The Department of Livestock Services (DLS) in Bangladesh and the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES), with support from the World Bank-funded Climate Adaptation and Resilience (CARE) for South Asia Project bared and demonstrated, during a Stakeholder Consultation Workshop in Dhaka on 14 March 2022, the prototype of the decision support system (DSS) for climate-informing plans, decisions, and investments in the livestock sector in the country.
The DSS prototype, co-developed by RIMES with DLS and the Technical Working Group (TWG) consisting of specialists from DLS, Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI), Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU), and SAARC Agriculture Center (SAC), was presented before 42 participants (30 on-site and 12 virtual), from DLS, BLRI, SAC, BAU, United Purpose (INGO), private sector (Milk Vita, Prani Sheba), commercial farmer group, and RIMES, for obtaining feedback and recommendations for onward development. As part of CARE Project, the fully completed DSS is targeted to be deployed and experimentally operated by DLS and its stakeholders by September 2023; RIMES will fine-tune the DSS based on users’ feedback.
Ms. Ruby Rose Policarpio, CARE Project Director for Component 1, RIMES, acknowledged the co-development process between RIMES, DLS, and the TWG that has been instrumental in the development of the DSS prototype. She underscored that this co-development process is vital for ensuring the relevance and sustainability of the tool.
Dr. Monjur Mohammad Shahjada, Director General, DLS, elaborated on the initiative for livestock DSS development. He highlighted that the impact of climate change is evident in Bangladesh and the government is determined to accelerate the implementation of adaptation measures. Dr. Shahjada recognized the current issues with livestock sector data acquisition in Bangladesh and assured RIMES that DLS will undertake necessary coordination for assimilation of pertinent data into the DSS. He also emphasized the importance of regular dialogues with stakeholders for ensuring the reflection of stakeholder demands in the DSS. Dr. Md. Mahbubul Alam Bhuiyan, Deputy Director, DLS; Dr. Md. Rafiqul Islam, District Livestock Officer; and Dr. ABM Mustanur Rahman, Deputy Project Director, Livestock and Dairy Development, DLS and RIMES sectoral focal point for CARE project, also graced the event.
The DSS prototype was demonstrated by Mr. Raihanul Haque Khan, RIMES Country Coordinator in Bangladesh and Sajib Hasan, IT Expert, Bangladesh. The demonstration highlighted the background/rationale of the DSS development, the co-production process adopted and the progress of the system development. This was followed by a detailed demonstration of the DSS protype modules. The key features in the current prototype version includes visualized upazila-specific bias-corrected weather forecast, extreme weather alerts, Temperature Humidity Index (THI) alert for ruminants, historical climate analysis and climate monitoring, livestock population statistics and maps, and disease analytics for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) revealing hotspot zones across the country at different months/ seasons/years. The generation process for monthly and extreme weather events advisories was also demonstrated. These preset advisories include month-wise advisories for livestock based on the country’s climatology, and advisories before/during/after extreme weather events for both commercial and marginal farmers, which provide details for feed and fodder, shelter, diseases, and vaccination management, among others. The portal is accessible to the public, except the advisory generation component which is to be operated by DLS extension officials. The DSS can be accessed via: nlas-wb.rimes.int
Moreover, preliminary findings from the user needs assessment, for guiding the onward development of the DSS, was presented by Dr. Ali Akbar, Sectoral Expert for Livestock, RIMES.
Key recommendations for full system development focus on the inclusion of: cyclone warning for poultry farmers; fodder production outlook; water availability outlook; outlook for seasonal/vector-borne diseases; options for shed design taking into consideration current and future climate; feature for selection of climate-resilient livestock breeds; mobile application development for progressive farmers; and incorporation of more climate risk related layers like salinity intrusion.