Project to improve lives of 2.5 lakh poor
Solidaridad Network Asia, the Netherlands embassy in Dhaka and CARE Bangladesh yesterday jointly rolled out a 12-million euro project to change the lives of 250,000 people in five impoverished south-western districts in the country.
The implementation phase of the Sustainable Agriculture, Food Security and Linkages (SaFaL) programme will begin next year and will run for four years.
The project, which was launched at an event at The Westin Dhaka, is targeted to the rural communities in Bagherhat, Khulna, Satkhira, Narail and Jessore, particularly for the aquaculture, horticulture and livestock value chain.
Officials said the project will mainly aim to increase farm productivity through adoption of sustainable agriculture and improve food intake at household level.
SaFaL, literally meaning â€œsuccessâ€ in Bangla, also plans to promote women's productive engagement in agriculture production and market chain, while simultaneously encouraging them to have their voice to address differing gender needs for increased productivity.
Carel Richter, deputy ambassador of the Netherlands to Bangladesh, said the project is focused on achieving both long- and short-term business and development sustainability, while stressing on efficient implementation.
"You have to produce positive results for the people in Bangladesh, and also for the people in the Netherlands to show them that these programmes work."
Jamie Terzi, country director of CARE Bangladesh, said the project plans to adopt a resilient approach for the people in the region so that its impact is lasting.
She said the region they have targeted is a difficult one because of its vulnerability to storms, salination and climate change.
Nico Roozen, executive director of Solidaridad Network International, said: "We have to make the farmers a better agriculture entrepreneur so that they can produce more food in small lands, keeping the production cost down."
In his presentation, Shatadru Chattopadhayay, managing director of Solidaridad Network Asia, said the project aims to adopt sustainable agricultural practices in livestock, horticulture and fisheries to develop resilience livelihoods.
It will help promote local economic development by fostering private sector engagement and promotion of linkages with sustainable supply chain, he said.
Chattopadhayay said many government and non-government agencies have already reached the area.
â€œSo, there is a need for co-ordination with government departments, non-governmental organisations and private sector service providers.â€
He urged the Netherlands embassy to try to get funds for the project from Bangladesh and abroad.
Chattopadhayay said under the project five village supermarkets would be set up in the each of the five districts, as there are no such markets in the area which can give the farmers the opportunity to get maximum prices.
The markets will also give the target groups access to nutritious foods, inputs and distribution channel and also create jobs, he said.
Chattopadhayay said the project would also help them gain access to markets.
Jan Willem Nibbering, first secretary of food security at the Netherlands embassy, said the contribution from the Netherlands embassy for the project would woo in the private sector to engage with the initiative and spend money.