IFAD and Bangladesh invest US$92.4 million to improve livelihoods for poorest rural households in flood-prone areas

Report
from International Fund for Agricultural Development
Published on 13 Feb 2018 View Original

Rome, 13 February 2018 – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Bangladesh signed a financing agreement today to sustainably improve incomes and promote resilience to extreme weather conditions for 303,000 rural households in six flood-prone districts in northern Bangladesh.

The agreement for the Promoting Resilience of Vulnerable through Access to Infrastructure, Improved Skills and Information project was signed by Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD, and Kazi Shofiqul Azam, Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance, Bangladesh.

The total cost of the project is US$92.4 million, including a $63.2 million loan and a $1.2 million grant from IFAD. The government will contribute $27.9 million.

“The high incidence of poverty in the project area is due to seasonal flooding, inadequate rural infrastructure, low agricultural productivity, and limited livelihood opportunities outside farming,” said Benoit Thierry, IFAD Country Programme Manager for Bangladesh.

“The rural population faces challenges in accessing services and markets. The situation is aggravated by seasonal outmigration, often leaving women to look after their families and land. Together with the Government, we are addressing these challenges,” he added.

The project aims to improve rural peoples’ resilience in 25 flood-prone upazilas, or townships, through building weatherproofed infrastructure, creating off-farm employment opportunities, and strengthening communities’ ability to adapt to climate change related risks. The project will put in place an early warning system managed by the communities themselves, with the scope of scaling up this technique to other communities outside the target area.

The project will be implemented over six years and in six districts: Gaibandha, Jamalpur, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari, and Rangpur. These districts are often flooded due to overflows of the Jamuna and Teesta rivers. The infrastructure and flood information system will benefit the overall population of the project areas.

Since 1978, IFAD has financed 32 rural development programmes and projects in Bangladesh, investing $781.7 million or $2.02 billion when co-financing is included. These projects and programmes have benefitted over eleven million rural households.

IFAD has invested in rural people for 40 years, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided about US$19.7 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached some 474 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.

Press release No.: IFAD/12/2018