During promotion of sustainable agriculture UD realized that in Bangladesh condition, in the broader context of corporate globalization and trade liberalization, a comprehensive agrarian reform is necessary for having sustainable agriculture in practice. It is ultimate responsibility of the state and policy makers to make the reform possible. On the other hand, the farmers belong to the most neglected professional group in the country who have been exploited by the market players and different vested interest groups. But, very unfortunately, they don’t have any platform to raise their voice. So, UD took initiative to develop a civil society platform in order to support the farmers to establish their own and independent platform for raising their voice.
Moreover, in 1997 Mr. Nayan participated in a sharing meeting with Ms. Edda Kirlies representative of EZE (later renamed as EED and finally merged with BftW), Germany about Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) and Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of World Trade Organization (WTO) held in Bangladesh and became more inspired to form such platform in order to support the farmers in raising their voice against the discriminatory global policies influenced by corporate regime.
However in 1999, UD took the initiative to exchange views with like-minded and committed NGO leaders of Khulna region to be united and form a network. Through the consequent discussion and several meetings, a total of 12 organizations including one cultural organization decided to be organized under the netwok named “Sustainable Agriculture Network in Bangladesh (SANet Bangladesh)” in 2001 and decided to limit its activities within Khulna division in southwest part of Bangladesh. As an organizer of the network, UD provided technical training and post training follow-up and monitoring support to the member NGOs of SANet Bangladesh.
It is to note that for the registration formality the name of Sustainable Agriculture Network in Bangladesh (SANet Bangladesh) has been changed into “Society for Sustainable Agriculture in Bangladesh (SSAB) and extended its activities in 16 districts covering all 8 administrative divisions of Bangladesh. SSAB registered with Society Act of Bangladesh Government dated March 31, 2004, registration no. S-3805 (594).
With support from Bread for the World and The Swallows SSAB continued its activities until 2016. But unfortunately, due mainly to lack of supports for building capacity of the member organization to develop sustainable agriculture program the network has become inactive at this moment. It is worthy to mention that SSAB established linkage with LEISA (Low External Input and Sustainable Agriculture) Network, Tamil Nadu, India and moved forward towards establishing South-South Network which was not possible later on due to the same reason.
However, UD has anyway been remaining active at national and international policy advocacy & campaign by engaging itself with some other similar & like-minded national & international networks who are working in the fields of sustainable agriculture, food security/sovereignty, environment & climate change issues. UD is a leading member of the Food Security Network named KHANI Bangladesh which was established as country forum of International Food Security Network (IFSN) led by Actionaid International through with UD has been pushing the issues of farmer rights, food security/right to food issues at national, regional and global level policy forum.
Moreover, UD has been involved with the “Campaign for sustainable Rural Livelihood (CSRL)” for an comprehensive agrarian reform in the context of climate change and trade liberalization in agriculture led by Oxfam GB. 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. On the other hand, in order to raise the farmers’ & civil society voice for climate justice in the context of devastating impacts of climate change in agriculture and food security UD has been involved with the “Network on Climate Change in Bangladesh (NCCB)” which is also supported by Bread for the World.
Moreover, UD has been linked up with many other national and international like-minded non-government organizations and networks working with the issues of food security, organic agriculture, farmer rights and climate change and other relevant issues. UD has also working linkages with many relevant government organizations.