Smallholder Adaptive Farming and Biodiversity Network (SAFBIN)

SAFBIN is an action research programme from Caritas Organisations to address the issues of climate change and food security of smallholder farmers in South Asia. The programme aiming to achieve SDG 2, is inspired by the achievements and mutual learning process of the Caritas Partners in a successful previous phase of regional programme under the European Union Global Programme on Agriculture Research for Development (ARD).

SAFBIN is a multi-dimensional and multi-sector programme aimed to address the agricultural development challenges of developing and emerging countries. The innovative models piloted by the smallholder farmers from five rainfed Agro-Ecosystems (AES) in South Asia will be scalable and replicable in all similar Agro-Ecosystems. This programme will primarily contribute in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2 of United Nations: “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture in South Asia”.

The overall programme will benefit about 40000 people living in 165 villages of 21 districts in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. The first phase of the programme will be implemented from April, 2018 in 95 villages of 11 districts, benefiting about 22000 people.

SAFBIN programme follows farmer led collective on-farm adaptive research, farming system and partnership approaches to empower the smallholder farmers in:

Caritas organisations part of this initiative are the official national organisations of the Catholic Bishops' Conference for social development in their respective countries. They are also members of Caritas Internationalis in Rome, which is a global confederation of 165 Catholic organisations working in humanitarian emergencies and international development. Implementing partners in South Asia are the members of Caritas Asia, which is also a strategic partner of this programme.

Caritas India, Caritas Bangladesh, Caritas Nepal and Caritas Pakistan will be implementing this programme in South Asia with the support of Caritas Austria and Caritas Switzerland. They will collaborate and partner with global and national research institutions, national agricultural research system and universities to implement this programme.


  • Performance assessment of honey bee on pollination of onion flower (Allium cepa L.)

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  • 01/04/2016

This BSc. thesis was completed by Rubina Fatima Smritee at the Department of Botany at the University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh.


Onion is one of the most common and important spice crop of Bangladesh and an integral part of the Bangladeshi diet. Insect pollination is necessary for this cross pollinated crop, especially in the case of hybrid seed production. The role of managed honey bee has widely been documented but also native pollinators contribute to the production of maximum yields.

The objective of this experiment was to study the diversity of the most frequent pollinators of onion and to explore their pollination effectiveness with the perspective of conserving and managing the most efficient pollinators.

An experiment was conducted on farms participating in SAF-BIN project in Baraigram (Natore district), Paba (Rajshahi district) and Patnitala (Naogaon district). The local onion variety Taherpur[1]i was used. The treatments were T1: Honey bee pollination and T2: Natural pollination (=control). The treatments were arranged in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Data on onion seed and bulb yield (kg/ha) was recorded and a survey was conducted.

Onion seed yield varied widely between locations: Paba: 12-18kg/ha; Patnitala: 4.2-9 kg/ha and Baraigram: 1.2-2kg/ha. Bulb yield similarly varied significantly: Paba: 35-45kg/ha; Patnirala: 12-50kg/ha and Baraigram: 60-80kg/ha. Comparing the treatments, honey bee pollination performed better for seeds/umble (75.67) and seed yield (200 kg/ha) than natural pollination. Results of the survey show that farmers are interested in using honey bee boxes in their onion fields as they observe better productivity of the crop and an additional benefit through honey as byproduct.

This leads to the conclusion that Baraigram is the most favourable environment for onion production with Taherpuri onion. The use of honey bee boxes has a positive impact on onion yield and has additional benefits for the farmers.

[1] Taherpuri onion: plant height 30-60 cm; pseudo-stem branches: 1-5; number of leaves: 6 – 15; bulbs: deep pink colour; weight/bulb: 25-60g.