Mr. Talib Bashar (Nayan) the founder of the organization, while he had been working as News Editor of the Daily Runner, came to know about deadly harmful impacts of chemical agriculture and the practices of organic agriculture from the articles sent to publish in the newspaper by Agriculturist named Sheikh Golam Mohiuddin. So, since inception Sustainable Agriculture has been taken as the core program of the organization.
In order to develop the program UD became member of FoRAM (Forum for Regenerative Agriculture Movement) in 1994 and got two of its’ staffs trained up on sustainable agriculture. After receiving the training UD selected 50 farmers from two villages in two groups and conducted field action research on ecological farming for three years which was the starting of the program.
In 1995, the progress of the Action Research convinced Oxfam-GB to provide financial support for training to 200 women farmers on vegetable cultivation by using principles and technologies of organic agriculture.
During 1996-1898 SDC (Swiss Development Cooperation) provided training support to the staff and farmers for establishing village nursery and community plantation activities at village level. At that time, UD established 30 Plant Nurseries that enhanced plantation movement in the rural area.
During 1996-1999 CARE Bangladesh and in 1998 ICLARM Bangladesh (presently renamed as World Fish Centre) supported to promote Rice-Fish Culture with IPM (Integrated Pest Management) practices with total 600 women and men farmers.
During 1997-1999 BILANCE (later named as Cordaid) Netherlands provided financial support to implement the project entitled “Integrated Development Intervention for the Poor (IDIP) through which total 1000 farmers (700 women and 300 men) were engaged with the program to practice organic agriculture.
In 1999, BILANCE changed its name as Cordaid and provided financial support for the period 2000-2002 to implement the project entitled “Sustainable Agriculture and Environment Development Program (SAEDP)”. UD successfully implemented this project in Shailkupa, Jhenidah and Kaligonj upazila of Jhenidah district by involving 1,500 female farmers and 1,000 male farmers.
During 1999-2002 Winrock International-US and Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council (BARC) provided short-term support in implementing sustainable agriculture program.
During 2000-2004, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) provided financial support from a European Union (EU) funded project to implement the project entitled “Developing Soil Health and Cotton IPM Project” which was implemented successfully.
From 1994 to 2004, UD involved 5,000 female and male farmers of 120 villages of 5 upazilas under Jhenidah district in practicing Sustainable Agriculture. But very unfortunately, at that stage of the program almost all financial supports discontinued one by one due mainly to shift of the donors to more vulnerable geographical areas like Charlands, Monga effected area, coastal area, hilly area etc. which caused serious financial crisis for the organization in continuing the activities smoothly.
Within such struggle, in 2004, APHD (Asia Partnership for Human Development) provided small grant for implementing the project on “Promoting Sustainable Agriculture for Food Security of the rural Poor in Jhenidah District” for the period of January 2004 to December 2006.
At the same time, EMMAUS International-France provided its small grant support to UD from July 2004-June 2006 for implementing the project on “Gender Equity and Food Security through Sustainable Agriculture (GEFSSA)”.
During the period of 2005 to till date Actionaid Bangladesh has been supporting UD mainly in raising farmers’ voice at policy level through advocacy & campaign for food security, right to food and farmer rights issues. UD implemented a project entitled “Strengthening civil society networking in the international policy dialogue for an increased food security” supported by Actionaid International through Actionaid Bangladesh. By dint of project interventions a national network on Food Security named KHANI Bangladesh has been emerged to raise farmers’ voice and advocacy on right to food.
In 2007, Oxfam GB launched a big campaign in Bangladesh entitled “Campaign for sustainable Rural Livelihood (CSRL)” for a comprehensive agrarian reform in the context of climate change and trade liberalization in agriculture. From the very beginning of the campaign UD has been engaged in raising farmers’ voice at policy level for a comprehensive agrarian reform in favour of smallholders of Bangladesh.
During the period of 2011-13 UD implemented a project entitled “Sustainable Rice Seed Production & Delivery System (SRSPDS)” supported by USAID through IRRI Bangladesh that helped in developing the Seed Program of UD. A collaborator of IRRI Bangladesh named Harvest Plus Bangladesh has been providing UD to implement the project entitled “Delivery of High Zinc Rice” since 2014 which is also helping in strengthening the seed program of the organization which is a major component of the Sustainable Agriculture Program of the Organization.
Since 1999 The Swallows, Sweden has been providing short-term project support in implementing the project entitled “Awareness Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture” till 2008. Since 2009 The Swallows has been providing long-term supports to implement the project entitled “Agriculture Rights Programme (ARP)” which is renamed as “Promote farmer’s rights and voices through empowerment of landless, small and marginalized men and women farmers” for which the present commitment of the donor is up to 2021.
Since 2005 Bread for the World (BftW), Germany has been providing long-term support for implementing the project entitled “Promoting Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture (PFSSA)”. The ongoing phase of the project will continue until 2019 and expected to be continued for longer time. Bread for the World also supported to develop the “Network on Climate Change in Bangladesh (NCCB)” where UD is a member organization.
It is worthy to mention that Bread for the World and The Swallows are two mother donors of the organization who has been providing continuous support to the organization in developing its Sustainable Agriculture Development Program.