What is the issue or problem you would like to address in your country?
The indiscriminate use of agrochemicals has become a common practice to raise agricultural yield in Bangladesh. Since pesticides are directly applied to on crops, fruits, and vegetables in most agricultural applications, infants, children, and adults can be exposed to pesticides by the ingestion of those pesticide-contaminated foods. Pesticide residues could cause liver dysfunction, kidney failure, skin problems, infertility and other serious problems for the consumers. It leaves adverse impacts on environment, ecology and biodiversity.
A Rrecent outbreak of wheat blast and fall army worm in the country hasve possessed a threat to food security. Growers have gone crazy to use more of toxic chemicals to save their crops. Overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides have effects on the soil organisms. Soil is an important source for heavy metals (like mercury/cadmium) in crops and vegetables since the plants’ roots can absorb these pollutants from soil, and transfer them to seeds. Using a similar type of pesticides repeatedly leads to develop resistance in pests. Agrochemicals used in crop fields contaminate grassland and the aquatic environment through natural and anthropogenic pathways. Hence, different toxic and heavy metals become ingredients to human food by the consumption of livestock and fish. The United Nations General Assembly declared 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health. Thus, an environment-friendly agricultural practice is needed to ensure plant health, considering human and animal health.
How will this course enable you to address this issue?
Plant health is increasingly under threat. Climate change, and human activities, have altered ecosystems, reducing biodiversity and creating new niches where pests can thrive. It is important to prevent plant pests and diseases, and tackle them, in environmentally friendly ways - such as through integrated pest management. This ecosystem approach combines different management strategies and practices to grow healthy crops while minimizing the use of pesticides. Avoiding poisonous substances when dealing with pests not only protects the environment, it also protects pollinators, natural pest enemies, beneficial organisms and the people and animals who depend on plants.
This course will enable me to gain insight in the principles behind a Global One Health (GOH) approach, and I will be able to apply these principles to health challenges for humans, animals and plants in my current research activities. It will help me to identify the scope of GOH in Bangladesh context, and to learn about the inter-relatedness of animal, human, plant, and environmental health. From the course, I will get familiar with applying different tools and will have a feeling of equipped to perform GOH analysis. I will learn about the ecological and economic relevance of GOH management from the course. It will strengthen my skills for more effective policy planning and advocacy for safe use of pesticides as a tool of good agricultural practices. Attending this course in the Netherlands will facilitate me to get exposed to GOH practices in the Netherlands and I will be able to identify entry points for GOH policy, planning and management in my home country. This short course will be a platform to exchange experiences with other agriculture professionals and policymakers from around the globe. If I can avail myself of this course, I will be well-decorated with academic and practical knowledge to plan and execute a crop management strategy for ensuring food security addressing health challenges in Bangladesh.
How does the position you hold within your organisation enable you to address the issue upon your return?
My current position at Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) has given me a wide range of disciplines to choose from for advanced research. I am employed for about seven 7 years in the multidisciplinary sector in the field of agriculture and plant science. My recent research focus lies on developing environmentally friendly plant protection techniques considering health hazards. I am also taking initiatives to cultivate genetically- modified crops with higher yields among farmers to ensure food security. Upon return from the Netherlands, I will prepare a project proposal based on plant health and seek funds from the Ministry or other donors. BARI has a well-equipped laboratory and excellent field research facility to design an integrated pest management strategy. I will set field trials with already developed IPM techniques like using GM Bt-brinjal and biological control to exempt pesticide spray and will arrange a demonstration at farmer’s field for promoting them. My institute has a linkage with different extension organizations, and its training & communication wing has an institutional set-up for arranging training, meetings, and workshops. It will be useful for me to utilize my acquired knowledge from the short course to train stakeholders and growers for awareness building about the impacts of antimicrobial resistance and environmental pollution. As an institutional representative, I can do advocacy in different policy meetings about the adoption of IPM techniques and the engagement of women growers on plant health issues.