The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Bangladesh has signed a financing agreement that will rapidly advance incomes and food and nutrition security for 250,000 rural households in southern Bangladesh.
President of IFAD Gilbert F. Houngbo and Additional Secretary, Economic Relations Division of the Ministry of Finance, Bangladesh, Sultana Afroz signed the agreement for the Smallholder Agricultural Competitiveness Project (SACP),
The total cost of SACP is $109.85 million, including a $64.5 million loan and a $2 million grant from IFAD.
The project which will be co-financed by the Government of Bangladesh, the private sector, and beneficiaries will be implemented over six years and directly supervised by IFAD.
According to IFAD “The main goal of the project is to help smallholder farmers to be more responsive and competitive in producing diverse, high value crops and marketing fresh and processed agricultural products.”
Commenting on the agreement, IFAD Country Director for Bangladesh Omer Zafar, said “Though Bangladesh has made great economic strides, poverty levels in rural areas are not declining as fast as they are in urban ones”
“In the project area, 39 per cent of the people are still living below the poverty line. Food security and under nutrition continue to be major concerns. The average rural household in Bangladesh still gains 71 per cent of its calories from rice,” he added.
The SACP aims to improve incomes and food security by supporting producers in developing high-value agricultural products that correspond to market needs and can contribute to a diversified diet.
Technical training and financial services will be provided and women, youth and disadvantaged households will be specifically targeted.
The project will be implemented in 11 districts covering 30 upazilas (or townships) in the southern region of Bangladesh.
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