FAO initiates TK 20-crore project for farmers


 DHAKA, May 13, 2018 (BSS) – Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today launched a Taka 20 crore project in the country to increase small and marginal farmers’ access to finance aiming to boost crop production through strengthening the knowledge and capacity of farmers’ organisations.

The project was launched at a workshop at BARC auditorium in the capital.

Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury spoke the inaugural session of the workshop as the chief guest while Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir and Senior Agriculture Economist of Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP) under Missing Middle Initiative (MMI) Dr Iftikhar Mostafa were present as special guests.

The FAO project aims to develop each farmers organisation’s capacity to ensure access to value chains, markets, technical knowledge, information and financing through training and pilot activities.

The three-year project will be implemented in eight districts – Barguna, Patuakhali, Barisal and Jalakhati under southern region and Rangpur, Kurigram, Nilphamari and Lalmonirhat in northern region, FAO officials said.

Speaking at the workshop, Matia said the project on ‘Missing Middle Initiative (MMI) – Increasing Access to Finance for Farmers Organisations of Bangladesh’, funded by the GAFSP, will help bring a change in eliminating rural poverty as a whole and increase productivity.

Earlier, the Integrated Agricultural Productivity Project (IAPP), financed by the GAFSP with US$ 50 million, was implemented in the country in 2011 and increased crop productivity in the country’s north and southern region, she said.

“The country is moving from subsistence agriculture into commercial agriculture,” said FAO Representative to Bangladesh David W Doolan, adding that Bangladesh has made a marked progress in meeting cereal needs of its people.

He said the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) was launched by the G-20 countries in 2010 for ensuring agriculture and food security across the world.

In 2016, the FAO has submitted a proposal on increasing financial access for farmers’ organisations of Bangladesh to the GAFSP with an approval from Ministries of Agriculture and Finance.

Then Bangladesh achieved the project after competing with 56 other GAFSP countries in 2017, said David, adding that finally a contact was signed between the FAO and the Economic Relations Department (ERD) of Bangladesh for implementing the project in 2018.

Additional Director of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) Kazi Saiful Islam presented a keynote paper at the session with Senior Secretary of the Agriculture Ministry Mainuddin Abdullah in chair.