Background

One of the most important geographical characteristics of Bangladesh is abundance of wetland ecosystem or haor. There are about 373 haors located in the districts of Sunamgonj, Sylhet, Moulivibazar, Habigonj, Kishoregonj, Netrokona and Brahmanbaria covering about 859,000 hectare which is around 43% of the total area of haor district and about 5.81% of the total area of Bangladesh that accomodating about 19.37 million people. On the other hand, about 6.5 million people lives in char land of Bangladesh with an area of ‚Äč‚Äčabout 720,000 hectare. Bangladesh is now on the highway of development but the haor and char region has long been lagging behind mainstream of the national development. It is difficult to extrapolate the country’s overall progress without the development of haor and char areas as they covers a major part of the country. Boro rice production and subsistence or commercial fishing are the two main occupation of haor people while a group of peoples are engaged with poultry and livestock production too. It is mentionable that about one-fifth of the total rice production of the country is cultivated in the haor areas while most of the boro rice production comes from this area. The changing climatic condition and water stagnation more than six months in a year are the major challenges for the sustainable development in the haor regions. Accordingly, sandy soil with poor water holding capacity, flash flood, river erosion etc are main obstacles for agricultural production in char areas.  The desired production is being hampered due to unavailability of advanced agricultural technology, proper training and production materials. Therefore, priority should be given to improve the livelihood of the haor and chars inhabitants by bringing the huge lands and natural resources of the haor and char areas into planned agricultural research that ultimately make an enormous contribution to the economic development of the country. The establishment of this institute and its outreach station would play pivotal role in reducing poverty, improving livelihood and food security of the haor and char dwellers.

 In 2013, late Dr. Niaz Pasha popularly known as haor bhumiputra appealed to His Excellency the President, People’s Republic of Bangladesh and Chancellor of Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) Md. Abdul Hamid to establish an institute at BAU namely “Haor Agricultural Research and Development Institute” for the development of haor areas and to improve the quality of life in haor’s people. Later, His Excellency the President sent the application to the University Grant Commission (UGC) through the Ministry of Education with some necessary instructions. Meanwhile, UGC formed a six-membered convenor committee to submit a repot after evaluating the validity of Dr. Pasha’s application. Professor Dr. Akhtar Hossain (a member of UGC and former Vice-Chancellor of BAU) was the convenor and Prof. Dr. M. A. Sattar Mandal (former Vice Chancellor of BAU), Prof. Dr. Md. Shah-E-Alam (former Vice Chancellor of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University), Prof. Dr. Fazlul Awal Mollah (President of Bangladesh Agricultural University Teachers Association) and two members of UGC were the members of that committee. Upon recommendation of the committee, UGC finally approved the establishment of “Haor and Char Development Institute” at Bangladesh Agricultural University. Later, His Excellency the President and Chancellor of BAU Md. Abdul Hamid laid foundation stone of the country’s first “Haor and Char Development Institute” at BAU on 22 July, 2018.