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Developing the capacity of extension and advisory organizations to support flash flooding adaptation: A case study from Bangladesh

Flash flooding is an extreme weather event that severely damages agricultural production and livelihoods. Flash flooding heavily impacts the rice production of Bangladesh, a crop which is the staple food of the country. The extension and advisory services (EAS) in Bangladesh are responsible for supporting farming communities to effectively manage various farming challenges. However, EAS have been found to lack the capacity to perform this role in the context of flash flooding. Moreover, little is known about what factors are critical for developing the capacity of EAS in this context. This study aims to explore the factors that influence the organizational capacity of EAS to help the rice farming community adapt to flash flooding in Bangladesh. The research examined the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), which is the largest public EAS organization in Bangladesh. Data was collected using focus group discussion, surveys and key informant interviews with DAE staff serving in the north-eastern part of Bangladesh prone to flash flooding. The results revealed that several aspects associated with involving EAS organizations in agricultural development forums and managing EAS staff competency influenced the development of the organizational capacity of EAS to combat flash flooding. The particular aspects include the influential position of the EAS organization in various committees, support for collaboration, a culture of freedom of work, recognition and rewards for good performance, manageable workloads, support for field activities, support for ICT use and means of transportation. Overall, this study highlights the consideration of several factors for developing the organizational capacity of EAS. It also suggests possible ways of developing those capacities to help the farming community adapt to climate change-induced flash flooding effects.