DHAKA November 29, 2011 – Bangladesh is the first country in South Asia to be competitively awarded a grant under the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program. The US$ 50 million grant for the Integrated Agricultural Productivity Project, launched today will help to enhance agriculture productivity including crop, livestock and fisheries in Bangladesh.
The project will directly benefit approximately 300,000 small and marginal farmers in Northern and Southern region. Approximately 175,000 crop farmers, 60,000 livestock farmers and 60,000 fish farmers will be able to improve productivity through the project support. At least 20% of project beneficiaries will be women. The project will be implemented in Rangpur, Kurigram, Nilfamari and Lalmonirhat districts in the North and Barisal, Patuakhali, Barguna and Jhalokathi districts in the South.
‘The steps taken by the current Government has been helping Bangladesh to attain food and nutrition security. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh Food Security Investment Forum was held in 2010 in the wake emerging global food crisis. The Integrated Agricultural Productivity Project operationalizes the country investment plan endorsed at the forum’ said Begum Matia Chowdhury, Honorable Minister of Agriculture, Government of Bangladesh.
The project will focus on improving the productivity of crop, livestock and fishery. Communities will be mobilized to undertake community seed production and adopt better agricultural practices. Similarly communities of fishermen will engage in improved fish culture practices including fish nursery, carp polyculture, intensive fish monoculture and cage culture. Improved livestock husbandry practices for poultry, goat and dairy production as well as animal health campaigns will be undertaken.
'Thanks to the important steps taken by the country, in the last three decades, Bangladesh has achieved near self-sufficiency in food gains, which was a distant dream in the early 1970s,' said Ellen Goldstein, Country Director, World Bank Bangladesh. 'A lot has been done, yet challenges remain. Increasing population and dwindling agriculture land put extra pressure on food security. The grant will support Government’s effort to increase agricultural productivity in the most poverty stricken regions.'
The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) is a multilateral mechanism created to assist in the implementation of pledges of global support to agriculture to improve the income and food security of poor people in developing countries. The GAFSP was set up to provide additional financing to countries that have demonstrated their commitment to a comprehensive approach in increasing agricultural growth and making sustainable improvements in the food security.
The Launching Workshop was attended by Government representatives, development partners and civil society among others. Mr. Md. Abdul Latif Bishwas, Minister for Fisheries and Livestock, Dr. Muhammad Abdur Razzak, Minister for Food and Disaster Management and Ms. Ellen Goldstein were present as special guest. Begum Matia Chowdhury Minister for Agriculture graced the event as the Chief Guest.
The World Bank will supervise the investment project while FAO will supervise technical and capacity building component of the project.