Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Signing of Italian funded food security project

Dhaka, Bangladesh, 01 Nov 2010 -- “Food security remains a high priority for the government and FAO along with other development partners are working to provide support to those who most need it”, said Ad Spijkers, FAO Representative during the signing ceremony of a project under the National Programme for Food Security (NPFS).

Funded to the tune of USD 2.984 million from a grant from the Italian Government, the project titled “Food Security through enhanced agricultural production, diversified sources of income, value addition and marketing in Bangladesh (Mymensingh & Sherpur)” will last for four years.

The agreement was signed today by Mr M. Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, Secretary of ERD, Dr Itala Occhi, Ambassador of the Government of Italy and FAO.

The overall goal of this project is fully consistent with the targets set by the NSAPR–II and is aligned with the MDG–1. It is also compliant with the prioritization made in the recently approved Country Investment Plan and the National Medium Term Priority Framework drafted by the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO.

It is expected that the project’s activities will increase food security standards of the population in four Upazilas under Mymensingh and Sherpur districts in the north of Bangladesh.

In particular, the project aims at increasing by a minimum of 25 percent the average income of the beneficiaries, through, inter alia, diversification of household income sources (with a strong focus on women) and expansion of trade links between the community and the markets.

The activities are clustered in three main components:

Group organization, management and sustainability, which includes mobilization of 48 target communities’ organizations across four Upazilas and facilitation of their registration with the appropriate government authority, and establishment of 396 Farmers Field Schools, which will be operational throughout the life cycle of the project. Women will assume an executive role in at least 50 percent of all Village Based Organizations (VBOs).

Livelihoods diversification, market access development including a broadening of income opportunities, the creation of individual or small group enterprises, the development of market infrastructure (community agri-malls) and linkages forged among VBOs, the interest groups and market outlets.

Financial access, management and sustainability, involving the establishment of sustainable Community Revolving Funds, managed by the representatives of the duly elected committee by the members of VBO.

“The project will further strengthen capacities of farmers, with particular attention to women-headed households, and of the extension services to develop innovative ways to reduce poverty and hunger”, emphasized Ad Spijkers. “Our organization for almost four decades has been mobilizing expertise and resources to provide the required technical assistance to Bangladesh. We are confident that with signing the project we are building another step towards food security for all”, he continued.

The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Ministry of Agriculture, will implement the Food Security project with technical assistance provided by FAO.

Press release issued by the Office of the FAO Representative in Bangladesh.