Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation

Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) the successor of the East Pakistan Agricultural Development Corporation, established under an Ordinance in 1961. In 1975, BADC was renamed as the Bangladesh Agricultural Inputs Supply and Services Corporation (BAISSC) to distinguish the functions of the corporation from other development agencies of the Government in the agricultural sector. But for all practical purposes the Government restored the status quo and BAISSC was renamed as BADC under an Ordinance in 1976. Based in Dhaka city, BADC, a semi-autonomous corporate body under the Ministry of Agriculture, serves to the whole of Bangladesh and has a nationwide network of outlying field offices down to the upazila level and at some places even below that level. The main objective is to increase agricultural production in Bangladesh.

The general direction and administration of the corporation and all of its affairs are vested in a Board of Directors headed by the Chairman. The operational set-up of the Corporation comprises six wings. These are: Administration, irrigation, Seed, Supply, Planning, and Finance. The administrative wing is under the direct control of the Chairman, and each wing is headed by the concerned Member-Director.

Three categories of functions are assigned to BADC under the 1961 Ordinance. The mandatory or primary functions are: to make suitable arrangements throughout Bangladesh on a commercial basis, for the procurement, transport, storage and distribution to agriculturists of essential supplies such as seed, fertilisers, plant protection equipments, pesticides, and agricultural machinery and implements; to promote the setting up of co-operative societies with a view to handing over to them its supply functions in accordance with phased programmes; to encourage the development of co-operative societies in other spheres in which the Corporation is interested; to take over and manage seed multiplication and livestock breeding farms and fruit nurseries; and to assist, encourage and promote the manufacture of improved agricultural machinery and implements.

The optional functions in relation to mandatory responsibilities among others are to give loans in kind; to assist, encourage and promote the establishment of industries for the processing of agricultural produce, formulating or manufacturing of insecticides, pesticides, fungicides etc; and to organise the supply, maintenance and operation of lift-pumps and tube-wells, and set up light workshops for running repairs.

Professionals from different disciplines such as engineering, agriculture, economics, management etc work together in BADC. The total number of sanctioned posts was 25,451. Due to normal retirement, voluntary retirement, and other reasons the number of working people was reduced to 10781 as of January 1998.

More than 70% of the irrigated cropland is being irrigated by equipment provided by BADC. It has enhanced the distribution of fertilisers from 50 thousand to 2.2 million m tons. In the seed sector, the production of improved seeds through seed multiplication farms and contract growers, and procurement, processing, and distribution of seeds have been continued. But due to the privatization of many activities of the irrigation, fertiliser and seed sectors, the role of BADC has been reduced substantially in recent years. [M Zahidul Islam]