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Horticulture Development Board

Horticulture Development Board established during 1973-74 under the Directorate of Agriculture. After the reorganisation of the Directorate of Agriculture as the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in 1982, the Horticulture Development Board (HDB) was merged with the Food Crops Wing of DAE.

The major objectives for the establishment of the HDB were: (i) to import quality seeds of different vegetables and fruits (especially water melon) suitable for Bangladesh agroecological conditions; (ii) to help farmers grow more vegetables, fruits, and spices throughout the country in order to improve nutritional standards; (iii) to increase rural horticultural activities and income generation through increased horticultural production; (iv) to find out effective ways and means for horticultural extension services; and (v) to train urban women in production technology, as well as to make them aware of the nutritional importance of horticultural crops.

The Board has made significant contribution to horticulture development through its 55 bases and nurseries. It has established 15 new horticulture centres in addition to the existing ones. At present, 74 centres operate throughout the country to provide horticultural extension services as well as to produce horticultural propagating materials (grafts, gootees, saplings, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, rhizome, etc) for distribution among farmers.

For operational convenience, DAE has distributed the existing 74 horticulture centres of the Food Crops Wing under 8 regions at Dhaka (12 centres), Mymensingh (6 centres), Comilla (3 centres), Rajshahi (12 centres), Rangpur (2 centres), Jessore (12 centres), Barisal (6 centres), Chittagong (6 centres), and Rangamati (15 centres).

HDB has published a large number of training materials in the form of booklets, leaflets etc. Notable amount them are: Rabi Mousume Sabjir Chas: Bulletin-I; Ghrisma Mousume Sabjir Chas: Bulletin-II; Falgach Lagano O Paricharza: Anaros; Tobe Sabji Chas; and Falgach Lagano O Paricharza: Aam, Kathal, Peyara, Kool, Supari, Jam, Lichu, Kazzilabu, Narikel.

These publications are circulated among extension workers, NGOs, agricultural development workers, and farmers. The Board also provides training and technical guidance to a large number of farmers and urban women throughout the country on improved technology and modern farm practices, as well as on homestead gardening.

The Food Crops Wing, headed by a Director, is mainly responsible for horticultural extension activities. This Wing initially took up two projects entitled 'Scheme for Development of Physical Facilities in HDB's farms and nurseries in Chittagong Hill Districts for Additional Production of Fruit Saplings for ADB Financed Programme' and 'Scheme for Establishment of Horticulture Farms and Nurseries at District Head Quarters and Important Upazilas of Chittagong Hill Tracts - Khagrachari and Bandarban'. After completion of the above two projects, a new one entitled 'Horticultural Development in Bangladesh' was in operation from 1989 to 1999. The project had three components: Extension component with DAE, Horticulture Estate Development with bangladesh agricultural development corporation (BADC), and Research component with BARI. In addition to normal mandated works of the Food Crops Wing, the HDB is now implementing a project on integrated horticulture and nutrition.

In addition to DAE, BADC also undertakes horticulture extension activities through its 10 Agro Services Centres, 2 Foundation Vegetable Seed Farms, and other Seed Farms, especially for seed potato production. Horticultural research on its different branches such as pomology, olericulture and floriculture is being carried out by the bangladesh agricultural research institute, bangladesh agricultural university and bangabandhu sheikh majibur rahman agricultural university. [Md Shahidul Islam]