Policy Research For Development Alternative

The 360 billion dollar question

THE goal of gender equality is lagging. According to Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The Gender Snapshot 2023, there is an alarming ‘$360 billion annual deficit’ in spending on gender equality measures. The reported deficit is quite striking to know in 2024, when we have only six years left before the 2030 deadline for the achievement of sustainable goals.

Is the deficit because of any financial crisis the UN or the sponsoring countries are facing, or is the money being used for other purposes? To understand this, let us look at another striking fact. According to preliminary Israeli estimates for November (Read More)

Assessing the situation of poverty and hunger- related violation of human rights in Bangladesh


Bangladesh is set to graduate to a lower-middle-income country by 2024 from the status of a least developed country. The country has attained the World Bank’s lower-middle-income status in 2015 with a GNI per capita of $1,190, which grew to $1,750 in 2018. Since 2005, Bangladesh has been officially enjoyed consistent annual GDP growth of over 6% although the reliability of national data is difficult to ascertain. According to World Bank prediction, the COVID-19 global pandemic has slowed down growth since 2020 (Bank, 2021).

Statistics are political tools. Therefore, the concrete meaning of GDP growth in th (Read More)

Need united women’s movement to achieve democracy

IN ALL aspects of our life — economic, social, cultural and political — we are going through a very difficult time. Conventionally, economic problems are considered at the centre of all other problems, but politics is the determinate sphere where our active engagement is needed for a collective solution.

This is also true for the women’s movement. Given the history of patriarchy, societal norms of male domination, and anti-feminine culture, the critical question is how women could collectively constitute an effective agency to challenge the political state of affairs today. It is time to think differently and refus (Read More)

Just Transition in an unjust world

The new apocalyptic term has recently made its way from labour rights to climate change policy discussions. Now the question is, how much attention are we paying it in Bangladesh?

"Just Transition" is a visionary coinage that unifies a local set of principles, processes and practices.

It shifts economic and political agency and power from an extractive and wasteful economy to self-regenerative eco-social bodies that are capable of remaining related to each other.

It constitutes a truly global community of lively exchange and prosperity. It is visionary because it imagines a post-imperial, post-capitalist and post-indus (Read More)

Farmers feed people

THE report on the State of Food and Agriculture: Innovation in Family Farming (2014) by the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation estimates that 500 million small family farms, owning less than a hectare of land, are the source of more than 80 per cent of the world’s food supply. In Bangladesh small farm holdings (less than 3 acres) constitute 84 per cent of total farming households; medium farms 14 per cent and large farms (over 7.50 acres) are only 9 per cent, keeping to a 2015 Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics report. Reliable vital statistics are notoriously lacking in Bangladesh making a reasonable assessment of the state of agric (Read More)

Jibon or Jibika: The struggle for life and livelihood amid pandemic


Conventional narratives, mostly nationalist, statist and GDP centered neo-liberal statistical accounts of development, outright miss or intentionally exclude certain salient facts about the stylized story of Bangladesh development. Bangladesh has been born through a bloody liberation struggle, but nationalist narrative exclude the fact that it is also the product of the international experiment in capitalist development policy, consciously ignoring social and political reform of feudal property institutions, military-bureaucratic state regime and the legacies of colo (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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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.

(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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Declaration of Comilla, 1989

The Feminist International Network of Resistance to Reproductive and Genetic Engineering (FINRRAGE) was formed as a network of feminists from 20 countries who were critically concerned with the development of reproductive and genetic engineering technologies and their effects on women. These technologies force a variety of different forms of reproductive control over women. FINRRAGE emerged with a growing awareness that it was time to question the assumptions that contraceptives, new reproductive technolgies (Assisted Reproductive Technolgies) and genetic engineering are benign and neutral.

The (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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Poverty Programme have bypassed the “hardcore poor”...

This is SANFEC Policy Brief # 1 prepared for sharing our findings on uncultivated food and its relation to biodiversity, livelihood, culture and food sovereignty. SANFEC members, along with the farmers have conducted research on this issue and have enough empirical information to substantiate statements made in this policy brief.

A SANFEC International workshop on Uncultivated Food and Plants was held during 2 – 4 October 1999, which helped enormously in developing the concept and methodology of information collection of this relatively ‘un-noticed’ but profoundly important issue for food sovereignty.

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)