, is imposed again for the third round with newer farmers during 2015 – 2016 winter crop season. No report has been published as research findings of the first two rounds of field cultivation except some propaganda news. The website (both Bengali and English page) of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) has no information. It only says Bt Begun (Bt Brinjal). That’s all. The page is just blank. Even International Service for the Acquisition for Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) did not publish any repo (Read More)

GOLDEN RICE : Threat to pregnant women and foetus

WE DO not eat rice for Vitamin A since there are plenty of vegetables and Vitamin A-rich food sources that can meet our need. So, if someone looks for Vitamin A in rice, instead of green and yellow Vitamin A-rich vegetables, we will, of course, question the person’s common sense or competence in open source knowledge. But if someone tells us that they have designed rice in such a way that we can now get Vitamin A from the rice, such persons are called ‘scientists’. This is amazing, indeed!

Obviously, rice does not naturally contain Vitamin A; so it must be engineered to distort its natural character to become somet (Read More)

Nayakrishi Andolon: Farmers movement for biodiversity conservation and food sovereignty

Ecological meaning of ‘small and marginal’ farmers

We know that ‘small and marginal farmers’ not only ensure food supply to 150 million people of Bangladesh but contribute to the conservation and regeneration of country’s agro-biodiversity and genetic resources. Small and marginal farms also perform various other ecological and environmental services. Farmers are the repository of social memory, wisdoms and knowledge practices without which agriculture can not contionue.

However, the economic notions such as &l (Read More)

‘Bagary Baingan’ on the menu of Modi: Was it Bt. Brinjal?

Indian Prime Minister Norendra Modi’s eventful two-day visit ended on the 7th June, 2015 in Bangladesh. Mr. Prime Minister is a vegetarian and therefore as a host Bangladesh government, particularly Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself took special care to select different kinds of vegetarian foods. The Hindustan Times reported on 7 June, 2015 titled “100 veg dishes for Modi” including special daal, khichdi, dhokla and Bangladesh’s special sweets. In The NDTV news it was elaborated further, such as for starters, there was a Gujarati speciality - Kaman Dhokla, accompanied with a yoghurt corriander chutney. For main (Read More)

Science Versus Baseless Claims

Mark Lynas is amusing. He visited the field of ‘Mohammed Rahman’, of Krishnopur, Bangladesh and claimed: “but improved seed genetics can make a contribution in all sorts of ways - It can increase disease resistance and drought tolerance, which are especially important as climate change continues to bite; and it can help tackle hidden malnutrition problems like vitamin A deficiency”. The claim is quite flowery like the title, ‘Why I got converted to GMO food’. Amusingly, (Read More)

Turning Bt. Brinjal failure into a propaganda of success

Since the beginning of the Bangladesh government clearance for field cultivation of GM food crop Bt. Brinjal, it has been a scandal. The genetically engineered crop failed miserably in the chosen farmers fields of Bangladesh, despite the careful selection and training of the farmers. Promoters of GMO adopted more scandalous options. They refused to review the experiment by the normative standard of strict scientific experiment and the international ethical standard of precautionery principle obligatory for potential hazards from GMOs. Instead the promoters took more aggressive attempts to carry out propaganda based on false claims. The a (Read More)

Chakaria farmers want freedom from the vicious chain of tobacco

A discussion meeting of over two thousand farmers was held on 6 May, 2015 against the aggressive extension of tobacco cultivation in Chakaria Upazila, Cox’sbazar district at Majherparas Bazar, Kakara union at 5pm. The farmers and their representatives shared their sufferings due to oppressive treatment of tobacco companies at the time of procurement of tobacco leaves. On the otherhand, if they grow food crops, the lack of storage facilities for perishable ones, they suffer economic losses. In this situation the farmers suffer in the horns of dilemma, either to grow food crops or tobacco. Today, the farmers have united under the assur (Read More)

No GMO's & Corporate Control on Food and Nutrition: Women on International Women'd Day 2015

Women’s struggles against discrimination, inequality and violence is global and strong. However, women’s dis-empowerment is not an isolated consequence independent from colonial legacies and neo-liberal global arrangement of economic, political and cultural relations. From what is happening through corporate control over seeds, agriculture and food system, none better than women know well that women’s struggle is instantly and directly related to the question of biological survival and regeneration of the conditions of life. Women have historically been keeping seed , engaged in food production, ensuring nutrition (Read More)

Seedy Business

On January 8, 2015, Deneb Sumbul, daughter of Najma Sadeque sent an e-mail in the listserve that Najma Sadeque used to use with the subject “My Najma Sadeque no longer with us” . The mail said, “With the greatest sorrow, this is to inform you that my mother, Najma Sadeque passed away last night around 12:30. She was suffering from kidney failure. In how many ways can I describe my wonderful indomitable mother - she wore so many hats - an activist to the last, journalist for over 35 years, one of the founding members of WAF and someone who had so many interests and never short on wonderful ideas and new perspectives. For (Read More)

Protest Against US Ambassador Promoting Bt. Brinjal in Bangladesh

Outgoing US Ambassador to Bangladesh recently wrote an article in Dhaka Courier uncritically promoting genetically modified Bt Brinjal in a country considered belonging to the bioregion where global wealth of biodiversity originated. He often expresses his love for Bangladesh, and we, as a humble nation, never failed to acknowledge his feelings. Nevertheless, his article stands absolutely contrary to the prem (love) he often likes to explicitly project. ( See 'From Iowa to Bangladesh (Read More)

Bt Brinjal terror spreads in the country and crosses border

The environmental, farmers and women’s groups are outraged at the news that despite the failure of the first field cultivation scheme, the government of Bangladesh has taken a programme to distribute saplings of genetically modified Bt brinjal among over 100 farmers. Dr. Rafiqul Islam Mondol, Director General of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), told The Dhaka Tribune “We selected 106 farmers in 17 districts to distribute the saplings. The distribution began in October 2014”. Each farmer is given saplings of two varieties for half bigha (16.5 decimal) land, though BARI initially decided to suggest one bi (Read More)

Gender-specific tobacco control measures and Women’s leadership

The World Health Organization (WHO) took the lead in 2003 to formulate a global treaty called the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is an evidence-based treaty that reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health. It was the first treaty that was designed in developing a regulatory strategy to address addictive substance, such as tobacco and that asserted the importance demand reduction strategies as well as supply issues. The FCTC was unanimously adopted on 21 May 2003, at the 56th World Health Assembly, and was opened for signature, for a period of one year, from 16 June 2003 to 22 June 2003 at WHO h (Read More)

Beijing Plus 20 Review: Incoherence in Women and Environment Link!

Policy making in a country like Bangladesh is not an easy task, a meaningful policy position is impossible without serious efforts from the policy makers to involve stakeholders; secondly, it is necessery to involve various groups and organisation active through empirical reserach or programmes that government wishes to address. Without a meaningful base of empirical reseach and participation of relevant stakeholders, a policy document could hardly be of any value.  If policy makers ignore these very basic essentialities policy documents are reduced into statements related to few projects, lacking conceptual clarity and coherence with (Read More)

BT BRINJAL COMMERCIALISATION: Alarming alliance of four M’s

The Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institution (BARI) is a public institution under the agriculture ministry and is obliged to serve public interest. As a public research institution, its primary task is to decide research priorities that must contribute to the benefit of the farming community, enhance the formal and informal scientific knowledge base of Bangladesh and strictly protect natural, biological and intellectual property of the people of the country.

Unfortunately, the institution has miserably failed to meet to its obligation and responsibi (Read More)

Bt Brinjal in the open market without labels !

BARI has miserably failed in its attempt to show that Bt brinjal is resistant to fruit and shoot borer (see the series of article in UBINIG).

It should have been investigated by independent qualified geneticists, entomologists and agronomists in order to unveil the mode of inheritance and heritability of attributes linked with FSB (Leucinodes orbonalis).The BARI, claiming to be one of the most prestigious institution of Bangladesh, is now lost its vision, blindly following the political directives instead of scientific wisdom. Such mindless act of dea (Read More)

BtBrinjal: Non-compliance of approval terms!


Bt brinjal is a GMO or Genetically Modified Organism. Crystal gene from Bacillus thuringiensis has been inserted into brinjal genome to increase the resistance of brinjal against Fruit and Shoot Borer (FSB) insect. Bangladesh Agricultural research Institute (BARI) has conducted this research with the support of ABSP II of USAID. BARI received the seeds of Bt brinjal from Maharastra Hybrid Seed Company (MAHYCO), India. There was no innovation by BARI scientists, they only used the Monsanto-Mahyco technology to conduct experiment with the genetically modified Bt. Brinj (Read More)

GM crops and loss of biodiversity : A Silent Death trap

The International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22 is observed to increase understanding and awareness on biological diversity that include ecosystemic variability and indigenous knowledge and/or cultural practices. In December 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted this day to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention on 22 May 1992 by the Nairobi Final Act of the Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

In Bangladesh, the Ministry of Environment and Forest hardly observes the day, though Bangladesh has signed the CBD. Despite many valid critique of the text, (Read More)

Farmers are cheated in Bt Brinjal ‘field cultivation’: A failed attempt at the cost of risks to human health and environment

On 22nd January, 2014 twenty farmers from four districts were given the saplings of Bt Brinjal in ceremony organized by Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) at the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC). The Agricultural Minister Matia Chowdhury gave out the trays of saplings along with a booklet. The farmers selected by BARI were happy because they thought they were fortunate ones to be chosen for such a ceremonial distribution of saplings. Matia said while addressing as the chief guest, “We have decided to start cultivating Bt brinjal after different necessary tests at home and abroad. We took long time to exp (Read More)

Addressing ‘micro-nutrient’ deficiencies in Bangladesh: a Nayakrishi Perspective

 'Currently most research is invested in new technologies rather than in making better use of existing knowledge. Much more research is needed to turn existing knowledge into practical application.' (WHO 2013)

UBINIG’s commitment to biodiversity-based approaches to agriculture, health and nutrition is based on a critical understanding of various technological approaches to solve some of the major problems of poverty, hunger and malnutrition. Recent interest in biofortification, particularly of staple crops, is of critical interest (Read More)

Implications of declining government support for aus rice production

Rice production in Bangladesh is a crucial part of the national economy. The main food crop of the country is rice. Rice cultivation covers about 80 percent of cultivable land and production varies according to seasonal change based on water supply. The largest rice crop is aman, accounting for more than half of annual production. Some traditional varieties of aman rice are sown broadcast in spring on low land. The plants thrive in summer and rainy seasons. The matured crop is harvested in late autumn. The other group of aman rice varieties is grown by raising seedlings in seed bed in summer. The seedlings are transplanted in the main fiel (Read More)

Farmers caught by credit, but Nayakrishi is immune…

The Bangladesh Bank (B B) has recently expressed concern for defaulting agricultural loans (the Shokaler Khabar 12 March 2014). The B B has also instructed the concerned scheduled banks to take effective step for reducing the defaulters in agricultural loans. The defaulted farm loan in the banking sector had increased by 44 percent as of January 31, 2014 from the same date a year ago.

The situation of much acknowledged microcredit is not so different from agricultural loan. A BBC report said, in Bangladesh poor people are selling organs as a last resort to repay their microcredit debts. The report said:”Kalai, like many other (Read More)

Maintenance of genetic resources ensures food sovereignty

The Nayakrishi farmers at Rajendrapur and adjoining villages in Baraigram upazila of Natore district have been maintaining indigenous genetic resources. They have been maintaining the seeds of local varieties of crops in cultivation. The seeds are maintained on farm as well as in the Nayakrishi Seed Hut at community level. The Nayakrishi initiative aims to ensure the livelihood of the rural community through community based biodiversity management by safeguarding genetic resources and environment against the introduction of invasive genotypes, hazardous technologies and the climate change variations. This initiative ensures secured access (Read More)

Mahyco ‘owns’ Bt Brinjal, not BARI and never the farmers!

On October 30, 2013 Bangladesh National Committee on Bio-safety (NCB) approved the application of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) for limited-scale cultivation and marketing of genetically modified eggplant, known as Bt Brinjal amid protests by environmental and farmers groups. The resistance against Bt Brinjal is increasing on issues related to serious threat to bio-safety and health. The authorities have failed to prove any agronomic value of the genetically engineered product and the claims are based on faulty methodology. The farmers are squarely resisting against patenting and explicit attempt of bio-piracy through t (Read More)

Farmers are happy with Mamudpur Seed Hut

Mamudpur Nayakrishi Seed Hut (NSH) started its journey in 2001. UBINIG has been holding training session, exposure visit, farmer exchange, festival in Mamudpur and adjoining other villages on biodiversity based farming. Rina Begum along with other farmers of Mamudpur village received Nayakrishi (Biodiversity based farming) training conducted by UBING. Since then they have been practicing Nayakrishi. Gradually the other farmers started joining Nayakrishi. These activities have created awareness for conservation and management of PGR at community level. Rina Begum along with other Nayakrishi farmers realized the importance of seed conservati (Read More)

“Approval” story of Bt Brinjal: Continuation from India to Bangladesh

Bt. Brinjal, (also known as eggplant or aubergine), a genetically modified food crop, inserted with a gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis has been approved by the National Committee on Biosafety (NCB) in Bangladesh for limited scale cultivation by farmers. In a notification (in bangla) of October 30, 2013 bearing a reference No.22.00.0000. the Environment Section-2 of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry provisionally approved the petition of BARI to cultivate Bt Begun varieties 1,2,3 and 4 in a limited scale at the field level by following seven conditions:

1. BARI Bt. Brinjal 1, 2, 3 & 4 (Read More)

Bangladesh to become guinea pig for Bt Brinjal

It is very unfortunate that Bangladesh government, which is now in Poll time period (next election is in January, 2014) has taken a step for a policy disregarding public opinion and which has serious implications for its people as consumers, for farmers and for environment. The National Committee on Biosafety (NCB) officially released four Bt brinjal, which is infused with pest-resistant gene. According to newspaper reports, the four varieties of BtBrinjal — Bt Brinjal-1 (Uttara), Bt Brinjal-2 (Kajla), Bt Brinjal-3 (Nayantara), and Bt Brinjal-4 (Iswardi local) — would first be released on limited scales as per a production manu (Read More)

Autistic babies and connection with GM soybean

There are evidence of connection between the birth of autistic babies and the GM soybean. Autism is a life- long developmental disability that manifests itself during the first three years of life. A diagnosis of autism can be one of the most devastating diagnoses a parent can hear. At worst, children diagnosed with autism will never be able to function as a normal human being in society.

Cause of Autism

There are several factors researchers have looked at in attempting to uncover the cause of autism. These include genetics and infe (Read More)

International Scientists Say “No” to Bt Brinjal approval

Despite indefinite moratorium on Bt Brinjal trial in India and Supreme Court ban in the Philippines, it is alarming that Bangladesh is preparing for the approval for commercial release.

In India, similar attempts to introduce Bt. Brinjal in the market led to controversy and on February 9, 2010, the ministry of environment and forests imposed a moratorium on Bt Brinjal. In the absence of scientific consensus and opposition from state governments and others, the ministry decided to impose a moratorium on the commercialisation of Bt Brinjal u (Read More)

Corporate manipulation of 'food security'

Weapon Producer's Concern about Food insecurity in Bangladesh!! Dupont, the producer of weapons and killing chemicals   sponsors Global Food Security Index! 

On August 10, 2012 a news item came up on various news media wiith headlines such as 'Bangladesh least food secure S Asian Nation' (Bdnews24.com) which was quite disturbing (also see, 'food security situation poor in Bangladesh'. It said, Bangladesh is the least food-secure among the six South Asian countries according to Global Food Security Index 2012, released by Th (Read More)

Stop Nerica and Genetically Engineered Bt Brinjal

UBINIG (Policy Research for Development Alternative) and the biodiversity-based farmers’ initiative “Nayakrishi Andolon” expressed concern over promotion of technologies that are direct threat to biodiversity and the food sovereignty of the country.

In a discussion meeting titled ‘African NERICA rice and Bt. brinjal are threat to bio-diverse agriculture in Bangladesh’ UBINIG and Nayakrishi Andolon farmers presented field based information to show how these are going to pose a threat (Read More)

RIO+20: Detoxicating Agriculture

Future of farming in Bangladesh depends on the capacity of the government to insist on the priority of detoxicating agriculture and stop further erosion of agroecology and environment.

Rio plus twenty means a decision about our future. Somehow the declaration of the Heads of States and Governments, knick-named as Zero Draft, has the title “The Future We Want”. But whose future? The governments do not seem to be willing to address the various crises, created by the systemic failure of global economic order resulting in increased (Read More)

Chatka: Community Ingenuity Checking River Erosion

Chatka is made from bamboos to tame river, an effective but simple indigenous innovation of the local community to reduce river erosion that also helps in reclaiming land. The bamboo binding resists soil erosion, turn silt, deposit soil formation and helps accretion of land. 

The farmers of Sonatoni union have taken th (Read More)

Women's Conference & Festival 2012

JAMRUL: TheTree Symbolising the Future Women Aspire

Women's Conference and Festival 2012 was organized in the context of developing a perspective about future that women want. JAMRUL, or the Rose Apple (Syzygium samarangense)) Tree - a very sweet juicy fruit tree, favorite to women, came out as the symbol to depict the desires of women for their future they dream for all.

Women are concerned about establishing their rights as (Read More)

Rio+20:`The Future 'They' Want

A Critique of the Rio+20 Zero Draft

Twenty years after the Earth Summit, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) will take place in Rio from 20-22 June, 2012. For two decades, peoples movement have worked hard for social, economic and environmental justice but yet the global economic system only resulted in a billion people starving from hunger. The gap between the rich and poor is widening with 70% of world’s resources enjoyed by top 20% and those in bottom quintile get only 2%. Climate justice (Read More)

Poverty Trap and the Kidney trade

Sale of body parts for overcoming poverty and indebtedness!

In a country where over 40% of the population lives below poverty line and 13% (or 20 million) of the total population suffer from kidney diseases, the link between kidney trade and poverty is not very difficult to establish. The recent incidents of kidney trade, by some unscrupulous ‘brokers’ buying the kidneys from the poor people for transplantation within and outside the country, has raised serious concern among the general public and also (Read More)

International Conference on Shifting out of Tobacco

Impact of Tobacco Cultivation and Policy Advocacy for Shifting to Food and Other Agricultural Crops

The concerns about the harmful affects of consumption of tobacco products and tobacco cultivation in Bangladesh have drawn considerable attention over last few years. Since the efforts at the global and national level to regulate the use of tobacco products which include the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) entering into force in Bangladesh on (Read More)

Women Learning from Egypt

Inspired by Nawal in Egypt

This year (2011), on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, perhaps the most interesting thing to discuss is the uprising in the Arab world particularly in Egypt and Tunisia. It was really inspiring to see the young generation active in the movement and not giving up till they have achieved their goal. In Cairo, there were hundreds of thousands of men and women in Tahrir Square. Some of my feminist friends, living in other countries, raised issue of the visibility of women in Tahrir square compared to (Read More)

Struggle Conserving Local Rice Varieties

 In the month of Agrahayan, the eighth month of Bengali calendar, (early December) over 500 Nayakrishi farmers from 19 districts got together in Tangail to exhibit the rice varieties in their own collection and to discuss the issues that has caused threats to the preservation of rice varieties. It was a festival organized by UBINIG and Nayakrishi Andolon held during December 2 – 4, 2010 in Bishnupur village of Tangail. Climate change and natural disasters are being used as an excuse to introduce hybri (Read More)

Commercialisation of women's infertility

Nobel Prize for IVF or dehumanizing technology?

Robert G. Edwards is awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize for physiology/ medicine for the development of human in vitro fertilization (IVF) therapy. According to the Press release of the Nobel Committee “His achievements have made it possible to treat infertility, a medical condition afflicting a large proportion of humanity including more than 10% of all couples worldwide”. This may seem to be a “good news”, but the question is, for whom? From a wom (Read More)

BRRI Celebrates 40 years

BRRI 40 & IRRI 50 years: We finally get controversial GE rice!!

Ten years younger than the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) has observed its 40th founding anniversary in Gazipur, Dhaka on October 1st, 2010. The institution even had a birthday cake cut to celebrate its forty years. BRRI officials had a colourful procession and discussion sessions to mark the achievements of the institution during last 40 years since it was established in 1970.

On 30th September, 2 (Read More)

Corporate control over rice

IRRI announces bad news: introduction of Golden Rice in Bangladesh

While the farmers organisations around Asia were demanding that 50 years of International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is Enough, and during this time it has contributed more to the destruction of our rice diversity than to increase it; it is heartening to see that in Bangladesh it was celebrated with much high importance with the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurating the ceremony held on 14 July, 2010. The celebration was marked by an event attended by ar (Read More)

Trafficking & Threat of US Sanctions

Trafficking & Free Movement of Labour: Bangladesh on Tier 2 Watch list!

Bangladesh is placed on Tier 2 Watch List, according to the 9th Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) 2009 published by the Department of State of the United Stated of America. Every year the Department of State is required by law to submit to the U.S. Congress a report on foreign governments’ efforts to eliminate "severe forms of trafficking in persons". The United States’ Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), amended in December 2008, guides efforts to combat human tra (Read More)

Health is Constructing Buildings and Recruiting Cadres ?

Budgeting Health 2010 - 11

The Budget speech by the Finance Minister, Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, on 10th June, 2010, touched upon Health and Family Welfare in the 139th paragraph; it clearly indicates health sector unfortunately is not a priority sector, not even the health service delivery to the people. The neo-liberal paradigm denies that government has responsibility to ensure health service delivery 'free of cost' to the people. The introductory remarks of the Finance Minister were pathetically dry on this vital sector which is important not only for soc (Read More)

Peoples Perspectives

Dreaming & Mumbling with Numbers

Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith made a Power Point presentation of the National Budget for 2010-11 fiscal year in the parliament on June 10, to spend Tk 1,32,170 crore or US$ 19 billion, with a target of 6.7 % GDP growth as against 5.5 percent for the current year. The proposed Budget will have a deficit Tk. 39,323 crore or 5% of proposed GDP. The prevailing mainstream responses to the budget miserably reflect the poverty of thought on macro-economic policy (Read More)

Bt Brinjal and Begoon

Bangladesh Approving Bt Brinjal !!

Risk to Environment, Biodiversity and Health

"Begoon" (Brinjal or Eggplant) is a very common and favourite vegetable in Bangladesh. It is even becoming an international vegetable along with okra and cauliflower because of the Indian Restaurants in Europe and North America. But for us in Bangladesh, it is not just a vegetable, it has more link with the social, cultural and economic lives of rural people, particularly women. It is cultivated in the agricultural fiel (Read More)

Farmers Against Tobacco Cultivation

Say 'No' To Tobacco Cultivation

Kushtia. 30 March. A farmers' meeting in village Boro Gangdia (Union Khalisha Kundi) of Daulatpur upazilla on 30 March, 2010 expressed grave concern over the aggrssive extnsion of tobacco production in the district of Kushtia, threatening serious crisis in food and destruction of environment, ecology, bodiversity and livelihood of local communities.  The meeting was organized by UBINIG with participation of farmers, NGO, journalists, college teachers and local government leaders. The Chief Guest was Afazuddin Ahmed Member of Par (Read More)

Stop Tobacco Cultivation, Grow Food

Don't poison Matamuhuri River by Tobacco Cultivation

Chakoria 24 March: Food and water crisis is going to be severe in areas where tobacco cultivation is expanding. Tobacco companies are facing resistance from the farming communities in old plantation areas and are moving to fertile lands such as the rich envivironmnet and ecology of the Matamuhuri complex. Unlike other rivers of Bangladesh, Matamuhuri is unique; it has originated within the political boundary of Bangladesh and created a fabulous environmental and ecological complex to support life forms that obviously (Read More)

Farmers' Outrage Against Tobacco Companies

 Kushtia: 25 March. Farmers of Kushtia are outraged. Tobacco farming is not only destroying soil, forsts, environment, ecology and conditions of survival, but financially ruining the farming community. The tobacco companies are now refusing to pay farmers what was originally promised to allure them to cultivate tobacco, instead of food crops. Both local and transnational companies are using fertile lands for non-food cash crop creating severe food crisis and environmental disaster. This is an issue that must be addressed immediately by the policy maker.The Tobacco companies particu (Read More)

"Doctor's Babies" in Bangladesh

Unregulated Trade Over Infertility of Women

In Bangladesh population is seen as the cause of all problems including socio-economic, political, environmental and security in the conventional or mainstream discourses. In recent years it is being related to risks associated with climate change. often with bizarre arguments to control number of peoples in Bangladesh. Consequently it is argued that fertility of women must be controlled as a "solution" through use of temporary and permanent contraceptive methods.

While fertility of women is being controlled by the (Read More)

Nayakrishi & Green Deal

A Nayakrishi Perspective on New Green Deal  


Global Green New Deal is on the road to make growth look green. How green it is for the southern countries; is an extremely important question. Policy Brief of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP March 2009)) on Global Green New Deal (GGND) is about the "worst financial and economic crisis'' and raises the question whether the response of financial (Read More)

Women in Black

W O M E N I N B L A C K On International Women's Day 2010

Over 300 women from 36 districts including the capital city Dhaka and from different organizations joined together on Mirpur Road, opposite to Narigrantha Prabartana (NGP) for the event of Women in Black. In black clothes, a symbol of protest, women reminded of the continued injustice, discrimination and violence that are going on not only to women but to all people in different countries and different situations. It was organised by Narigrantha Prabartana, Odhikar and Odhikar.

This event ook place on the occasion of the International Women's Day 2010. Women stood wi (Read More)

Celebrating 100 Years of Women's Struggles

100 years of International Women's Day. Defend life, livelihood, dignity and community. 6 – 8 March, 2010, Jointly organised by Narigrantha Prabartana, UBINIG and Odhikar

We are happy to announce three day programme from 6th March to 8th March for the celebration of women's struggles and women’s movement in the country. We are proud of our strong base of the movement. However, we are yet to achieve our goal of women’s emancipation from patriarchal, economic, social and political oppressions. Therefore, the struggle continue (Read More)

Celebrating Women's Struggle

Celebrating Women's Struggles (on the occasion of 100 years of International Women's Day)


The International Women's Day on 8th March, 2010 is going to be very significant for the women's movement around the world, and particularly for the women in Bangladesh as it is the completion of 100 years of declaration of the International Women's Day. This Day has become very familiar to the Women's Movement as "Antorjatik Nari Dibosh" and is celebrate (Read More)

Climate Change and Population

Old game of blaming the poor and women!!

The 2009 edition of The State of World Population has been released just before the 15th Session of United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP15) to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark during 7 - 18 December, 2009. It shows that climate change is more than an issue of energy efficiency or industrial carbon emissions; it is also an issue of population dynamics, poverty and gender equity. In Bangladesh, the UNFPA Representative, Mr. Arthur Erken launched the report at Hotel Sonargaon in the capital city Dhaka. It may be noted that the focus of UN (Read More)

International Women's Day

Roundtable Discussion on International Women's Day, Venue: National Press Club, VIP Lounge. Date: 6th March, 2010 Time: 10 am – 1:30 pm. Organized by: Narigrantha Prabartana, UBINIG and Odhikar. Professor Latifa Akhand is presiding over second session of the roundtable discussion

The preparations for the Roundtable discussion started in early January, 2010, in the Monday regular meetings of women in Narigrantha Prabartana. Specific issues were selected for discussions and discussed in an informal manner to clarify the understandings of the women's issues. The theme for the Roundtable Discussion was "Struggles and Challenges fa (Read More)